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Reflection on Task 7

I have gone through your thoughts about interactivity. Well done! Very impressive! This task showed very clearly that you come from very different fields, which makes the group rather heterogenous. Having different view points and perspectives is only a good thing while one is trying to explore and understand some concepts. I only wish I could summarize your thoughts somehow… 🙂

First, I found it amazing how many different fields and areas were mentioned and metaphors used while talking about interactivity. Some of the more “exotic” or let’s say a bit unusual in our context were for example dance, urban planning, implant technology, human brain, youth, art, marketing…in addition interactivity is of course an important concept in the context of communication studies, user interface design, new media…And I think most of you agree that even articles published 10 years ago are valid nowadays, maybe not entirely as many of you have also claimed that the concept interactivity is changing and is in constant alteration (interactivity as an adjective or the ways we interact?), but they sure provide some input to understand the concept and how it has been evolving through time and various research fields.

In consequence, it is obvious for us by now that understanding interactivity depends a lot on perspectives and fields of research. As Kersti, Kristo, Ottavio and some others pointed out it makes sense sometimes to start looking at the term and what it entails from the language point of view: the adjective “interactivity”, the verb “to interact” and the noun “interaction”… or on the other hand (for instance Argo, Ilja and Maibritt emphasised) looking at the concept from the perspective of what it is not might provide some unexpected insights, which we have failed to notice. This reminds me of one of the discussions in my field…the concept of learning object. It is beneficial to ask give me an example of what is not a learning object? I might understand the concept better. And related to this aspect, I noticed that some of you were also talking about interactive communication, which made me ask a question: what is the difference between communication and interactive communication? What type of communication is not interactive? Is it even possible that communication is not interactive? But of course I have to add here that communication studies is not my field, so excuse my ignorance if the questions are not valid…

Next, I would like to point out some intriguing and thought-provoking quotes from your essays (at least in my opinion):

Kristo has made an interesting observation “no new interactive feature becomes interactive until it is accepted by the cultural environment and no device is considered interactive, unless it is accepted so by the same environment…

Raul draws parallels to human brain: “Human brain is most interactive machine in the world, it interacts more than we can perceive and know. And the purpose of interactive media is to attract human brain…

Jakob has said: “I would say that the sense of living out your digital life is becoming an important part of what we consider as interactivity – and there could be a dimension missing from Kiousis’s analysis that describes its measure…

and last, but not least:

Kristo has also claimed that “…Devices have become more and more interactive since then, despite most of the actions we use the devices for – making calls, accessing information, sending e-mail, watching movies or television – remaining the same…While my activities are the same, they have become easier and more natural to me. And as a result, more interactive…“. Do we see devices/technology only as mediators for our activities? Hasn’t the development of technology provided us and in some cases even forced us to carry out new activities, which were not possible before…?

There are many many more interesting thoughts and ideas, which are worth to spend some time on. Unfortunately it is not possible to outline all of them here. Therefore, I strongly recommend you to have a look at what others have written…the value of these can be much more than one can expect.

What can we learn from this?

I guess everybody has to figure this out by her/himself. Gert has nicely pointed out that the articles have wiped away “the “sweet dreams” of intuitive interpretation of interactivity“. That’s good. The purpose is fulfilled…to acknowledge that there is much more as it first seems. In some cases it might be useful, in some cases not. No universal truth, no one single definition, no ultimate unequivocally verified “knowledge”. It makes sense first to choose a perspective (field of application/domain, etc.) and then define/outline one’s concepts, but also be prepared to defend what they are not… (a tip for master thesis).

Where to from here…

…will come soon (today)

Categories: musings
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