- Jun 2022
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
- arts in education
- Michael Nielsen
- mnemonic media
- modality shifts
- Andy Matuschak
- Indigenous pedagogy
- educational substrates
- method of loci
- indigenous knowledge
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?
- May 2022
Local file Local file
Active reading to the extreme!
What a clever innovation building on the ideas of the art of memory and Raymond Llull's combinatoric arts!
Does this hit all of the areas of Bloom's Taxonomy? I suspect that it does.
How could it be tied more directly into an active reading, annotating, and note taking practice?
- Mar 2022
Kerry Ann Dickson, an associate professor of anatomy and cell biology atVictoria University in Australia, makes use of all three of these hooks when sheteaches. Instead of memorizing dry lists of body parts and systems, her studentspractice pretending to cry (the gesture that corresponds to the lacrimal gland/tearproduction), placing their hands behind their ears (cochlea/hearing), and swayingtheir bodies (vestibular system/balance). They feign the act of chewing(mandibular muscles/mastication), as well as spitting (salivary glands/salivaproduction). They act as if they were inserting a contact lens, as if they werepicking their nose, and as if they were engaging in “tongue-kissing” (motionsthat represent the mucous membranes of the eye, nose, and mouth, respectively).Dickson reports that students’ test scores in anatomy are 42 percent higher whenthey are taught with gestures than when taught the terms on their own.
Example of the use of visual, auditory, and proprioceptive methods used in the pedagogy of anatomy.
- Sep 2021
A well written review of Annie Murphy Paul's The Extended Mind. Matthew Cheney has distilled a lot out of the book from his notes with particular application to improving pedagogy.
I definitely want to read this with relation to not only using it to improve teaching, but with respect to mnemotechniques and the methods oral and indigenous societies may have either had things right or wrong and what Western culture may have lost as a result. I'm also particularly interested in it for its applications to the use of commonplace books and zettelkasten as methods of extending the mind and tools for thought.
Bigger is better.
Research shows that high-resolution monitors make thinking easier. This also seems true of classrooms which use large posters and maps as teaching aids at lower grades.
Why don't we use these methods as we grow older?
When used in mnemonic traditions, one can use vast spaces to create memory palaces that become thinking vistas within the brain. How can we better leverage these effects while still maintaining the effectiveness of focused journeys?
One of the less developed ideas in The Extended Mind concerns the things we prioritize in tech development. Too often, Paul says, we think speed is the height of achievement. Instead, we need technology that builds off of our innate, human capacities.
Perhaps we need more songlines in our instructional design?
This is also a plea for a more humanistic approach to technology in general.
Schools don’t teach students how to restore their depleted attention with exposure to nature and the outdoors, or how to arrange their study spaces so that they extend intelligent thought.
I'm reminded of Lynne Kelly's use of Indigenous Australian memory techniques which do both of these things at the same time: https://www.lynnekelly.com.au/?p=4794
Valorize motion, not sitting still.
I wonder how much of our genetic programming is based on centuries of evolution with humans moving around their landscapes and attaching their memories to them?
Within Lynne Kelly's thesis about stone circles, henges, etc. most of the locations have roads and entryways into them which require movement much less the idea of dancing and singing attached to memory performance as well.
We have piles of good research from the last few decades into how brains actually work. Or, if not how brains work (much remains mysterious!), what they like and don’t like.
We're also dramatically missing thousands of years of indigenous experience as well.
- indigenous cultures
- memory palaces
- stone circles
- digital humanism
- mnemonic pedagogy
- thinking spaces
- method of loci
- tools for thought
- commonplace books
- instructional design
- May 2021