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University of Toronto Mississauga
Communication, Culture and Technology
Rhonda Mc Ewen

  Lecture  7   Core  themes:  communication  practices  differ  around  the  world,  media  affordances  can  encourage  new   practices  (e.g.  textese),  contemporary  communications  can  challenge  the  social  order  (e.g.  texting  in   class  is  acceptable)   • In  News  this  week:  school  cell  phone  ban  spawns  niche  storage  market:  charged  $1-­‐2  to  safe  keep   your  phone  while  you  are  in  school   o Why  is  it  banned  now?  Because  the  phone  is  very  popular  now,  is  viral  so  needs  to  be  ban,   also  prevents  stealing  of  phones;  phones  also  are  multifunction  now,  could  lead  to  cheating   • Always  on  approach:  e.g.  Blackberries;  consumers  are  always  on  phone  now  (since  phones  are   mobile);  lead  to  term  “crackberry”  which  compares  the  addiction  of  the  drug  to  addiction  to  phone   o Consequences:  makes  us  more  social  (we  text/communicate  more);  but  surveillance  occurs   • Text  messages  or  short  message  service  (SMS)  is  a  mechanism  of  delivery  of  short  messages  over   the  mobile  networks.  It  is  a  store  and  forward  way  of  transmitting  messages  to  and  from  mobiles.   • The  message  (text  only)  from  the  sending  mobile  is  stored  in  a  central  short  message  center  (SMS)   which  then  forwards  it  to  the  destination  mobile.  This  means  that  in  the  care  that  the  recipient  is   not  available,  the  message  is  stored  and  can  be  sent  later.   • Where  did  it  begin?   o Paging  –  Japanese  teenagers  numeric  phonetics   ▯ Used  in  businesses  first;  in  1993  it  was  noticed  there  was  a  peak  use  at  10PM   (businesses  weren’t  working  at  that  time!),  turned  out  to  be  teenage  girls  since   pagers  allowed  receiving  of  messages   ▯ Broke  the  norm  to  use  technology  for  a  specific  task,  it  was  used  for  useless  chatter   ▯ In  2  years  text  messaging  increased  450%.  Why?   o Asia:  early  1990s;  Europe:  mid  1990s   o North  America:    2004-­‐5;  why  so  late?  Because  1.  High  prices  of  text  messaging  in  North   America  compared  to  other  places.  2.  Incompatibility  of  text  messaging  and    phone  plans.  3.   Established  landline   • Teens  adapt  to  technology  faster  than  elderly  people  because:   o Exposed  to  more  technology  than  parents  did   o We’re  adapted  to  change,  We  rely  on  technology   o There  is  an  expectation  that  we  should  know  how  to  use  computers  now  (e.g.  similar  to   how  before  we  were  expected  to  know  how  to  write,  literacy  was  valued)   o Technology  gives  liberation  from  parents  (they  let  you  go  out  more)   o Phones  allow  last  minute  arrangements   • Types  of  mobile:   o Smartphone:  category  of  mobile  phones  that  enable  users  to  read  email,  take  photos,  and   browse  the  internet   o Mobile  vs  portable  distinction  blurred   o Other  mobiles  include  tablets,  kindles,  PDA  (personal  digital  assistants  –  disappeared  fast   since  phones  colonized  category)   o mp3s,  watches,  camera  used  less  due  to  phone  multifunctionality;  expensive/fashion/status   watches  left  untouched,  still  doing  well   • Dominant  &  persistent  social  narrative  that  texting  is  negatively  affecting  literacy  in  young  people   • How  texting  works:     o MS  =  mobile  subscriber;  SMSC  =  short  message  service  center  (which  saves  message  for  a   while  then  forwards  it  to  recipient)  –  possible  since  phones  are  like  computers,  they  have  a   memory  and  display     • Literacy  is  the  ability  to  identify,  understand,  interpret,  create,  communicate,  compute,  and  use   printed  and  written  materials  associated  with  varying  contexts     • Is  texting  correlated  to  falling  literacy?   