Home > tasks > Task 12: Applying concepts of Activity Theory

Task 12: Applying concepts of Activity Theory

Hi folks,

I am finally back in business. I know, it was quite hard for you to go through a whole week without a reading/discussion task. Didn’t you just miss it… ? 😉 Anyway, I am trying to play the catch up game now.

Instead of throwing more literature at you, let’s engage in a different type of analytical/reflective task this week.

We have tried to get familiar with how Activity Theory (or in other words… of the “cultural historical school of thought”) conceptualises, analyses and describes mediated human activity; we have compared Activity Theory with other postcognitive theories; we have explored some of the limits and challenges of Activity Theory to respond to the unfolding digital transformation of society and of human activity; we have studied some examples and potentials of Activity Theory in the context of interaction design. Now, let’s try to apply some core concepts of Activity Theory to an “activity system” you are currently involved in.

You are engaged in a distance group work mediated by various instruments, which can be seen (and described) as a forming “activity system”. Take a step outside of this ongoing group work and analyse the formation of this activity system over the last few weeks by trying to describe its core components (actors, instruments, object…) and how they evolved over time. Try to identify areas of problems, tensions and contradictions that you have experienced. Finally, provide some directions for potential improvement, some projections of what further development this activity system would require to make it function better. Are there instruments (conceptual, digital… and so forth) that need to be improved? … are the rules that need to revised or refined?… does the work need to be (re-)examined and divided differently? … and so forth.

Kaptelinin & Nardi (2006) provide the Activity Checklist (p. 269 – 278) which might provide some useful questions to ask while analysing your group work as a forming “activity system”. Feel free, however, to make use of any of the concepts that we have covered over the last few weeks.

Publish the product of your analysis and deliberation on your personal weblog.

The deadline for Task 12 is: Sunday, November 11th, 24:00 (Estonian time).

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