AWMT nuggets and noticings

As We May Think Word Cloud

I am quite certain that I am not the first person to push the text of As We May Think through a word cloud maker (in this case Wordle). I am dashing off what will be a quick post on nuggets and noticings about the essay before a stretch where I will not be able to connect to #thoughtvectors except via Twitter. In fact, boxes are sitting here in my office waiting to be filled in anticipation of a relocation from temporary space. I am procrastinating in here instead.

So, back to the word cloud. I know using them is a bit tired, but I am still curious to see what happens when texts are examined this way to look for patterns. I’ve read this essay a number of times now. I still marvel at how prescient Bush was all those years back. It was such fun to watch this shared yesterday by Christina Engelbart (How cool is it that she is participating with us, and how did I miss this until now??)

Of course, capturing associative trails that Bush describes is an important noticing from the essay. I like to read between the lines a bit. I sense a yearning on the part of Bush to make sense of the death and destruction ‘science’ had just made possible by creating tools of war efficiency. He dreams of putting them (minds) to better use. There is a glimpse of his essential humanity in there/that. I believe he was searching to rejoin the soul with the work of science. (Parker Palmer talks about living undivided:

So what does this have to do with inquiry and learning and thinking and such?
Everything, imho. His thinking was absolutely colored by his (very) human need to find new meaning for what had just happened by suggesting ways to put minds to use in different directions.

I wish I had more time.
My intent for this part was a (digital) blackout poem of the essay. Maybe later.

For a while, I’ll see you all around Twitter!

Oh, another observation about the rhythm and ‘flavor’ of the course so far: I am struck by the personal in all of it. The personal connections of the ‘official’ faculty in the bits and pieces they are creating and sharing. The personal connections in the writings and postings and sharing in Twitter and blogs. The personal connections forming between and amongst participants. I believe (firmly) that when FACULTY/TEACHERS take this much personal interest in what they are doing – their relationships with the ‘content’ (for lack of a better work), with learners and each other – the result is magnificent learning. How can it not be? If you want students to engage and learn…be yourself and share yourself. #thoughtvectors faculty and leaders are showing us how. I am saying this as a perpetual MOOC dropout. This time I think I’ll stick around.

 

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10 comments

  1. The thing that immediately jumps out at me from the Wordle is “one record.” More associative trails, more connections, more connectivity weaves recorded knowledge into one web, one record. One record of the sum of human knowledge that we carry with us in our pockets. How does that change the way we think? Or the way we will need to think in the years to come? The way the cloud juxtaposes words can inspire many other thoughts as well, thoughts that can relate back to the article, or connect it to our present situation. Sure its been done before, but there are always new things we can pull out of it.

  2. Paul, Thank you for commenting! One record indeed. We recently asked a group of faculty here to turn their syllabi into word clouds. Some were struck by interesting patterns that emerged revealing unintended messages. For instance, the frequent appearance of the word ‘must’ invited a re-examination of the tone of the language in the syllabus. There are others, I won’t go on. But, quite right that new thoughts and new thinking emerge each and every time I read awmt.

  3. I’m also intrigued that “photograph” and “picture” are prominent.

    I’m wary of using Wordle as well, I’ve lost track of a brilliant essay that criticizes the over simplification of Wordle; Tom has been doing some experiments with some other text analysis tools (we expect a blog post tonight).

    But excited that you have a good vibe in thoughtvectors so far; the only other MOOCish class I have stayed in had a number in it.

  4. Cindy Jennings, you inspire me. This post taps into something so deep within me, and I believe within the dreams that we’re trying to live in this course, that I fall silent in wonder at what these networks, and the people who weave the tapestry within them, can be. The last words I ever heard Doug Engelbart say in public come back to me:

    “It’s been so many years … and I still have dreams about how the world could be … anyway, I appreciate this very much, so thank you, thank you.”

    Those are the dreams we need. I salute you, Cindy Jennings, fellow dreamer, colleague, friend.

  5. Hi there, and thanks for stopping by to comment!
    I look forward to what Tom shares. Oversimplification is a danger of course, but if new insights emerge (as with our experience with faculty word-clouding their syllabi) …then okay as a starting point I think.
    Good vibes indeed! You guys rock. All I can say.

  6. Gardner, I am humbled by your comment. Thank you. I am so grateful for this experience at this particular point in time. And, I am learning that I CAN carve time to write (even quickly) to capture vapors of thoughts just in time – and thanks to you I am (somewhat) freed of my past performance anxiety about the writing and trying to make it perfect…recalling who this is for! :-)

  7. Well, hello there cindylouwho (who, who, who, who).

    It was fun to watch that magic desk that Vancouver Bush made pictures of. I think that sometimes there would have to be little people or weasels inside the desk to make all that stuff happen. Like they used to show on The Flintstones, how it was a mouse running on a treadmill and it would talk about how miserable it’s life was in there.

    Before I had my PsychicSiri app, I remember when Apple made a video of their own version of one in 1987 that was smaller than a desk but bigger than a Newton. They called it Knowledge Navigator and in it the professor guy was getting other guest speakers to link into his lectures just like people do today when they need to fill the hour up. But it was another vision of making connections and links.

    This #thoughtvectors sure is fun, though. I need to make some kind of map that has all of my associated trails on it so I can see where I have been, and what the shape of the land is when I walk on it. Maybe a PsychicGPSRunmeter App is what I need.

    Well, bye!

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