o Texting  craze  –  by  Visco;  says  people  are  like  zombies,  body  is  there  but  mind  onphone   o False  Alarm  –  by  Dourin;  says  texting  is  writing;  literacy  is  maintained   • Textese:  a  written  vocabulary  that  has  emerged  from  texting  practice     o Is  text  lingo,  but  not  exclusive  to  texting  since  we  use  it  on  computer  too   o We  use  it  since  it’s  faster,  shorter  (can  fit  more  in  one  text),  and  give  sus  privacy  from   parents  or  others  that  don’t  know  lingo   o Initialism  (e.g.  LOL)   o Letter/number  homophones  (e.g.  gr8)   o Contractions  or  shortenings  (e.g.  cuz)   o Emoticons  (e.g.  :D)   o Deletion  of  unnecessary  words,  vowels,  punctuation,  capitalization,  etc   • Beneficial  communicative  functions  of  text   o Hybrid  register:  formal  and  informal  language  allowing  a  variation  in  tone  within  the  context   of  a  given  message   o Navigating  social  relationships  in  the  experimentation  of  identities   • Memory  theories:   o Retroactive  interference:  information  presented  at  a  later  time  may  interfere  with   information  presented  at  an  earlier  time  –  spelling  words  lost!   o Decay:  learned  information  that  is  not  accessed  may  be  less  accessible  over  time   o Low  road/high  road  exposure  to  textese  would  transfer  abbreviations  unconsciously  to  task   requiring  similar  processes  (e.g.  informal  writing;  but  make  a  conscious  decision  to  use   standard  English  for  formal  contexts)   o Situated  learning  –  using  textese  could  transfer  to  more  general  writing  because  it  is   learned  and  used  then  transferred  unintentionally   • Standard  English:  sometimes  differs  from  country  to  country  (e.g.  color  vs  colour)   o Used  to  minimize  uncertainty,  confusion,  misunderstanding   o However  can  cause  group  exclusion   • Text  messaging  and  textese  have  different  relationships  with  literacy   • More  conscious  decisions  (high-­‐road)  among  more  educated  students   • Those  with  poorer  literacy  correlated  to  lower-­‐road  tendencies  –  failure  to  code  switch   • Etiquette   o Mobile  phone  use  brings  pressure  to  bear  on  well-­‐established  social  conventions   o E.g.  how  to  act  when  engaged  with  others  in  shared  spaces   o Alerts  and  choices   o What  to  do  versus  what  we  ought  to  do?   o Moral  rules  and  social  order   o E.g.  not  acceptable  to  text  and  drive,  is  acceptable  to  text  friend  in  the  same  room   • Social  and  cultural  impact   o Mobile  technology  has  been  linked  (if  only  by  popular  media)  to  antisocial  trends   ▯ Mobs   ▯ Sexual  communication   ▯ Vehicle  for  bad  manners,  cheating,  escaping  school,  etc   • Health  Concerns   o There  is  little  proven  link  to  direct  health  impacts  and  mobile  devices   o There  is  minimum  risk   o Living  near  cell  phone  towards  is  a  concern  but  there  is  no  proven  direct  health  linkage   o Why  is  it  difficult  to  find  how  harm  may  be  occurring  with  mobile  phones?  Since  most  of   them  are  correlational  studies;  different  factors  may  play  a  part   • Environmental  concerns   o Aesthetic  aspects  of  the  environment  –  towers   o Disruption  to  migrating  bird  population   o CN  tower  is  used  as  a  transmission  line,  the  lights  are  not  as  bright  during  spring/fall  to   prevent  disruption  of  bird  migration   o Environmental  impact  due  to  the  manufacturing  and  disposal  of  the  devices   • Surveillance   o Mobile  phone  is  implicated  in  declines  in  freedom   o Cell  phones  used  as  mobile  tracking  devices  by  government,  parents,  partners,  employers   • Emergencies:  cell  towers  help  pinpoint  a  phone’s  location  for  police,  ambulance,  or  fire  personnel   • Woman  and  mobile  phones:  in  India,  mobile  phones  have  been  symbolic  of  a  new  independence   o Many  women  move  to  husbands  place,  phones  allow  communication  at  home;  many   phones  are  also  given  as  wedding  gifts   • Mobile  phones  are  used  for  rural  health,  maintain  ties;  