- Jun 2022
A very brief primer on UDL and how Hypothes.is and social annotation might fit within its framework. There seems to be a stronger familiarity with Hypothes.is as a tool and a bit less familiarity with UDL, or perhaps they just didn't bind the two together as tightly as they might have.
I'm definitely curious to look more closely at the UDL framework to see what we might extract from it.
The title features neurodiversity, but doesn't deliver on the promise.
An interesting reframing would be that of social annotation with the idea of modality shifts, particularly for neurodiverse students.
- Apr 2022
solo thinking isrooted in our lifelong experience of social interaction; linguists and cognitivescientists theorize that the constant patter we carry on in our heads is a kind ofinternalized conversation. Our brains evolved to think with people: to teachthem, to argue with them, to exchange stories with them. Human thought isexquisitely sensitive to context, and one of the most powerful contexts of all isthe presence of other people. As a consequence, when we think socially, wethink differently—and often better—than when we think non-socially.
People have evolved as social animals and this extends to thinking and interacting. We think better when we think socially (in groups) as opposed to thinking alone.
This in part may be why solo reading and annotating improves one's thinking because it is a form of social annotation between the lone annotator and the author. Actual social annotation amongst groups may add additonal power to this method.
I personally annotate alone, though I typically do so in a publicly discoverable fashion within Hypothes.is. While the audience of my annotations may be exceedingly low, there is at least a perceived public for my output. Thus my thinking, though done alone, is accelerated and improved by the potential social context in which it's done. (Hello, dear reader! 🥰) I can artificially take advantage of the social learning effects even if the social circle may mathematically approach the limit of an audience of one (me).
A 2019 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy ofSciences supports Wieman’s hunch. Tracking the intellectual advancement ofseveral hundred graduate students in the sciences over the course of four years,its authors found that the development of crucial skills such as generatinghypotheses, designing experiments, and analyzing data was closely related to thestudents’ engagement with their peers in the lab, and not to the guidance theyreceived from their faculty mentors.
Learning has been shown to be linked to engagement with peers in social situations over guidance from faculty mentors.
Cross reference: David F. Feldon et al., “Postdocs’ Lab Engagement Predicts Trajectories of PhD Students’ Skill Development,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 116 (October 2019): 20910–16
Are there areas where this is not the case? Are there areas where this is more the case than not?
Is it our evolution as social animals that has heightened this effect? How could this be shown? (Link this to prior note about social evolution.)
Is it the ability to scaffold out questions and answers and find their way by slowly building up experience with each other that facilitates this effect?
Could this effect be seen in annotating texts as well? If one's annotations become a conversation with the author, is there a learning benefit even when the author can't respond? By trying out writing about one's understanding of a text and seeing where the gaps are and then revisiting the text to fill them in, do we gain this same sort of peer engagement? How can we encourage students to ask questions to the author and/or themselves in the margins? How can we encourage them to further think about and explore these questions? Answer these questions over time?
A key part of the solution is not just writing the annotations down in the first place, but keeping them, reviewing over them, linking them together, revisiting them and slowly providing answers and building solutions for both themselves and, by writing them down, hopefully for others as well.