Nugget 3: Augmenting Human Intellect (EDITED with links)

“My mind develops conscious sets of concepts, or recognizes and selects them from what it perceives in the work of others, and it directs the organization of an external symbol structure in which can be held and portrayed to the mind those concepts I cannot (reliably) remember or whose manipulations I cannot visualize. The price I pay for this augmentation shows up in the time and energy involved in manipulating artifacts to manipulate symbols to give me this artificial memory and visualization of concepts and their manipulation.” (Part III, Section 3b).

First off, I had the hardest time paying attention while reading Engelbart’s document; combination of the text not being broken up well on the web page, I got a late start on it, and the language was difficult to understand. However, I did recognize while reading this that this is what we’re supposed to be doing and getting out of this UNIV class. It’s a bit overwhelming since the process of research and organizing it was so broken down and maybe over-explained, but here we go anyways.

The excerpt I chose talks about understanding information and essentially taking notes that help us understand that information in our own “language”. I think many of us do this already in our notes for classes. If we don’t understand something verbally, it might be easier to write down. If we still can’t understand it in written form we can draw diagrams that explain a concept in a more visual manner, like what I constantly do in my sketchbook:
Nugget 3 sketch
This is an explanation filing and sanding tools used in my metals class, just used this as an example)

I’ve been keeping sketchbooks around my person constantly ever since maybe 4th grade, and in high school I converted to using smaller sketchbooks that easily fit into my backpacks just to cut out on some of the bulk. In using these smaller sketchbooks (roughly 6×8″) I’ve found that take a lot more notes and lists than I have before, and I think that’s because I like keeping everything in one place. There’s no real organization between pages other than the dates I write on every page, but I have an easy time memorizing where things are written down. And these lists are from anything to music I want to listen to later, things to pack for trips, notes from classes and advising meetings, things to get at the store, blah blah blah.
However, before I get carried away, Engelbart does say that understanding information through taking notes takes up a lot of extra time and energy. This is where technology comes into play, and I would like to use Pinterest as an example of note-taking.

The Pinterest board I made is here and like my sketchbook page it’s about filing and sanding down metals for jewelry making. Okay, so Pinterest can’t take notes, but it’s a different way of adding extra content to notes that helps explain things. I’ve advertised this site before for its great use of pictures that also link to the original content from different sites. You can also link videos (which I’ve also included in my board) that show demonstrations in case diagrams aren’t enough.


In Sara Majeed’s post the emphasis is on humans taking smaller steps to reach great heights, ” We didn’t go from the telegraph straight to the smartphone. It takes time and it takes a learning process to go from good to better to best.” I believe taking the time to fully digest information necessary to learn and move forward is one of those steps, which is why note-taking would be important if not necessary. She chose to use video games and their levels as an example, and I think a great thought to have after reading her post is that sometimes the steps towards your goal are better than the goal itself (since videos games are nothing but getting towards your main goal).

Speaking of taking steps, this blog talks about the evolution of products and thought. Sketchbooks and notebooks are both products of our thought evolution, and the products themselves have evolved as well; customizing notebooks with ruled paper and making sketchbooks smaller for easier carrying. Now they’ve both gone digital with programs like Microsoft Word and tablets, but they still serve the same function of helping ideas to evolve (along with other things).

Mcandersonaj  compared Engelbart’s article to the ones we read previously. Unlike Licklider, Engelbart summarizes that we should train ourselves to think like our computers instead of programming our computers to think like us; and I think this idea is present in a discussion on paper notebooks vs. computer note-taking. We can easily manipulate paper to do what we need to do, and frankly we don’t ask much of it. We write on paper with ink, and all the paper has to do is keep that ink. Notes on a computer need to be saved else it’ll be as if they were never taken. The disconnect between our language and a computers’ also means the computer doesn’t always understand what we’re asking it to do (which leads to episodes of frustration and monitor abuse).

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