being critical | critics | exercises in critique | critical writings

being intelligent means being able to continously organize and reorganize experiences in an ever-changing world. the critical computing group develops technologies to assist this process, tools that help people engage in critical reflection around their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.

in other words, our research is concerned with enhancing human performance. at the heart of our work lies a simple equation:

learning = performance = rehearsal + critique

that is, people learn new things in order to enhance their existing ways of doing or acquire new skills. in doing so, they must engage in periods of rehearsal, practicing new activities to accomodate them into their exsiting repertoire. more so, they must be able to critique these "rehearsal sessions," understanding their successes and failures, reflecting on their ways of doing in order to improve them.

we work on the critique side of the equation, building technologies to enhance reflection and learning. one aspect of this has led to tools for capturing and visualizing otherwise tacit experiences/beliefs. if you want to be critical about something, you must be able to "see" it, to somehow make observations and interpretations of the phenomena. digital imagery has played a major role in this work, providing "data" for critique.

a second aspect of the work deals with conversation, getting people to articulate old and new beliefs. people learn by talking about things, so we design contexts where people make observations, communicate hypotheses and theories to others. some of our work explores new ways to bring expressive qualities to computer-mediated communication to amplify our ways of talking critically.