The Weekly Whacky #1
As I said previously I will post “somewhat related” ideas, or thinking with no other reason just to dump and record and maybe to trigger further discussions. Warning! Half baked and highly suspicious things ahead! Also, most of these are triggered by reading things from usually way smarter people than me - and so always try to not get lost in attribution decay
Making connections between text and synthesis seems to be common core activity what is expected from students (from previous Arcadia project reports). But the connection is almost always flattened to a list of books/publications, without much immediate insight into how they affected a particular piece of writing. So creating something which allows connecting, then naming/adding meaning to the connections might not only give info on what is read, but it would also cluster/group texts in a meaningful way. Imagine visualising the connections between books and the resulting synthesis, with the added benefit of information about the nature of those connections.
Knowledge on demand:
Maybe easier access to digital materials, and or knowledge in general transforms the way we think about knowledge as a whole. Maybe knowledge in our head is made up of exchangeable blocks which are retrieved and downloaded in the brain as and when needed. Synthesis is made around a topic from a certain constellation of these on-demand knowledge blocks, like cutting a slice of a cake which has constantly moving icing and jams in the middle?
Making your mark on digital documents:
Electronic resources can not be transformed - ie can’t put a visible bookmark, change shape of a page, or bend it. Even simple annotation is not straightforward in most cases. I mean this is fairly straightforward, but perhaps having it spelt out like this highlights that one of the reasons of students preference to read on paper is that they can transform/make their mark on a physical copy easily.
Competition around key books in the library:
Can the problems around not having enough borrowable copies of key books be solved with some kind of self organised or automatic scheduling between the students outside of the university ecosystem? Something which slices up the book borrowing time for a shorter period? Or within a system like this identifying supply and demand on the short term? Is that happening in real life anyway? I would assume that a group of students with similar interests or essay titles would do this since it saves time, right?
Silence please! …or not?
Based on my understanding of previous Arcadia project data, students perceive the library as a connection hub, which gives opportunity to break the isolation of writing and offers the opportunity to meet other people in the field. But wait, historically you have to be quiet in the library? So maybe next to “Silence please” room there should be a room with “Chit chat please” in the library (or a hackerspace)?
Or we can roll this further: Construct people magnets based on topics of interest. Have meeting points in the library where people put out the topic they are discussing onto a big display so that others can see it from a distance. Ability to remotely listen to/record the conversations from home, or make notes and print off notes. Physically in my head these would be similar pods like the ones in the Porsche museum in Stuttgart, where they demonstra sounds, but with bigger dsiplay on the top for other people to see what people are talking about and comfy chairs to sit down.