EXTERNAL AIDS FOR SOCIAL MEMORY
Collective or social memories are not just a way for accumulating and preserving but also for sharing and developing knowledge. Indeed, as knowledge is made explicit and elaborated by a community, it enriches the local culture and the current practices, becoming a basis for communication and learning. This paper addresses the concept of 'social memory' in a specific 'community of practice': teachers and students of primary schools. The work is developed within HIPS1 (Hyper Interaction within Physical Space), a three-year (1997-2000) research project funded by the European Commission within the I 3 (I-Cube) Programme. HIPS is a hand-held location-aware tourist guide that delivers information related to the surrounding space mainly reacting to the physical movements of visitors (Benelli et al . 1999). The guide is designed to minimize the boundary between the physical space and the related information through a number of situated and contextual-aware interaction mechanisms. In the paper we present a specific application of HIPS as tool to support the creation of a social memory. First, we illustrate the theoretical framework, the cultural psychology (Vygotsky 1978), which we adopted to design the tool as an external aid for social memory. Afterwards we describe the user study and the design process that resulted in the development of an early prototype. The conclusions are a reflection about the use of new technology to open new learning opportunities for students.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: June 1, 2001