- Nov 2022
When he was coming up as a writer, the author and journalist Rex Murphy would write out longhand favorite poems and passages. He was asked, what’s that done for you? “There’s an energy attached to poetry and great prose,” Murphy said. “And when you bring it into your mind, into your living sensibility, by some weird osmosis, it lifts your style or the attempts of your mind.” When you read great writing, when you write down a great line or paragraph, Murphy continues, “somehow or another, it contaminates you in a rich way. You get something from it—from this osmotic imitation—that will only take place if you lodge it in your consciousness.”
This writing advice from Rex Murphy sounds like the beginning portions of Benjamin Franklin's advice on writing and slowly rewriting one's way into better prose styles.
Link to Franklin's quote
- Oct 2022
Sincecopying is a chore and a bore, use of the cards, the smaller thebetter, forces one to extract the strictly relevant, to distill from thevery beginning, to pass the material through the grinder of one’s ownmind, so to speak.
Barbara Tuchman recommended using the smallest sized index cards possible to force one only to "extract the strictly relevant" because copying by hand can be both "a chore and a bore".
In the same address in 1963, she encourages "distill[ing] from the very beginning, to pass the material through the grinder of one's own mind, so to speak." This practice is similar to modern day pedagogues who encourage this practice, but with the benefit of psychology research to back up the practice.
This advice is two-fold in terms of filtering out the useless material for an author, but the grinder metaphor indicates placing multiple types of material in to to a processor to see what new combinations of products come out the other end. This touches more subtly on the idea of combinatorial creativity encouraged by Raymond Llull, Matt Ridley, et al. or the serendipity described by Niklas Luhmann and others.
When did the writing for understanding idea begin within the tradition? Was it through experience in part and then underlined with psychology research? Visit Ahrens' references on this for particular papers to read.
Link to modality shift research.
- Jul 2022
After each review session, there’s often one flashcard in particular that I really dig into. I might spend 5 minutes writing about it. I might just think about it while going about my day.
Spending just a few minutes writing about an idea in one's flash card review can be a useful way to better integrate that idea into one's field of thought. Bringing it out and expressing it more fully, linking it to other thoughts, and shifting the modality from reading into writing can be powerful methods for ensconcing it into one's memory as well as mentally owning it and even potentially extending it.
- Jun 2022
For Jerome Bruner, the place to begin is clear: “One starts somewhere—where the learner is.”
One starts education with where the student is. But mustn't we also inventory what tools and attitudes the student brings? What tools beyond basic literacy do they have? (Usually we presume literacy, but rarely go beyond this and the lack of literacy is too often viewed as failure, particularly as students get older.) Do they have motion, orality, song, visualization, memory? How can we focus on also utilizing these tools and modalities for learning.
Link to the idea that Donald Trump, a person who managed to function as a business owner and president of the United States, was less than literate, yet still managed to function in modern life as an example. In fact, perhaps his focus on oral modes of communication, and the blurrable lines in oral communicative meaning (see [[technobabble]]) was a major strength in his communication style as a means of rising to power?
Just as the populace has lost non-literacy based learning and teaching techniques so that we now consider the illiterate dumb, stupid, or lesser than, Western culture has done this en masse for entire populations and cultures.
Even well-meaning educators in the edtech space that are trying to now center care and well-being are completely missing this piece of the picture. There are much older and specifically non-literate teaching methods that we have lost in our educational toolbelts that would seem wholly odd and out of place in a modern college classroom. How can we center these "missing tools" as educational technology in a modern age? How might we frame Indigenous pedagogical methods as part of the emerging third archive?
Link to: - educational article by Tyson Yunkaporta about medical school songlines - Scott Young article "You should pay for Tutors"
aside on serendipity
As I was writing this note I had a toaster pop up notification in my email client with the arrival of an email by Scott Young with the title "You should pay for Tutors" which prompted me to add a link to this note. It reminds me of a related idea that Indigenous cultures likely used information and knowledge transfer as a means of payment (Lynne Kelly, Knowledge and Power). I have commented previously on the serendipity of things like auto correct or sparks of ideas while reading as a means of interlinking knowledge, but I don't recall experiencing this sort of serendipity leading to combinatorial creativity as a means of linking ideas,
Maxine Greene for example, begins by writing that “We are convinced that the movement towards educational technology is irreversible and that our obligation as educators is to learn how to deal with it,” but then she turns that resignation into resistance by adding, “how, if you like, to live with it as fully conscious human beings working to enable other human beings to become conscious, to become responsible, to learn.”
