The interfunctionality of talk and text
Understanding more about how socially distributed cognition operates within a group of writers has implications for the design of technologies to support collaborative writing. This paper presents a chronology of a writing episode in which the communicative practices of collaborating writers and the representations they use to mediate cognition are investigated. The talk generated by the participants discussing how to write an essay provides data for illuminating the group's interactions and is a focus for investigating how this talk becomes metamorphosed into writing. The analysis charts the evolution of a co-authored text through a cycle of activity which is both cognitive and social in orientation and demonstrates the interfunctionality of talk and text for the processes involved in collaborative writing. This suggests that computer systems which support only text-based communication could limit the ways in which talk acts as a mediator for cognition and thus constrain important aspects of collaborative writing.