Tag Archives: human computer interaction

Use Patterns

I must admit, one of the more fun aspects of teaching has nothing to do with instructing, but has everything to do with observing. I particularly enjoy watching the patterns that develop amongst my students when using software. In some instances the patterns are based upon mimicry (actually, I bet all of them are, but I don’t always see the original inspiration), where I demonstrate something, and then everybody executes the task the same way. This occurs during lessons when I am teaching.

The real fun begins when people are put in front of new software with no instruction, but with self-motivation. The self-motivation is what propels the exploration of software through the hardships and failures which will occur frequently during the process. In these particular cases, the self-motivation comes from the want to play. My students are exploring all of the games on the computer.

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Wearable Computers

Here’s my prediction of what a modern wearable computer will be, just for the sake of having it out there with a time stamp attached. Why am I saying this? Because it’s Sunday morning, I am really tired, and I was looking at funny computer patents, courtesy Technologizer.

Modern wearable computers will not be dedicated computers at all, in the sense that laptop or desktop is just a computer. Instead, wearable computing will become an extension of the far more agile smartphone market. The market will need four technologies: wireless video transmission, wireless data transmission, heads up displays and eye tracking. All four of these technologies exist today.

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Failure of Design

One of the most interesting components of my time here in Kenya has been watching as people simply interact with technology. Kenya is a very different place to grow up than the US, particularly when it comes to regular, daily interaction with electronic devices. Few schools have computers, and even fewer that are functioning; households are not awash with washing machines or microwaves or other appliances though most people do have daily access to mobile phones. The result of all this has been a significantly decreased level of reinforced learning on how to interact with said electronic devices.

When someone sits down in front of a computer, do they even know where to being? Not really. At least not for my students. Is this wrong or incorrect behavior? Of course not. If you have never utilized an electronic device in any capacity at all, why should you be expected to know how to use one all of a sudden. Should I expect everyone I meet to speak French if I speak it to them, effectively placing French in front of them? Is that fair?

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