Meaning and space in a classroom scenario

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COGS 102A, FALL ‘18 — Assignment 1 1 Meaning and space DUE BEFORE 11PM ON SUNDAY 10/21 Submit via TritonEd. No late submissions, no exceptions. WHAT YOU’LL TURN IN A ~4 page paper describing and critically analyzing meaning and space. WHAT YOU’LL DO Explore and document the structure of and relations among ​physical, social, and conceptual spaces​ in a common activity system: a university classroom. Assignment Goals: The goal of this assignment is to get you started seeing the ways humans shape their cognitive processes by embedding them in physical and social environments. You will explore how physical space is used to represent social categories, how physical space supports conceptual (thinking) activities, and how conceptual activities are associated with social categories. ASSIGNMENT GUIDELINES AND ADVICE 1. You will describes a university classroom as a cognitive activity system. You participate in this activity almost every day, so observe carefully—don’t rely on memories or on how you imagine the activity to proceed, but rather how it actually occurs. 2. Base your descriptions on actual observation. You can make these observations in any classroom (e.g. lecture hall, design studio, discussion section), but in any case it is best to organize your description around a single actual classroom (“in the wild”) rather than an imagined or idealized one. ​DO NOT use the 102A class as your example. 3. It is a good strategy to identify a particular specific conceptual task that occurs in the classroom. This will make it easier to establish relations between conceptual space and the physical and social spaces. ASSIGNMENT REQUIREMENTS 1. Identify and describe the physical, social, and conceptual spaces involved. Discuss the relations between each pair of spaces (physical-social, physical-conceptual, and social-conceptual). For example, describe the ways that physical space of the activity encodes facts about the social organization of the activity, or the ways that changes in conceptual content are marked by features of physical space. 2. Include salient details of what you observe, describing specific examples. 3. Analyze this system using the same strategies used in Ch 1 of Cognition in the Wild (CitW), those discussed in lecture, and supported by concepts from other readings. 4. Be sure to discuss how the things you observe and discuss are relevant to cognition. Thinking about "What information goes where when in what form?" should help. 5. Be sure to proofread your text, ensuring that it has a clear organization and does not contain spelling errors or errors in grammar. ADDITIONAL ASSIGNMENT INFO CAN BE FOUND ON PAGE 2. COGS 102A, FALL ‘18 — Assignment 1 2 CITATION REQUIREMENTS AND FORMATTING ● You must cite a minimum of two (2) relevant readings from class ● Must use APA formatting (see for a style guide) for both in-text citations as well as list of references—be consistent ● No shallow citations. If you cite a source, explain its relevance and importance to the topic under discussion in enough detail to demonstrate a clear/salient connection DOCUMENT SPECIFICATIONS ● Length​: 3(min) to 4(max) pages, double spaced, 12 pt typeface, standard margins ● Title​: Please give your paper a title at the top of the document ● Sections/headings​: you are encouraged to use appropriate sections and heading to structure your document and provide context for the reader. These should not take the place of actual body content as it relates to the expected length of your paper SOME SUGGESTED GUIDING QUESTIONS 1. As always keep this question in mind: "What information goes where when and in what form?" 2. What are the elements of the physical space? How are they related to one another? 3. What categories (roles, statuses, or positions) make up the social space? How are they made visible? How do they relate to one another? 4. What ways of thinking make up the conceptual space? What activities do these ways of thinking occur in? 5. How are the relations among the three spaces different in the lecture hall than they are on the bridge of the ship? This excerpt from Cognition in the Wild. Edwin Hutchins. © 1995 The MIT Press. is provided in screen-viewable form for personal use only by members of MIT CogNet. Unauthorized use or dissemination of this information is expressly forbidden. If you have any questions about this material, please contact 1 W~ W118 Aboatd N8T8tive: A ~ After several days at sea, the U .SiS. Palau was returning to port , making approximately 10 knots in the narrow channel between Ballast Point and North Island at the entrance to San Diego Harbor . In the pilothouse or navigation bridge , two decks above the flight deck , a junior officer had the conn (ie ., was directing the steering of the ship ), under the supervision of the navigator . The captain sat quietly in his chair on the port side of the pilothouse watching the work of the bridge team. Morale in the pilothouse had sagged during two frustrating hours of engineering drills conducted just outside the mouth of the harbor but was on the rise now that the ship ' was headed toward the pier . Some of the crew talked about where they should go for dinner ashore and joked