Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cognition All Around Me

Today was the last day of classes for Computers and Cognition, a course that's inspired a couple of posts here, and that I signed up for, for credit, even though it can't count towards my degree (how else was I going to make sure I actually bothered to do the work?). I'm sad it's done, but on the other hand, I won't miss those 8:30am, three-hour classes.

Ok, it's not entirely done - I still have to write my term paper. Other than my Master's thesis, the 8000 words required of me are the most I've ever had to write for school. Luckily, I finally settled on a topic that I think will keep my interest until the end: cognitive advantages of learning with augmented reality. This is something that will help me with my general research interest of educational entertainment and augmented reality.

While researching this topic, I started to notice the presence of cognitive theories in unexpected places. For example, I picked up Augmented Learning and have been devouring it in the last few days. Although not used extensively, cognitive theories like activity theory, situated learning, and constructivism are at least mentioned. I also bought Theory of Fun by Raph Koster to fill my Amazon super saver shipping quota, and found that he spends a lot of time reflecting on cognitive processes. It's as though everywhere I turn my newfound knowledge is coming in handy. ;)

I'm really glad I took this class. Thinking about games and especially learning through the lens of the theories I've now been exposed to is going to come in handy. I already have a much clearer idea of what makes augmented reality special, for example, and will be thinking of applications that take advantage of this rather than showcasing the coolest new technology advances for the sake of it. This also again reinforces the importance of learning things outside your own discipline - you will gain something from the experience, no matter how small.

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