It’s a continuing phenomenon (and a cliche’) that we use new technologies as we used their predecessors, so the first television was people standing in front of microphones, performing. Does this have to be true? Can we, on principle, advance beyond? I’d like to suggest that the answer, at least sometimes, is yes.
I’ve previously talked about ‘affordances‘, for mobile and virtual worlds (at least implicitly, for the latter). Elliot Masie just raised the issue (strange he doesn’t provide a useful URL) for virtual worlds (only a year behind the times ;), saying we should not get carried away with hype, and I agree. The point being that technologies have certain inherent capabilities they support, though we may discover new hidden affordances. I’d like to suggest two things:
First, that we can on principle determine what learning affordances a technology has, and assess it’s utility. Sure, there might be a bit of the ‘Hawthorne effect‘ (and we should consider deliberately exploiting that), but we also should be direct.
Second, we should be looking at the capabilities we don’t have, and imagine how we might achieve them.
As I’ve mentioned before, our limits are no longer technological. So let us dream what we want, and make it so!