12 Matching Annotations
  1. May 2017
    1. The world has arrived at an age of cheap complex devices of great reliability; and something is bound to come of it.

      Part of what we now know is that the large-scale manufacture of such "cheap and complex devices of great reliability" is linked to our excessive depletion of natural resources, our pollution and destruction of the global environment -- most especially our large and ever-increasing impact on the atmosphere. Heavily industrialization and consumerism are provoking long-term climate change across the planet. In the second decade of the 21st century, we realize that we are at a tipping point where the negative impacts are likely to exceed, increasingly, the positive effects that Bush evokes. So... how do we proceed from here? That's the important question. [Addendum: Donald J. Trump's undoing of environmental regulation and climate-change-mitigation and monitoring initiatives is, very clearly, a wrong pathway, unless the intent is to hasten the destruction of the stable and sustaining natural environment that allowed humanity to rise to this kind of thriving and global dominance.]

      Are there ways of harnessing tagging, linking and associative tools like Hypothes.is to help pull together the disparate webs of evidence and arguments on climate change that will help us as a species understand the dangers and the risks? Are there ways in which such tools might increase the democratic and ecological effectiveness of knowledge and learning? Do they have the potential to shift cultures and mindsets? Can technology prove helpful here?

  2. Feb 2017
    1. You don’t have to have access to the big stage to make a difference

      There are ways, Maha, in which the networking, connecting and thinking that we do in our classrooms, in our mentoring relationships, in our conversations, in symposia can and do have an impact, a significant one. However, like all learning, the impact of opening minds a little bit at a time or using carefully dosed sessions of critical thinking and exploration to instill resistance to intolerance or to BS à la Harry Frankfurt, is most effective when it is practiced often, when it is engaging, resonant, meaningful, reiterated and connected meaningfully to previous learning. In other words, we who guide and help learners rarely have a spectacular, glorious moment, replayed multiple times in slow motion, to show the genius of our shot or deflection leading to a goal. We make a difference, yes, but slowly, over time, organically. Still, if done with courage, conviction, care and discipline, our work fostering learning can lead to results that are far more consequential for human life as a whole than a single goal in a single match that few will remember clearly a year later. Good teaching and effective learning can be precious, meaningful and beneficial for a lifetime.

      Your analogy with sports, Maha, has brought me more convincingly to this realization.

    1. And that’s the difference between reading “As We May Think” on my own, and working through it in this community, this network of fellow learners

      An open and connected community of learners, making for richer, more resonant learning, in my view. It has certainly enriched my own understanding and appreciation of the text by Vannaver Bush!

    2. A well chosen tag prompts us to think about our own thinking, to reflect upon how it is that one idea is connected to another in our own minds

      Indeed! Thinking about thinking and learning about learning is what Open Learning 17 is about, is it not? To what extent do open web technologies, tagging and collaborative processing of ideas invite us to break open new ways of pursuing and managing learning using tools like Hypothes.is?

    3. So it’s not just the annotation itself, but this “annotation infrastructure,” the way that the associated link and tags can be combined and recombined, that is so powerful.

      Yup. This tagging and annotating infrastructure has the potential to help use make individual associate trails more evident and to weave them into something more like collaborative neural networking or setting up a kind of learning that is greater than the learning of any single person.

    4. My thinking is not primarily a matter of linking texts and documents as such, but of connecting ideas and concepts and discrete pieces of data.

      Agreed. It's a matter of pulling ideas or bits of data together and tagging them as "analogous" or "resonant" or meaningfully connected in some way. In this way, the organic and cognitive connections forged by human brains have a kind of objective trace in the open web "infosphere."

    1. if the scholar can get at only one a week by diligent search, his syntheses are not likely to keep up with the current scene

      Here, directional velocity gives way to processing speed, scholarly productivity and currency (in the dual sense of "nowness" and relevance/pertinency).

    2. A new symbolism, probably positional, must apparently precede the reduction of mathematical transformations to machine processes
      1. Mathematics can be used to describe and calculate quantity/scale, position or probability; it makes sense to map this "new symbolism" onto one of those dimensions.
      2. This reminds one of a passage from Richard Powers The Gold Bug Variations (1991) where he reminds us that a sufficiently precise placement and measurement of a notch on a rod would be able to encode and decode the Encyclopedia Britannica, indeed, the full holdings of the Library of Congress.
      3. Let us remember that the nearly instantaneous calculations of the computers we use today have limits in terms of the numbers of digits that may be processed at any one time; for that reason, the kind of highly compressed mathematical encoding that Powers envisioned is virtually impossible for us in the early 21st century.
    3. The Encyclopoedia Britannica could be reduced to the volume of a matchbox

      ... a matchbox or a USB thumb drive or a flat smart media card or a minuscule microchip or even a non-substantial set of information on a server on the cloud somewhere that can be streamed almost instantly anywhere in the world. In one sense, 21st-century digital "compression" leads not to density, but to dispersion and to widespread, easy access through ubiquitous devices and software tools.

    4. His hands are free, and he is not anchored

      Again: Google Glass?

    5. Books of all sorts, pictures, current periodicals, newspapers, are thus obtained and dropped into place

      Kindle? IBooks? a connected tablet? These are the desk, the future device in a different guise.

    6. Man cannot hope fully to duplicate this mental process artificially, but he certainly ought to be able to learn from it

      Tagging mechanisms and other such tools bridge the gap between organic neuro-processed association as a kind of index and "mechanical" indexing. Basically, human brains imprint the digital archive with some traces of their own organic associations. Not exactly a reproduction of the organic process, but creating a bridge between the organic "pulling together" of disparate elements and mechanical indexing.