If it's true that the movement toward technology is inevitable, how might we deal with it?
Compare this with the solution(s) that nomadic hunter-gatherers had to face when changing from a lifestyle built on movement to one of settling down to a life of agriculture. Instead of attaching their knowledge and memories to their landscape as before, they built structures (like Stonehenge) to form these functions.
Part of moving forward may involve moving back historically to better understand these ideas and methods and regaining them so that we might then reattach them to a digital substrate. How can we leverage the modalities of the digital for art, song, dance, music, and even the voice into digital spaces (if we must?). All digital or only digital certainly isn't the encompassing answer, but if we're going to do it, why not leverage the ability to do this?
As an example, Hypothes.is allows for annotating text to insert photos, emoji, audio (for music and voice), and even video. Videos might include dance and movement related cues that students might recreate physically. These could all be parts of creating digital songlines through digital spaces that students can more easily retrace to store their learnings for easier recall and to build upon in the future.
Groups in arts education rail against the loss of music, dance, and art in schools and indicate that it's important to a balanced education.
Why has no one embedded these learning tools, for yes they can be just that, into other spaces within classrooms? Indigenous educators over the millennia have done just this in passing on their societal and cultural knowledge. Why have we lost these teaching methods? Why don't we reintroduce them? How can classrooms and the tools within them become mnemonic media to assist both teachers and learners?
Perhaps we need to bring back examples of how to do these things at the higher levels? I've seen excercises in my daughter's grade school classrooms that bring art and manipulatives into the classroom as a base level, but are they being done specifically for these mnemonic reasons?
Michael Nielsen and Andy Matuschak have been working at creating a mnemonic medium for areas like quantum mechanics relying in part on spaced repetition. Why don't they go further and add in dance, movement, art, and music to aid in the process. This can be particularly useful for creating better neurodiverse outcomes as well. Education should be more multi-modal, more oral, and cease it's unending reliance on only literacy as it's sole tool.
How and where can we create a set of example exercises at various grade levels (similar to rites of knowledge initiation in Indigenous cultures, for lack of specific Western language) that embed all of these methods
Link to: - Ideas in The Extended Brain about movement, space, etc. - Nielsen/Matuschak mnemonic media work
- Michael Nielsen
- toaster notifications
- combinatorial creativity
- orality vs. literacy
- third archive
- Andy Matuschak
- educational substrates
- mnemonic media
- modality shifts
- Indigenous knowledge as educational technology
- literacy isn't everything
- idea links
- Indigenous pedagogy
- Donald J. Trump
- arts in education
- indigenous knowledge
- educational tools
- Tyson Yunkaporta
- method of loci
- information as currency
- Jerome Bruner
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.
One of my frustrations with the “science of learning” is that to design experiments which have reasonable limits on the variables and can be quantitatively measured results in scenarios that seem divorced from the actual experience of learning.
Is the sample size of learning experiments really large enough to account for the differences in potential neurodiversity?
How well do these do for simple lectures which don't add mnemonic design of some sort? How to peel back the subtle differences in presentation, dynamism, design of material, in contrast to neurodiversities?
What are the list of known differences? How well have they been studied across presenters and modalities?
What about methods which require active modality shifts versus the simple watch and regurgitate model mentioned in watching videos. Do people do actively better if they're forced to take notes that cause modality shifts and sensemaking?
There is even significant evidence that expressing our thoughts inwriting can lead to benefits for our health and well-being. 11 One ofthe most cited psychology papers of the 1990s found that“translating emotional events into words leads to profound social,psychological, and neural changes.”
11 James W. Pennebaker, “Writing about Emotional Experiences as a Therapeutic Process,” Psychological Science 8, no. 3 (May 1997), 162–66
Did they mention any pedagogical effects in this work?