about going all the way to the pier at 15 knots so they could get off the ship before nightfall . The bearing recorder had just given the command " Stand by to mark time 3 8 " and the fathometer operator was reporting the depth of the water under the ship when the intercom erupted with the voice of the engineer of the watch : " Bridge , Main Control . I am ' losing steam drum pressure . No apparent cause. I m shutting my " throttles . Moving quickly to the intercom , the conning officer acknowledged : " Shutting throttles , aye." The navigator moved to the ' s chair " , repeating : Captain , the engineer is losing steam on captain the boiler for no apparent cause." Possibly because he realized that the loss of steam might affect the steering of the ship , the conning officer ordered the rudder amidships . As the helmsman spun the wheel to bring the rudder angle indicator to the centerline , he answered the conning officer : " Rudder amidships , aye sir ." The captain " " began to speak , saying Notify , but the engineer was back on the intercom , alarm. in his voice this time , speaking rapidly , almost " ' shouting : Bridge , Main Control , I m going to secure number two boiler at this time . Recommend you drop the anchor ! " The captain had been stopped in mid -sentence by the blaring intercom , but before the engineer could finish speaking the captain said , in a loud but cool voice , " Notify the bosun ." It is standard procedure on Chapter1 2 large ships to have an anchor prepared to drop in case the ship loses its ability to maneuver while in restricted waters . With the propulsion plant out , the bosun , who was standing by with a crew forward ready to drop the anchor , was notified that he might be called into action . The falling intonation of the captain ' s command gave it a cast of resignation or perhaps boredom and made it sound entirely routine . In fact , the situation was anything but routine . The occasional cracking voice , a muttered curse , or a perspiration -soaked shirt on this cool spring afternoon told the real story : the Palau was not fully under control , and careers and possibly lives were in jeopardy . The immediate consequences of this event were potentially ' grave . Despite the crew s correct responses, the loss of main steam put the ship in danger . Without steam, it could not reverse its propeller - the only way to slow a large ship efficiently . The friction of the water on the ship ' s hull will eventually reduce its speed, but the Palau would coast for several miles before coming to a stop . The engineering officer ' s recommendation that the anchor be dropped was not appropriate . Since the ship was still traveling at a high rate of speed, the only viable option was to attempt to keep the ship in the deep water of the channel and coast until it had lost enough speed to safely drop anchor . Within 40 seconds of the report of loss of steam pressure , the steam drum was exhausted . All steam-turbine -operated machinery came to a halt , including the turbine generators that produce the ' ship s electrical power . All electrical power was lost throughout the ship , and all electrical devices without emergency power backup ceased to operate . In the pilothouse a high -pitched alarm sounded for a few seconds , signaling an under -voltage condition for one piece of equipment . Then the pilothouse fell eerily silent as the electric motors in the radars and other devices spun down and stopped . Just outside the navigation bridge , the port wing pelorus operator watched the gyrocompass card in his pelorus swing wildly and then return to its original heading . He called in to the bearing recorder standing at the chart table : " John, this gyro just went nuts ." The bearing recorder acknowledged the comment and told the pelorus operator that a breakdown was in progress : " Yeah , I know , I know , we 're havin ' a casualty ." Because the main steering gear is operated with electric motors , the ship now not only had no way to arrest its still -considerable W Alcnm A Aboard 3 forward motion ; it also had no way to quickly change the angle of its rudder . The helm does have a manual backup system , located in a compartment called aftersteering in the stem of the ship : a worm gear mechanism powered by two men on bicycle cranks . However , even strong men working hard with this mechanism can change the angle of the massive rudder only very slowly . Shortly after the loss of power , the captain said to the navigator , who was the most experienced conning officer on board , " OK , Gator , I ' d like you to take the conn ." The navigator answered " Aye , sir " and , turning away from the captain , announced : " Attention in the pilothouse . This is the navigator . I have the conn ." As required , the quartermaster of the watch acknowledged (" Quartermaster , " " " aye ) and the helmsman reported Sir , my rudder is amidships . The navigator had been looking out over the bow of the ship , trying to detect any turning motion . He answered the helmsman : " Very well . Right 5 degrees rudder ." Before the helmsman could reply , the navigator increased the ordered angle : " Increase your rudder " right 10 degrees. (The rudder angle indicator on the helm station has two parts ; one shows the rudder angle