- May 2022
Local file Local file
The last element in his file system was an index, from which hewould refer to one or two notes that would serve as a kind of entrypoint into a line of thought or topic.
Indices are certainly an old construct. One of the oldest structured examples in the note taking space is that of John Locke who detailed it in Méthode nouvelle de dresser des recueils (1685), later translated into English as A New Method of Organizing Common Place Books (1706).
Previously commonplace books had been structured with headwords done alphabetically. This meant starting with a preconceived structure and leaving blank or empty space ahead of time without prior knowledge of what would fill it or how long that might take. By turning that system on its head, one could fill a notebook from front to back with a specific index of the headwords at the end. Then one didn't need to do the same amount of pre-planning or gymnastics over time with respect to where to put their notes.
This idea combined with that of Konrad Gessner's design for being able to re-arrange slips of paper (which later became index cards based on an idea by Carl Linnaeus), gives us an awful lot of freedom and flexibility in almost any note taking system.
Building blocks of the note taking system
- atomic ideas
- written on (re-arrangeable) slips, cards, or hypertext spaces
- cross linked with each other
- cross linked with an index
- cross linked with references
are there others? should they be broken up differently?
Godfathers of Notetaking
- Aristotle, Cicero (commonplaces)
- Seneca the Younger (collecting and reusing)
- Raymond Llull (combinatorial rearrangements)
- Konrad Gessner (storage for re-arrangeable slips)
- John Locke (indices)
- Carl Linnaeus (index cards)
- Apr 2022
I believe we serve our students better by helping them find a note-taking system that works best for them.
Are there other methods of encouraging context shifts that don't include note taking (or literacy-based) solutions? What would an orality focused method look like? How might we include those methods in our practices?
Research has shown that when we give students complete, well-written, instructor-prepared notes to review after they take their own notes, they learn significantly more than with their own notes alone (Kiewra, 1985).
Students who are given well-written, instructor-prepared notes to review after taking their own notes have been shown to learn significantly more than with only using their own notes.
These notes can provide valuable additional feedback and might also be supplemented with additional texts or books. The issue may be how to encourage students to use these resources appropriately rather than relying on them as a crutch or backstop which may encourage them not to take their own notes? It's the work of making the notes and the forced context shift that are likely creating the most benefit rather than simply reviewing over what they already know.
Link this to review effects mentioned in Ahrens versus using questions and being forced to manufacture an answer.
- Feb 2022
Local file Local file
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?
Make permanent notes.
The important part of permanent notes are generating your own ideas and connecting (linking them densely) into your note system. The linking part is important and can be the part that most using digital systems forget to do. In paper zettelkasten, one was forced to create the first link by placing the note into the system for the first time. This can specifically be seen in Niklas Luhmann's example where a note became a new area of its own or, far more likely, it was linked to prior ideas.
By linking the idea to others within the system, it becomes more likely that the idea can have additional multiple contexts where it might be used and improve the fact that context shifts will prove more insight in the future.
Additional links to subject headings, tags, categories, or other forms of taxonomy will also help to make sure the note isn't lost completely into the system. Links to the bibliographical references within the system are helpful as well, especially for later citation. Keep in mind that these categories and reference links aren't nearly as valuable as the other primary idea links.
One can surely collect ideas and facts into their system, but these aren't as important or as interesting as one's own ideas and the things that are sparked and generated by them.
Asking questions in permanent notes can be valuable as they can become the context for new research, projects, and writing. Open questions can be incredibly valuable for one's thinking and explorations.
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.
- Llullan combinatorial arts
- atomic ideas
- open questions
- topical headings
- problem solving
- multiple contexts
- tools for thought
- collector's fallacy
- permanent notes
- context shifts
- there's more than one way to skin a cat
- building blocks
- idea links
- combinatorial creativity
- modality shifts
- types of focus
- play based learning
Highlighting would be a crude form of knowledge telling. Knowledge transforming involves interpretation on the part of the content producer.
Scholars who study writing differentiate between knowledge telling and knowledge transforming.
Highlighting can be seen as a weak form of knowledge telling. It's a low level indicator that an idea is important, but doesn't even go so far as the reader strengthening the concept by restating the idea in their own words similar to the Feynman technique.
One could go steps further by not only restating it but transforming it and linking it into one's larger body of knowledge or extending into other contexts.