How does this relate to the ability to release thoughts from working memory because they're written down and we don't need to spend time and effort trying to remember them? What are the references for this work? I suspect I've got them linked around somewhere...
What other papers/work cover these intersections?
* This is called “detachment gain,” as explained in The Detachment Gain: TheAdvantage of Thinking Out Loud by Daniel Reisberg, and refers to the“functional advantage to putting thoughts into externalized forms” such asspeaking or writing, leading to the “possibility of new discoveries that might nothave been obtained in any other fashion.” If you’ve ever had to write out aword to remember how it’s spelled, you’ve experienced this
Each word you write triggers mental cascades and internal associations, leading to further ideas, all of which can come tumbling out onto the page or screen.*
Did he pull this from Reisberg originally or from Annie Murphy Paul who he's quoted before?
This concept is an incredibly powerful one and definitely worthy of underlining in a book about thinking and note taking. It's rather sad that he hides the entire concept in the footnotes where the majority of the audience he's trying to reach will completely miss it.
tie this into Feynman technique and generation effect
First, you are much more likely to remember information you’vewritten down in your own words. Known as the “Generation Effect,”10researchers have found that when people actively generate a seriesof words, such as by speaking or writing, more parts of their brainare activated when compared to simply reading the same words.Writing things down is a way of “rehearsing” those ideas, likepracticing a dance routine or shooting hoops, which makes them farmore likely to stick.
Zachary A. Rosner et al., “The Generation Effect: Activating Broad Neural Circuits During Memory Encoding,” Cortex 49, no. 7 (July–August 2013), 1901–1909, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2012.09.009. #wanttoread
How does the "Generation Effect" tie into the Feynman technique for understanding, modality shifting for memory and understanding, and even a mild form of spaced repetition for memory?
- May 2022
- Feb 2022
This is why choosing an external system that forces us todeliberate practice and confronts us as much as possible with ourlack of understanding or not-yet-learned information is such a smartmove.
Choosing an external system for knowledge keeping and production forces the learner into a deliberate practice and confronts them with their lack of understanding. This is a large part of the underlying value not only of the zettelkasten, but of the use of a commonplace book which Benjamin Franklin was getting at when recommending that one "read with a pen in your hand". The external system also creates a modality shift from reading to writing by way of thinking which further underlines the value.
What other building blocks are present in addition to: - modality shift - deliberate practice - confrontation of lack of understanding
Are there other systems that do all of these as well as others simultaneously?
link to Franklin quote
his suggests that successful problem solvingmay be a function of flexible strategy application in relation to taskdemands.” (Vartanian 2009, 57)
Successful problem solving requires having the ability to adaptively and flexibly focus one's attention with respect to the demands of the work. Having a toolbelt of potential methods and combinatorially working through them can be incredibly helpful and we too often forget to explicitly think about doing or how to do that.
This is particularly important in mathematics where students forget to look over at their toolbox of methods. What are the different means of proof? Some mathematicians will use direct proof during the day and indirect forms of proof at night. Look for examples and counter-examples. Why not look at a problem from disparate areas of mathematical thought? If topology isn't revealing any results, why not look at an algebraic or combinatoric approach?
How can you put a problem into a different context and leverage that to your benefit?
By adding these links between notes, Luhmann was able to addthe same note to different contexts.
By crosslinking one's notes in a hypertext-like manner one is able to give them many different contexts. This linking and context shifting is a solid method for helping one's ideas to have sex with each other as a means of generating new ideas.
Is there a relationship between this idea of context shifting and modality shifting? Are these just examples of building blocks for tools of thought? Are they sifts on different axes? When might they be though of as the same? Compare and contrast this further.
- Benjamin Franklin
- permanent notes
- types of focus
- deliberate practice
- external structures for thought
- Llullan combinatorial arts
- there's more than one way to skin a cat
- context shifts
- combinatorial creativity
- commonplace books
- problem solving
- play based learning
- building blocks
- tools for thought
- modality shifts
- Jan 2022
A somewhat disingenuous reframing of the Cornell notes method. They've given it a different name potentially for marketing purposes to sell in a book. At least HQ&A is a reasonable mnemonic for what the process is.
They do highlight the value of modality shift from reading to thinking about how to formulate a question and answer as a means of learning. They don't seem to know the name or broader value of the technique however.