also  as  fashion  accessory   • General  purpose  technology   o In  the  past  5  years,  mobile  phones  have  moved  into  the  camera  and  video  recorder  market   o This  is  because  the  phone  is  always  with  the  consumer,  and  the  phone  is  integrated  into  the   consumers  life   o Twin  capabilities:  being  always  present  and  being  a  link  to  the  social  use  of  the  technology     Lecture  8   Themes:   • News  of  the  week:  Nokia  patents  haptic  tattoos:  application  of  tattoos  with  ferrormagnetic  inks   that  will  vibrate  based  on  commands  from  your  phone   • Augmented  reality  was  mainly  sight,  however  haptic  provides  us  with  touch  as  well   • Surround  haptics  or  tactile  brush   o Tactile  technology  that  creates  high-­‐resolution,  continuous,  moving  tactile  sensations   anywhere  on  the  body.   o Haptics  are  feedback  mechanisms  that  communicate  information  via  the  skin  and  dermis   • Create  an  environment  that  immerses  the  user  in  a  world  of  tactile  stimulation   • Extensive  repertoire  of  touches  and  sensations,  ranging  from  a  bug  crawling  on  the  skin  to  drops  of   rain  pouring  on  the  body  to  the  stroke  of  a  sword,  acceleration  and  free  fall,  Israr  told   technewsdaily  that  the  technology  is  scalable  and  can  be  used  to  replicate  a  variety  of  free-­‐world   sensory  experiences   • Surround  haptics  enabled  video  game  players  who  were  seated  in  a  gaming  chair  equipped  with   vibrating  actuators  to  feel  road  imperfections,  sense  skidding,  braking  and  acceleration  and   experience  ripples  of  sensation  when  cars  crashed  into  each  other  or  landed  after  being  lofted  into   the  air   • Priority  knowledge  =  knowledge  we  already  have   • Gesture  Play:  Bragdon;  gameification  (turning  learning  how  to  use  device  into  a  game)   o They  wanted  to  introduce  simple,  game  like  elements  to  make  gesture  learning  fun  and   enjoyable   ▯ Gestural  commands  physically  chunk  command  and  operands  into  a  single  action   ▯ Bimanual  interaction  enables  higher  input  bandwidth   ▯ Stroke-­‐based  gestures  can  be  easier  to  learn  and  recall  than  keyboard  based  ones   ▯ Different  commands  can  often  be  intermingled  implicitly  when  gestures  also  specify   command  parameters  (e.g.  selection  lassos  and  erasure  scribbles  while  drawing)   ▯ Gesture  can  also  be  committed  to  physical  muscle  memory  which  can  help  users   focus  on  their  task   • Designing  direct  touch  tabletops;  there  are  benefits  and  challenges   • Compared  with  traditional  displays,  interactive  tables  have  3  benefits   o Table  is  both  the  display  and  the  direct  input  device  –  inputs  hand  gestures  and  intuitive   manipulations,  reduces  cognitive  load   o Horizontal  tabletop  surface  provides  opportunities  for  building  collocated  collaborative   environments   o Large  surface  area  positively  influences  working  styles  and  group  dynamics   • Usability  challenges:   o Tabletop  content  orientation  –  sharing  common  perspectives;  e.g.  switching/flipping  screen   (landscape  view  vs  portrait);  two  people  can  use  it   o Occlusion  and  read  –  visual  obscuring  information  beneath  hand   o Gestural  interaction  –  infinite  input  (take  in  infinite  touches  or  accidental  ones)   o Legacy  application  support  –  mouse  emulation   o Group  interaction  techniques  –  multiple  users  accessing  conventional  single  user  toolbars   o Walk  up  and  walk  away  usage  –  interface  to  user  specific  material  (e.g.  walking  up  to  touch   screen  on  wall,  touching  it  then  walking  away;  screen  must  time  out  etc)   • Haptics  and  tactile  learning   o Touch  is  different  from  other  senses  in  that  it  consists  of  a  closed  loop  and  a  bidirectional   channel  of  both  sensing  and  acting   o Touch  provides  information  about  spatial  and  physical  properties  of  the  environment  such   as  texture,  mass,  direction,  distance,  shape,  size,  etc   • New  technologies  from  the  area  of  virtual  reality  (VR)  now  allow  computer  users  to  use  their  sense   of  touch  to  feel  virtual  objects   • An  artifact’s  surface  properties  can  be  modeled  so  that  someone  using  a  haptic  device  could  feel  it   as  a  solid,  three-­‐dimensional  object  with  different  textures,  hardness,  or  softness   • These  haptic  devices  could  have  a  large  impact  on  museums.  