Trninic, D., & Abrahamson, D. (2012). Embodied artifacts and conceptual performances.

In J. v. Aalst, K. Thompson, M. J. Jacobson, & P. Reimann (Eds.), Proceedings of the International Conference of the Learning Sciences: Future of Learning (ICLS 2012) (Vol. 1: Full papers, pp. 283-290). Sydney: University of Sydney / ISLS.

Learning scientists are only beginning to appreciate the epistemic, methodological, and pedagogical potential of synergy between two concurrent developments—theory of embodied cognition and technology of embodied interaction. We characterize and evaluate this prospective synergy from a sociocultural perspective. First we analyze learning in explicitly embodied cultural practices (e.g., surfing), then analogize to the implicitly embodied practice of mathematics. We next contextualize the latter via interpreting transcribed tutorial interviews drawn from video data collected in a design-based research study, in which twenty-two 9-to-11year-olds developed notions of proportionality through participating in guided problem-solving activities in an embodied-interaction space. In both surfing and mathematics, we argue, learners develop “embodied artifacts,” i.e. body-based and modular rehearsed actions. Embodied artifacts lend individuals entry into disciplinary competence via participation in action, refinement of operations, and integration into activity structures. Furthermore, embodied artifacts may become signified as “conceptual performances,” wherein performance stands for and constitutes understanding.