Thursday, February 02, 2006

what kind of animal is an affordance?

In the workshop that is currently running, it struck me that although I am fascinated by affordances, and use the term a lot, I am unsure as to exactly what kind of animal an affordance actually is.

By which I mean, how should we speak of affordances? Are they technologies, techniques, modes, media, sub-modes, registers, or what?

In response to a question about whether "asynchonicity" is an affordance, I replied:

  • I would try to step back a little from the technology, or technique, and formulate the affordance a bit differently. For instance, "asynchronous communication" is definitely a strong affordance in this medium. But I would call it something like:
  1. flexible connectivity (and)
  2. recorded conversations (and)
  3. reflective engagement (and)???

  • I think its very interesting (and hopefully useful!) to try to formulate new names/ terms for new experiences. It struck me when I was writing a document on Modes of Learning that I was actually starting to create an "affordances table", and I wondered how useful this was, as taxonomies can be too structured for their own good.



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