Sunday, June 15, 2014

Tools to think with

For mature thought there is no mechanical substitute. But creative thought and essentially repetitive thought are very different things. For the latter there are, and may be, powerful mechanical aids. Vannevar Bush, As We May Think

By Saturday, June 14, only after 4 days after the class officially started, 642 blog posts were published on, a total of 1165 vectors launched into the concept space including the tweets. Gardner Campbell defines thought vectors as "the lines of inquiry, wonder, puzzlement, and creative desire emerging from individual minds" [Link coming soon]. Each vector thus is a thought, waiting to be discovered by others and continue its journey in a different direction and form. 

I feel like 75% of what I'll be doing is to follow these vectors and rediscover what is already known by the community. The remaining 25%, or maybe less, is left to how I make sense of that using my creativity, research skills, and knowledge base (those aha moments).

But as Roy Pea says, "mind rarely works alone" (he probably wanted to say never, but that's a bad word in social sciences). I don't operate in isolation: I think in relation to my environment. I think with @GoogleGuacamole, with Gardner Writes, with cogdog (hence my associative trail), and all the learners in the environment. I think with the learning space and the tools available to me. How I feel about my environment and the nature of my interactions with other people will no doubt shape the way I go about my research and my findings. 

Perhaps creative or, let's say, independent thought cannot be reproduced by machines (although bottom-up approaches to artificial intelligence may prove just the opposite), but we certainly use our surroundings as aids/objects to think with. In a networked field I am a networked researcher (to be), and I use many online tools as powerful thinking aids:

- Dropbox to organize all the bits and pieces that go into this research, all the text files and folders
- Storify to pull stories from Twitter 
- Pinterest to bookmark websites and media and to create instructor profiles (the last one is just a thought for now)
- Mendeley to save related journal articles 
- NetFiles to create URLs for my image files 
- Blogger for reflections and sharing my research with others 
- Vimeo to record screen captures and brief reflections 
- to create concept maps (this might change)
- Gmail to archive e-mail communications

So..onto data collection! (a continuous cycle of copy and paste, drag and drop, bookmarking, recording, saving, typing typing typing...) 

Can you think of any other tools I can use for this research? Please leave a comment and let me know!

No comments:

Post a Comment