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Things That Make Us Smart: Defending Human Attributes In The Age Of The Machine
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe|Ändern
Preis:40,72 €+ 5,77 € Versandkosten

am 21. Dezember 1998
I have to preface this review by saying that I'm probably a tough audience for this sort of book -- I have a PhD in cognitive psych, and I work as a research scientist with a specialist in interface designs. With that caveat, I have to say that the book was very readable and enjoyable, but I was constantly wondering "Where's the Beef?"
Much of the research he reviewed was rather old, even at the time of publication, and most of the analysis of them elaborated too much, without really being that trenchant. I found myself skipping ahead about halfway through the book when I knew the point of a chapter after a page or two, and didn't find any surprises along the way.
A good "gee-whiz" book for those new to cognitive psych or human factors, but a bit of a let-down for the specialist.
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am 13. Juli 1998
As a student at the University of California, San Diego, the native school of Dr. Donald Norman, I had the good fortune of reading Things That Make Us Smart as a textbook. I can now truthfully say that this has been the ONLY textbook that I enjoyed reading, and in fact, looked forward to reading. Norman is a witty and clever writer - he uses humor so subtly that it feels as if someone is tickling you throughout the book, and though you don't burst out laughing, you have a really good time. Through his humor, Norman conveys a very important message about technology and human interaction with it - with outstanding examples to which anyone can relate, he clearly explains how we have shaped and can shape our environments to, in fact, make us smart.
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am 11. Juni 2000
This book is easy to read - and should open most peoples eyes a bit more...
It describes how we (mankind) uses external representations to assist our brains - from writing, to diagrams, to maps, to the way we build our offices.
If you want a deeper psychological understanding with which you can do your own reasoning on different types of external representation - get this book. If you want clear-cut guidelines - get another book.
If you like this book - try Normans: The Design of Everydaythings as well. You might like Donald Schöns The Reflective Practitioner also.
Last word: Norman seems to prefer easy reading to structure - which means the book is best read end-to-end.
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In Things That Make Us Smart, Donald Norman comes to the defense of the human being in the world of technology. He contends that technology has developed historically through mankind's desire to make up for human limitations. The problem comes about when we develop technology without taking into consideration human strengths and other qualities, the whole person.
In his book, Norman calls for us to recognize the effects of today's technologies on the way we think. Rather than our human qualities and ideas shaping technology, today's technology is actually shaping our qualities, ideas and actions. Technology has superseded the human being. He contends we can still turn this into a positive experience. We are still in charge. But more importantly, it is a call for mankind to return to the idea of technology development as a means for improving the quality of human life and thought, not as a means of replacing it.
This book was actually not at all what I thought it was going to be. I was pleasantly surprised and challenged by what I read. Norman writes in both a scholarly and pragmatic fashion. Read it. You'll never look at your television the same way again.
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am 14. Februar 2000
I have often heard that "computers don't make mistakes, humans do." It is around this premise that Donald Norman centers his book. He agrees with this statement - that humans make the mistakes, but it is because the computers and software are poorly designed. We make mistakes because "the machine-centered tasks imposed upon us through our technology ask us to behave in ways incompatible with our fundamental capabilities." (p. 138) If computers and software were people-centered, that is designed from the humans point of view, there would be less mistakes, or at the very least, the technology would be able to make "fuzzy" judgments for corrections.
Norman takes us through a discovery of what is "right" and what is "wrong" with many of the objects we use everyday. He points out both good design (such as the genius of the filing cabinet) and bad design, while also wishing for a new and better way. The interesting part is to note that many of these wishes he made in 1994 have actually become reality. He wished for "computerized scheduling" that can be updated and shared (p. 216) - many of us have Palm Pilots from which we can down/upload calendar updates to and from our desktop computer or share our calendar to another Palm Pilot via "beaming." He also warns us that technologies take a long time to be accepted... and asks us to consider the present to ten years prior - that there isn't that much difference. (p. 192) In 1994, there wasn't much difference in the world from 10 years before, but in the six years since 1994 the world has undergone tremendous change, mostly due to the increased use of the Internet. I am very interested in reading his latest book to see how he addresses this.
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am 28. März 2000
In this book, Donald Norman offers a thoughtful examination of the tools, toys and games that we interact with every day. According to Norman these "things that make us smart can also make us dumb." It is the way that we use and interact with these "things" that will determine their effect on our intelligence. Not only does this text offer a comprehensive history of technology tools, but it also examines the evolution of human thought and cognition.
Like Alan Cooper, Norman examines "what is wrong in the design of the technology that requires people to behave in machine-centered ways for which people are not well suited." Norman, however, does not concentrate on the negatives of software design. He presents a look at how we have evolved into our current state in order to make predictions and recommendations about how to proceed into the future.
Norman's study of experiential and reflective cognition should be required reading for any teacher. The study could help both new and veteran users of educational technologies make appropriate choices for the use of different software for different learning opportunities. The section on "optimal flow" is useful for educators, software or game designers and cognitive scientists. Doesn't everybody strive for a "continual flow of focused concentration?"
In his study of the human mind and distributed cognition, Norman examines some of the differences between humans and other species. One of the key distinctions for me was that humans can create tools to help them "overcome the limitations of brainpower." This is where he makes the connection to how things can make us smart. The philosophical nature of this section of the book was very interesting and useful for me. I believe it could help the reader better understand how social learning theory and situated cognition can have an impact on the work of educators and interactive designers.
Overall, this book could be useful for a wide audience of educators, software developers, game designers, interactive designers, cognitive scientists, and students of any of these fields of study. Norman successfully makes connections between many technologies and thought processes. Whether it be the "Wooton Desk and the file cabinet or video games and edutainment, he shows the significance of each and their place in the study of interactive design.
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am 30. Juli 2000
What if we put aside worrying about how computers will replace human thought and behavior and focused, instead, on the fundamental differences and complementary strengths of humans and machines? Perhaps then we could make best use of the things that have the potential to make us smart. Don Norman, author of The Design of Everyday Things, takes the insights he is famous for, regarding the design of everyday objects, and turns these towards a thoughtful consideration of the high tech objects in our lives.
Norman contends that what machines are best at are memorization and calculation, and that part of our fears about them come from comparing ourselves mentally to computers with regard to these dimensions. This is a fundamentally flawed way to think about the relationships between humans and computers.
He encourages us, instead, to optimize the powerful potential of computation in order to liberate ourselves for more important ends, such as the time and capacity for deep reflective thought. In this way, and in other ways, he advocates for a human-centered approach to technology.
Humans make tools and build objects, or artifacts; and the artifacts we build help to make us smart. They remind us of important things and when designed well help us accomplish important things and provide "affordances" for desired behaviors and outcomes.
We need to develop better and keener senses of design. With regard to computers, the more we can unload, the more conceptual knowledge that we can convert into "experiential" knowledge through the use of such things as powerful computer-based data representations, the more we will free ourselves for higher order reflective thought and human judgment.
Norman convincingly argues that rather than locking ourselves in a battle of turf with machines, we should take advantage of the ways machines, like other human-designed objects, can, indeed, help to make us smart.
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