This question technique is also highlighted in the work of Andy Matuschak and Michael Nielsen. Cross reference: https://andymatuschak.org/prompts/ and their quantum mechanics course experiments.
- Dec 2021
Physical mark-making also quickens the memory, which is one reason that handwritten notes are so much easier to recall than their typed equivalents.
Where is the research to back this up? I'm sure it exists.
- Sep 2021
<small><cite class='h-cite via'>ᔥ <span class='p-author h-card'>Annie Murphy Paul</span> in Opinion | How to Think Outside Your Brain - The New York Times (<time class='dt-published'>09/13/2021 19:58:53</time>)</cite></small>
A series of studies conducted by Frédéric Vallée-Tourangeau, a professor of psychology at Kingston University in Britain; Gaëlle Vallée-Tourangeau, a professor of behavioral science at Kingston; and their colleagues, has explored the benefits of such interactivity. In these studies, experimenters pose a problem; one group of problem solvers is permitted to interact physically with the properties of the problem, while a second group must only think through the problem. Interactivity “inevitably benefits performance,” they report.
Physical interactivity with a problem may help improve results.
Turning a mental representation into shapes and lines on a page helped them to elucidate more fully what they already knew while revealing with ruthless rigor what they did not yet comprehend.
The modality shift of putting ideas onto a page like this is similar to the idea behind the Feynman technique.
Moving mental contents out of our heads and onto the space of a sketch pad or whiteboard allows us to inspect it with our senses, a cognitive bonus that the psychologist Daniel Reisberg calls “the detachment gain.”
Moving ideas from our heads into the real world, whether written or potentially using other modalities, can provide a detachment gain, by which we're able to extend those ideas by drawing, sketching, or otherwise using them.
How might we use the idea of detachment gain to better effect in our pedagogy? I've heard anecdotal evidence of the benefit of modality shifts in many spaces including creating sketchnotes.
While some sketchnotes don't make sense to those who weren't present for the original talk, perhaps they're incredibly useful methods for those who are doing the modality shifts from hearing/seeing into writing/drawing.
- Aug 2021
Sketchnoting forces students to take ideas from a lesson and turn them into their own ideas. It also forces modality shifts.
Reviewing over a lecture after the fact to create sketchnotes is incredibly similar to some of the point and purpose of Cornell Notes.
While watching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOHcWhdguIY
- Jul 2021
<small><cite class='h-cite via'>ᔥ <span class='p-author h-card'>Alfredo Carpineti</span> in Learning To Write By Hand Most Effectively Teaches Reading Skills | IFLScience (<time class='dt-published'>07/10/2021 01:56:58</time>)</cite></small>
"The main lesson is that even though they were all good at recognizing letters, the writing training was the best at every other measure. And they required less time to get there," lead author Professor Robert Wiley, from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, said in a statement. "With writing, you're getting a stronger representation in your mind that lets you scaffold toward these other types of tasks that don't in any way involve handwriting." Every participant in the study was an adult but the scientists are confident that the same for children. The key, they argue, is that handwriting reinforces what is being learned about the letter, such as the sound, beyond their shape. "The question out there for parents and educators is why should our kids spend any time doing handwriting," explained senior author professor Brenda Rapp, from Johns Hopkins University. "Obviously, you're going to be a better hand-writer if you practice it. But since people are handwriting less then maybe who cares? The real question is: Are there other benefits to handwriting that have to do with reading and spelling and understanding? We find there most definitely are."
Handwriting (as opposed to typing) has been shown to improve the speed at which one learns alphabets.
Is the effect also seen in other types of learning? What about reading and taking notes by hand versus typing them out?
- Jun 2021
This wasn’t exactly radical behavior — marking up books, I’m pretty sure, is one of the Seven Undying Cornerstones of Highly Effective College Studying.
Annotating books provides a way of creating modality shifts from the original form into others, and this is likely one of the reasons that it's an effective thinking, learning, and study tool.
- Oct 2020
"There’s one great quote that’s attributed to Confucius: 'I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand,'" says Case. "I really believe in the potential of the interactive mediums."
This is related to the broad idea of modality shifts in more modern educational contexts.