- 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).
- Feb 2022
Local file Local file
Our brains work not that differently in terms of interconnectedness.Psychologists used to think of the brain as a limited storage spacethat slowly fills up and makes it more difficult to learn late in life. Butwe know today that the more connected information we alreadyhave, the easier it is to learn, because new information can dock tothat information. Yes, our ability to learn isolated facts is indeedlimited and probably decreases with age. But if facts are not kept
isolated nor learned in an isolated fashion, but hang together in a network of ideas, or “latticework of mental models” (Munger, 1994), it becomes easier to make sense of new information. That makes it easier not only to learn and remember, but also to retrieve the information later in the moment and context it is needed.
Our natural memories are limited in their capacities, but it becomes easier to remember facts when they've got an association to other things in our minds. The building of mental models makes it easier to acquire and remember new information. The down side is that it may make it harder to dramatically change those mental models and re-associate knowledge to them without additional amounts of work.
The mental work involved here may be one of the reasons for some cognitive biases and the reason why people are more apt to stay stuck in their mental ruts. An example would be not changing their minds about ideas of racism and inequality, both because it's easier to keep their pre-existing ideas and biases than to do the necessary work to change their minds. Similar things come into play with respect to tribalism and political party identifications as well.
This could be an interesting area to explore more deeply. Connect with George Lakoff.
Every intellectual endeavour starts from an already existingpreconception, which then can be transformed during further inquiresand can serve as a starting point for following endeavours. Basically,that is what Hans-Georg Gadamer called the hermeneutic circle
All intellectual endeavors start from a preexisting set of ideas. These can then be built upon to create new concepts which then influence the original starting point and may continue ever expanding with further thought.
Ahrens argues that most writing advice goes against the idea of the hermeneutic circle and pretends as if the writer is starting with a blank page. This can prefigure some of the stress and difficulty Ernest Hemingway spoke of when he compared writing to "facing the white bull which is paper with no words on it."
While it can be convenient to think of the idea of tabula rasa, in practice it really doesn't exist. As a result the zettelkasten more readily shows its value in the writing process.
- cognitive dissonance
- George Lakoff
- political affiliation
- mental models
- networked thought
- hermeneutic circle
- tools for thought
- context shifting
- associative memory
- writing process
- cognitive bias
- Hans-Georg Gadamer
- Hemingway's White Bull
- tabula rasa
- cognitive load
- ideas have sex
- networked thinking
- Jul 2020
digitally mediated networked learning
It's interesting to make this distinction. While I recognize that networked learning pre-dates the rise of the web, I suspect many students and educators would equate "network" with "the internet" at this point (and the internet means "Web 2.0" - that is, a collaborative space where the user/creator distinction is blurred).
- May 2016
My experimentation with open pedagogy – and my attempts to guide students’ learning with/in and across open platforms – was a social endeavor that invited reciprocal networking.
- Apr 2016
networked discovery of connections would be at the center of both the learning environment as designed by faculty and the learning environment as experienced by students
Would love to hear Campbell or Kuh elaborate on this. Identifying "connections" as more important than identifying content/information? A new way for searching the Internet? Mining connections among content/people? Mining the connections I've made among content/people on the Internet?
- Jan 2016
Offering students the possibility of experiential learning in personal, interactive, networked computing—in all its gloriously messy varieties—provides the richest opportunity yet for integrative thinking within and beyond "schooling."
Yes, yes, yes. Networked learning IS experiential. I am always on the lookout for opportunities to facilitate those experiences - for my students and myself, and consider every embrace of glorious messiness a significant victory.
Moreover, the experience of building and participating within a digitally mediated network of discovery is itself a form of experiential learning, indeed a kind of metaexperiential learning that vividly and concretely teaches the experience of networks themselves.
With a wide open network, it also makes the world look smaller.
This is a great essay by Gardner Campbell. I'd add more notes. But every time I try, I start sounding like a crazed revolutionary. Like this...
Ask not how you can be a more suitable corporate drone. Ask how you can knock them down a few pegs.
The computer is an unprecedented partner for the human mind. We've barely begun to tap its potential. Stop trying to turn it into television.
Stop training kids to do what they're told. Teach them to teach themselves and one another.
Go into your nearest college or university library. Ignore the computer stations and the digital affordances. Enter the stacks, and run your fingers along the spines of the books on the shelves. You're tracing nodes and connections. You're touching networked learning—slow-motion and erratic, to be sure, but solid and present and, truth to tell, thrilling.
What a beautiful and evocative series of sentences!