An Ethnographic Study of the Social Impacts of Video Blogging

The Informatics Seminar is held on Fridays at 3:00pm in ICS2 136
followed by a social hour at 4:00pm. See you there!


In the past decade, digital technology has become widely integrated into
many professional training settings, yet at present we lack a detailed
understanding of how new technology alters networks of social and
technology-mediated interactions present in such environments. I have
been engaged in a multi-year ethnography-for-design study in a dental
hygiene training program in San Diego, CA. During the project, I helped
design a new clinical training laboratory, equipped with embedded
digital media technology, such as flat-panel monitors, computer
workstations and overhead cameras. Here, I detail the ethnographic
motivations for the design of the technology integrated into the
training program.

Decisions about the usefulness of a technology are socially constructed
throughout the entire design and use cycles of a technology by the
various actors who participate in communities of practice. Studying the
cultural processes behind the appropriation of technology can help us
understand how to design technology that is more likely to be
appropriated and used by the community. Distributed cognition theory
posits that cognitive processes extend across the traditional boundaries
of the skin and the skull as various kinds of coordination are
established and maintained between bodily, material, and social
resources. Data from multimodal interaction can provide information
about the underlying cognitive architecture. Moreover, larger patterns,
like social organization and the context of activity may also be viewed
as important parts of the cognitive ecology.

I will present an analysis of how a collaborative video blogging system
(a ‘vlog’), used in an introductory clinical instruction course,
affected the network of social and technology-mediated interactions in
the training clinic. In particular, I examine how interactions with
videos structured the way students and instructors worked with each
other. Additionally, I report how the faculty’s appropriation of the
vlog technology was influenced by the presentation of divergent
methodology in the videos on the vlog.

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Posted: 4/19/07 3:01 pm PDT by (g+) Make the First Comment
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