For  example:  making  very  fragile   objects  available  to  scholars,  allowing  visitors  who  live  far  from  museums  to  feel  objects  at  a   distance,  letting  visually  impaired  and  blind  people  feel  exhibits  that  are  normally  behind  glass,  and   allowing  museums  to  show  off  a  range  of  artifacts  that  are  in  storage  due  to  lack  of  space   • Digital  citizen  is  a  person  that  participates  in  society  using  a  certain  amount  of  information   technology  (IT).  To  be  a    digital  citizen,  a  person  must  have  the  skill  and  knowledge  to  interact  with   private  and  government  organizations  through  digital  tools  such  as  computers  or  mobile  phones,   along  with  access  to  these  devices   • Microchip  implants  =  the  apocalypse?   o Law  in  Virginia  would  make  it  illegal  to  implant  an  identification  or  tracking  device  into  a   person’s  body  without  their  written  consent.  As  the  use  of  implanted  microchips  become   more  common  (people  use  them  to  track  pets  and  could  possible  use  them  for  purposes   such  as  securing  one’s  medical  history),  law  makers  are  starting  to  address  concerns   o However  also  has  side  effects  such  as  constant  surveillance  and  control   • Communication  involves  themes  such  as  control,  power,  fear,  and  choice     Lecture  9   Core  theme:  Tangible  computing  reduces  the  idea  of  a  separation  between  virtual  and  physical;  designing   for  tablets  using  personas;  role  touch  technologies  can  play  in  supporting  communication  for  persons  with   sensory  and  communication  disorders;  ‘communicative  function’  –  communication  is  not  only  what  we  do,   but  what  and  how  we  convey  info   • Getting  in  Touch  –  Dourish  (2001)   o Style  of  interaction  concerns  not  simply  the  set  of  physical  devices,  but  also  the  ways  in   which  the  computer  fits  into  our  environments  and  our  lives   o Ubiquitous  computing  and  virtual  reality  distinctions   • Tangible  computing:  design  trends   o Interacting  with  the  virtual  is  translated  into  interacting  with  the  physical   o Boundary  between  the  virtual  and  physical  world   o Design  principles  of  tangible  computing   ▯ Physicality:  technology  is  the  world   ▯ Integration:  of  computation  and  the  artifact   ▯ Communication:  what  is  important  is  not  simply  what  the  do  but  what  they  convey   and  how  they  convey  it   • “Art  can  start  an  encounter  with  another,  and  it  can  destabilize  our  our  terms  of  reference   governing  that  encounter.  To  this  extent  it  may  enhance  the  possibilities  that  we  will  emerge  from   that  encounter  with  changed  beliefs  and  attitudes.”;  Art  =  form  of  communication   • Visual  Storytelling  Club:  2  hours  once  a  week  to  create  art  projects  and  visual  communication;  uses   photography,  photoshop,  traditional  drawing  materials,  etc   o Used  iPads  as  well  as  physical  art  materials  and  paper  to  draw;  when  using  iPad  people   were  closer  to  iPad  then  the  distance  between  the  person  and  the  paper  if  drawing  in  real   life;  drawings  with  iPads  also  drawn  more  quickly;  however  they  did  not  sign  their  name  like   they  did  for  physical  hard  copy  paper  drawings   • Increased  awareness  of  communication  disorders  has  encouraged  more  focus  on  the  development   of  AAC  technologies   o Studies  that  investigate  the  potential  for  assistive  technologies  for  communication  mostly   focus  on  computer-­‐assisted  instruction  and  voice  output  communication  aids  (VOCAs)   o VOCAs  have  been  more  successful  with  children  with  more  severe  forms  of  communication   disorders.  