What we knew then…

XXVII.4 July - August 2020
Page: 28
Digital Citation

What we knew then: Introduction

Alex Taylor, Daniela Rosner, Mikael Wiberg

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We have struggled to understand, formulate, and adapt to a new normal as we are moving through the current pandemic. In one sense, this is a new and challenging situation for us all. Although some of us have experienced previous pandemics, those happened at different phases of our lives, and under different conditions. In short, we have very little to rely on as guiding frameworks for moving forward. At the same time, we have been capable of making drastic and rapid changes. Might this be because we can (at least to some extent) apply insights from our previous work to some of the challenges we are facing today? Could it be that past experiences, old theories, and technologies that we developed decades ago actually prove to be useful to cope with and manage the current situation? What can be learned from the past to cope with the present, in order to move on?


In the following articles, Jonathan Grudin reflects on how research from the distant past regains relevance as we address the challenges of moving education online amid the spread of Covid-19. Rojin Vishkaie reflects on building resilience to address the digital divide in education. And Mikael Wiberg discusses the notions of physical and social distancing in relation to well-established HCI research on the difference between face-to-face and online interactions, and why physical distancing has also implied social distancing for many people. Angelika Strohmayer offers a careful reflection on helping research partners who support those made vulnerable during this crisis. Cally Gatehouse looks at more recent work in our field in search of methods and approaches for moving from what is to what may be, that is, to "design for not just the world we have, but also for the other possible worlds that these strange times allow us to glimpse." Related to these issues, Yvonne Rogers asks a fundamental question: Is remote the new normal? introducing her series of blog posts on this topic.

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