that is ordered and the other the actual angle of the rudder .) The helmsman spun the wheel , causing the indicator of the desired rudder angle to move to the right 10 degrees, but the indicator of the actual rudder angle " seemed not to move at all . " Sir , I have no helm sir ! he reported . Meanwhile , the men on the cranks in aftersteering were straining to move the rudder to the desired angle . Without direct helm control ' , the conning officer acknowledged the helmsman s report and sought to make contact with aftersteering by way of one of the " " phone talkers on the bridge : Very well . Aftersteering , Bridge . The " navigator then turned to the helmsman and said Let me know if " you get it back . Before he could finish his sentence , the helmsman " I have it back sir ." When the , navigator acknowledged responded , the report , the ship was on the right side of the channel but heading far to the left of the desired course. " Very well , increase your rudder to right 15." " Aye sir . My rudder is right 15 degrees. No new course given ." The navigator acknowledged - " Very well " - and then , looking out over the bow , whispered " Come on , damn it , " swing ! Just then , the starboard wing pelorus operator spoke on the ' " phone circuit : John , it looks like we re gonna hit this buoy over here." The bearing recorder had been concentrating on the chart and hadn 't quite heard . " Say again " he requested . The starboard wing pelorus operator leaned over the railing of his platform to Chapter1 4 watch the buoy pass beneath him . It moved quickly down the side of the ship , staying just a few feet from the hull . When it appeared that the Palau would not hit the buoy , the starboard wing pelorus " '" operator said Nothin ; that ended the conversation . The men inside never knew how close they had come. Several subsequent helm commands were answered with " Sir , I have no helm ." When asked by the captain how he was doing , the navigator , referring to their common background as helicopter pilots , quipped " First time I ever dead-sticked a ship , captain ." (To " dead-stick " an aircraft is to fly it after the engine has died .) Steering a ship requires fine ' judgements of the ship s angular velocity . Even if helm response was instantaneous , there would still be a considerable lag between the time a helm command was given and the time when the ship ' s response to the changed rudder angle was first detectable as the movement of the bow with respect to objects in the distance . Operating with this manual system , the navigator did not always know what the actual rudder angle was , and could not know how long to expect to wait to see if the ordered command was having the desired effect. Because of the slowed response time of the rudder , the navigator ordered more extreme rudder angles than usual , causing the Palau to weave erratically from one side of the channel to the other . Within 3 minutes , the diesel -powered emergency generators were brought on line and electrical power was restored to vital systems throughout the ship . Control of the rudder was partially restored , but remained intermittent for an additional 4 minutes . Although the ship still could not control its speed, it could at least now keep itself in the dredged portion of the narrow channel . On the basis of the slowing over the first 15 minutes after the casualty , it became possible to estimate when and where the Palau would be moving slowly enough to drop anchor . The navigator conned the ship toward the chosen spot . About 500 yards short of the intended anchorage , a sailboat took a course that would lead it to cross close in front of the Palau . Normally the Palau would have sounded five blasts with its enormous horn to indicate disagreement with the actions taken by the other vessel. However , the Palau ' s horn is a steam whistle , and without steam pressure it will not sound . The Navigation Department has among its equipment a small manual foghorn , basically a bicycle pump with a reed and a bell . The navigator remembered Welcome Aboard 5 this take , blasts . and gear find , post deck a of piece his the the The horn of keeper - talkie walkie the instructed manual to horn the out to the deck bow the deck two and , ran log maintain of keeper descend , sound from to the the to log levels five , with the flight warning pilothouse communication leave the carrying . bridge The ' captain the grabbed for microphone the deck flight s address public " " and system Can asked hear you me on the deck flight ? Men below " on the deck turned and waved the at up . pilothouse Sailboat ' Palau crossing s bow be advised that I am not . . . I have no . power " You of cross the at your sailboat sails its men had were on the and begun clear . the the by horn would who was be , . time he would holding yards the bow the island to it , goal was from signal turned , between lay his to the had log of that the watch deck base halfway navigator to the the the only , a the officer junior " - walkie was reach . The meaningless a he hull and ship bow of 100 , the foreground the from time the the keeper nearly Before In to emerged the of . the this By bow running , stairs bow power the now across . pilothouse Meanwhile of flights and that the were deck sprinting