While  some  are  very  simple  and  can  be  programmed  with  single  words,  others   are  more  sophisticated  and  include  graphic  symbols  or  pictures,  which  are  activated  using  a   finger,  hand,  optical  pointer,  headstick,  etc   o The  use  of  video  modeling  delivered  via  a  handheld  device  (iPod)  and  a  system  of  least   prompts  were  were  used  to  improve  transitional  behaviours  for  students  with  ASD  in  the   general  classroom  setting   • But  design  models  and  principles  for  creating  AAC  solutions  are  very  minimal   o Particularly  ones  that  focus  on  lower  functioning  children  with  communicative  disorders   o Data  from  48  experiments  suggest  that  children  prefer  computer  programs  with  higher   interaction  requirements  and  those  that  use  sound,  animation,  and  voice  features   o A  web-­‐based  survey  designed  for  involving  children  with  and  without  disabilities  in  the   design  of  assistive  technology  devices  with  the  primary  school  environment  (however  only   21/257  participants  had  1+  disability)   • The  present  study  seeks  to  narrow  this  gap   o Can  we  provide  better  tools  for  AAC  developers?   o Longitudinal  study  conducted  from  Feb  2010  –  June  2011   o Examined  the  use  of  AAC  software  on  iPod  and  iPad  devices  by  children  with   communicative  disorders  –  including  but  not  limited  to  autism   • The  participants  are:  70  children;  4-­‐13  y.o.,  with  a  special  needs  from  an  elementary  school   o 12  teachers  collected  data  for  36/70  students  over  2  phases   o Participants  had  a  range  of  exceptionality  (disabilities);  mostly  autism   o 72%  were  non-­‐verbal   • Variables  of  interest:     o Attention  Span   ▯ Measured  using  application  “Count  to  100”  by  Midnight  Soft   ▯ Half  of  the  students  (younger  and/or  with  lower  developmental  abilities)   ▯ Student  instructed  to  follow  the  counting  on  the  program;  the  counting  in  1’s  of   program  corresponded  to  the  time  the  child  was  engaged  in  the  activity   ▯ Conducted  3-­‐4  times  a  week  for  3  months   o Receptive  Identification  of  2D  objects   ▯ “ABA  Basic”  by  KV  Adaptive  LLC   ▯ Half  of  students  (older  and/or  with  higher  developmental  abilities)   ▯ Student  told  to  select  image  corresponding  to  word  teacher  said,  or  asked  to  identify   a  picture   ▯ Conducted  3-­‐4  times  a  week  for  3  months   o Communication  skills  and  abilities   ▯ Measured  using  the  Communication  Matrix     ▯ Communication  Matrix  pinpoints  how  an  individual  communicates  and  provides  a   framework  for  determining  logical  communication  goals;    used  for  professionals  and   parents  to  document  communication  skill  sof  children  with  disabilities   ▯ Developed  by  Dr.  Rowland  of  Oregon  Health  and  Science  University   ▯ All  of  the  students   ▯ Showed  what  skills  were  not  used,  emerging  or  mastered  in  periodic  table  like  visual   ▯ Is  appropriate  for  this  study  since  it  accommodates  any  type  of  communicative   behaviour  such  as  augmentative  and  alternative  forms  of  communication  (AAC)  or   pre-­‐symbolic  behaviour   • Data  analysis  entailed:   o Creating  a  visual  rep.  of  the  data   ▯ On  paper  then  on  computer   ▯ Organized  on  two  axes,  level  of  communication  skills  mastered  and  emerging   o Forming  groups  of  individuals  with  similar  communication  skills;  data  appeared  in  clusters   • The  7  unique  groups  are  used  to  develop  a  set  of  design  personas   o Personas:  a  user  archetype  used  to  guide  decisions  about  product  features,  synthesized   from  inte
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