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Literate Activity Resources

In this university talk, Dr. Joyce R. Walker explains what cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT) can do when it’s used to teach writing. Walker uses her own writing practices, drawings, and narrative to unpack how CHAT helps writers see our own writing practices in order to be effective in particular writing situations.

ISU Writing Program P-CHAT map (2017) from “The Adventures of CHATPERSON and THE ANT: Cultural-Historical Activity Theory as a Writing Pedagogy”

In this ISU Writing Program YouTube video, we show how to use cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT) to talk and think about writing as a situated social activity. We describe how writers can use CHAT to see the people, goals, tools, rules, communities, and activity that make writing both complex and learnable.

In this ISU Writing Program Word Bird video, we show how human beings and non-human things are all actors that influence human behavior. We describe how we see activity theory as a way to understand how people, objects, and ideas work together to make things happen in the world.

In this YouTube video, Kenton Hemsing gives a brief explanation of each of the components of an activity system: people, tools, rules, communities, goals, artifacts, and more.

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In this YouTube video presentation, Amy Zawistowski applies the components of an activity system (people, tools, rules, communities, goals, artifacts) to a digital marketing plan for a small business. In doing so, Zawistowski shows how to break down and understand a specific writing situation in the complex activity system of a workplace.

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In this research article, Dr. Kirsten Foot explores cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT) as a tool to analyze complex and evolving professional practices, especially reflective research. Foot breaks down parts of activity systems to show how CHAT provides a framework for analyzing human interactions, communication, and organizations, considering their cultural, historical, political and economic dimensions.

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