island no under from flight two have disappeared collision down . I risk visible impending run the own talkie and exclaimed tell Just him to " the put sucker the and , passed down the flight . the by Palau and . A the to were Twenty the the required later take a up the , . its keeper there position still , case the of from the , sailing deck the in signal visible emerged of of was ahead was sailboat The middle the directly mast was message the whether was of tip bow after minutes at of arrival the continued log other warnings no the nor captain of brought to perform to safely this the nor - task Some due , in was outside just kept of them - alone control of were to part the of thinking happening navigator neither chief kinds Many large especially acting quartermaster have . . bridge the could anchor was crew bridge on water ample more Palau . anchor the navigator team navigation it at Palau individual single in the , begun location navigation the had channel seamanship But ride and casualty engineering wild intended the of exceptional the the where anchor the and to bounds safe . seconds from to the The five miles brought by The from know then the ! sounded to way only times . - 2 no starboard bow five were which , few required than is that the it blasts There close under hit feeble sailboat so pilothouse from five deck heard and supervising the ship were in Chapter1 8 parallel , some in coordination with others , some inside the heads of individuals , and some quite clearly both inside and outside the heads of the participants . This book is about the above event and about the kind of system in which it took place . It is about human cognition - especially human cognition in settings like this one , where the problems that individuals confront and the means of solving them are culturally structured and where no individual acting alone is entirely responsible for the .outcomes that are meaningful to the society at large . Gaining access to this field site required me , as an ethnographer , to make three journeys at once. In this first chapter I will try to weave them together , for the reader will also have to make these journeys mentally in order to understand the world of military ship navigation . The first is a journey through physical space from my home and my usual workplace to the navigation bridge of the Palau . This journey took me through many gates, as I moved from the street to the military base, to the ship , and within the ship to the navigation bridge . I will try to convey the spatial organization of the setting in which navigation is performed . The second journey is a trip through social space in which I moved from the civilian social world past the ship ' s official gatekeepers into the social organization of the Navy , and then to the ship ' s Navigation Department . This journey closely parallels the journey through physical space because space is so often used as an element of social organization . As the spatial journey took me to regions with narrower and narrower boundaries , so the social journey leads us through successively narrower levels of social organization . The third journey is a movement through conceptual space, from the world of everyday spatial cognition into the technical world of navigation . This third journey does not really begin until I near the end of the other two . Ile MailGate TI I' ouah A crisp salute from a young marine in dress uniform at the main ' " " gate s guard shack marked the transition from the street to the " base ...
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School: Rice University




Meaning and Space: Cognitive Processes

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Cognitive processes are basically some of the activities or errands that out brain keeps on
doing them continuously. All the information that is obtained from the environment by the body
be it conceptually, physically, or socially are usually processed by these processes before a
reaction on the same is given (Hamilton, 2015). Through all these cognition comes along.
Cognition helps us navigate, examine, and even survey our surrounding environment through
cognitive processes just as explained before. Having said this, Edwin Hutchins in the year 1995
wrote a book Cognition in the Wild basing his definitions on actual facts which he personally
experienced at the bridge of a Navy USS ship which was doing some safety drills across the
shoreline of the Pacific Ocean. This paper, therefore, is going to identify, examine and then
describe the various physical, social, and conceptual spaces involved within the ship and reflect
the same on a real university classroom (in the wild). All these will be done based on the events
that happened at the bridge of the Navy USS Ship as explained in Chapter 1 of the book
Cognition in the Wild.
To begin with, “Welcome Aboard” tends to represent the physical, social and conceptual
processes in a very simple manner. First of all, by Edwin Hutchins moving from the street or
where he resided to the ship represents a change in the physical space. When he moves from his
normal life to a military life, it represents the change in the social space around him and finally,
the fact that he moved aw...

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