Saturday, 30 April 2011

Blog 8:

Mind-mapping = digitalizing of thought = reduction of thought to a schemata, a mechanism that wants to replace a *natural hierarchy of ends* with an artificial hierarchy based on the supposed natural absence of order (via the old strategy of "divide et impera").

Mind-mapping presents itself as a strategy to free us from mental confusion, under the assumption that the confusion does not presuppose a prior, underlying order.  If it did, then it would behoove us to clarify the surface of our confused thoughts by way of discovering a *natural end* in the light of which all certain ideas (or, formulas of words) are ordered.

Now, contemporary mind-maps are a faint (and distorted) echo of an ancient kind of map, aka The Tree of Knowledge (an example from Porphyry is pasted above).  In the early-modern age we have the first popularized attempt to replace the ancient and medieval Tree of Knowledge with a "secular" tree understood as universal "system of human cognition," such as the 1751 one by D'Alembert pasted below.

      Today's "tree" is heir to early-modern schemes, although the former abandons the rigidly formulaic character of the latter, exploding it into a network of connections that wants to overtly include existence/life itself--a "web" in which we may transfer our very memory.  The contemporary system does not want to be something merely applied onto our lives from above; it wants to be one with our lives; it wants to come to life; it wants to be our lives.  Its early-modern counterpart wants the same thing, but it wants it covertly (cf. Shelley's Frankenstein).

I used two different web browsers to register onto the Compendium LD site, but in both cases the system did not allow me to sign up.  The following warning shows up on the screen:
Please type in the two words as they appear in the box below. Alternatively, please listen to the audio clip and type in the words that you hear (please enter a space between each word).
However no "two words" appear; nor am I given any audio option.

Blog Thing 8
  1. What do you think of the ideas behind Compendium LD? What was your impression?  Something I had been anticipating: course-outlines reduced to computer software flow-charts.  My earlier thoughts on "trojan horses" apply.  My impression is that the charts are programmed for children with severe learning disabilities.
  2. In what way do you see this being useful to you as a course organiser? If I were teaching children with severe learning disabilities (LAS, autism, etc.) it might come in handy.  Probably, many technology/computer students will find themselves at home with the charts.
  3. Filling out one of your own Compendium LD course visualisations, did you find it illuminating or frustrating? Are there any ways you would change it to better reflect what you do? Frustrating to the extent that the type of courses I would ever teach are aimed at helping students escape the confines of flow-charts, questioning the belief that thought is a labyrinth.  I would change the charts by replacing them altogether with something that does not feed students a "visualization" of the course, but that encourages (poetically) students to think own way to the course objective.  The learning designs on "CompendiumLD" are plainly unpoetic.
  4. How do you compare it with other visualisation tools for curriculum design (e.g. compared to others introduced in this programme such as Course Map, Phoebe ... or others that you already use yourself)? Phoebe came across as more "humane."

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