How Does It Feel When I Think in Hyperlinks?

Self-portrait Reflection: How Does It Feel When I Think in Hyperlinks? My first response to this question is that I am a divergent thinker.  This is one instance where I feel Wikipedia offers an apt description of my typical thought process in their Thinking Portal: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portal:Thinking

  • Divergent thinking is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. It typically occurs in a spontaneous, free-flowing manner, such that many ideas are generated in an emergent cognitive fashion. Many possible solutions are explored in a short amount of time, and unexpected connections are drawn.
  • After the process of divergent thinking has been completed, ideas and information are organized and structured using convergent thinking, which follows a particular set of logical steps to arrive at one solution, which in some cases is a “correct” solution.
  • Divergent thinking is found among people with personality traits such as curiosity, willingness to take risks, and persistence.  Activities which promote divergent thinking include creating lists of questions, setting aside time for thinking and meditation, brainstorming, subject mapping / “bubble mapping”, keeping a journal, creating artwork, and free writing.

 

My daily routine is to journal one page on a select topic and write non-stop about it for a short period of time, in a stream of consciousness fashion.  I learned this technique last year from Beck Tench as a member of ILEAD USA Team OASIS Outreach Activities Streaming Innovative Services (Beyond the Reference Desk).   I have resisted the urge to fill more than one page but limit my daily hand-writing to the whitespace provided.  After I feel that substantive facets are covered, I mark-up the writing to highlight key points, group details, explore connections, and note questions that I plan to research further.  My strategy is to get it down, then get it right by re-writing the topic in full sentences organized in chunks of related content.  Beck T is the creator of Experimonth, a platform that engages the public in daily challenges that foster science as a way of knowing while at the same time collecting data for researchers to play with outside the rigor of their labs. Currently, she is developing four Experimonths about social science in partnership with the Exploratorium in San Francisco through a NSF-funded project called “Science of Sharing.”  I like the idea of Experimonth as an online learning platform to develop digital literacy and social media skills personalized for a community of practice.  My thought for Goal #I is to create a Brainstorm Calendar of Daily Writing Prompts that engage online learners with best practices for sharing media.

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Another daily routine I set aside time is checking a wide range of social media sources and RSS feeds.  Beyond sharing links (Twitter), bookmarking (Diigo), downloading documents to read later (Google Drive), and pinning visual content (Pinterest), I check if the sources are credible and add individuals to my professional learning network.  If originators are off-topic, unprofessional, or strictly selling something, I block followers.  I would describe this thought process as information literacy and thinking in hyperlinks, organized by folders, tagged, and annotated to increase their usefulness to my inquiry process.  I am very interested in the question of how to establish and increase one’s social presence on the web.  Although I am aware of the limitations of algorithms, I follow social impact analytic tools such as Klout Scores.    My first thought about Vector Spaces is that I have sufficient skills to get started: WordPress, Twitter, Google+, Diigo.  But I am intrigued by how the learning platform is integrated to optimize online discovery.  One over-riding thought that I am ever-mindful is opportunity costs associated with how much time is spent following and responding to various threads.  Because the possibilities are endless, I hope to discover critical clusters of credible content and lessen the feeling of being overwhelmed or missing something essential.  This is where my professional learning community may help save time researching, reflecting, writing, and reviewing.  Thinking out loud in threes, I consider 1. fan-base (audience), 2. format, and 3. function as facets of inquiry and argumentation.   My thought for Goal #2 is to develop a systematic method to manage the push and pull of #ThoughtVector dynamic conversation threads while linking, tagging, and annotating relevant media for future use.

I am curious about the role of content curation as defined by Beth Kantor http://www.bethkanter.org/content-curation-101/ Image

I would love to blog about the content curation process as I discover benchmarks and best practices for separate disciplines.  An EContent magazine article defines content curation as the act of discovering, gathering, and presenting digital content that surrounds specific subject matter and is viewed as essential for developing a successful online presence.  A content curator is not necessarily responsible for creating new content, but instead, for “finding relevant content pertaining to a specific category and funneling this information to readers in a mash-up style.”  I have adapted the content curator role to a Pathfinder Final Project in the online courses I teach to Library Technical Assistant Students rather than assign a term paper.  A Pathfinder is a document that takes the reader through the process of finding the best information on a topic, including multimedia. It guides an interested researcher to sources and search terms to find information on a subject.  I feel the Pathfinder demonstrates students’ ability to evaluate material from a wide variety of types of resources using readings, journal entries, discussion threads, and wiki articles to help them reflect on the importance of each resource.  Students are asked to think about the tools and strategies that were required to learn from them and write a final reflection about their own research process.  My thought for Goal #3 is to blog about the similarities and differences between the content curation process while mapping various subject disciplines in a “mash-up style”.  I think a really interesting question is the availability, accessibility, and adoption rate for open educational resources.  I feel my Google Drive is overloaded and I had way too many profiles/passwords to change when Heartbleed struck.  It is a good time for me to do some weeding and feeding engaged in convergent thinking to simplify my personal digital collections and social learning network.

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