Teachers are scrambling to find ways to deal with ChatGPT, and I believe that I may have a solution. “WisdomMaps” are not “maps” in the usual sense, but a new generation of “mind maps”, invented in the Near East 2,000 years ago and popularized more recently by Leonardo da Vinci as a way to unify knowledge. For when information is inter-related and knowledge is unified, it creates meaning. The maps unfold in a multimedia presentation of text, pictures, videos, websites, and more that shows how information fits together to create meaning. WisdomMaps work by emulating the thought processes of the human mind, and because of their non-linear design, they go where linear thinking, and ChatGPT, cannot.
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In the Mind’s Eye
My department chair asked if I had ever heard of “mind maps.” Curious, I looked up some examples. The more I looked, the more it showed that this is a remarkable way to connect and unify information. As a history teacher, this further struck me as a way to bring my craft into the 21st century (where even history deserves a place).
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It’s All About the Optics
We are all becoming visual learners, thanks to our fire-hosing ourselves with multimedia on our phones and every other medium we’re absorbed in. The Economist says we’re contending with five times the volume of information that we did in 1983. Maybe it’s forced a re-wiring of our brains to adapt to this inundation, and we’ve streamlined the intake by preferring images and video over text. It’s a lot easier, a lot more efficient (each picture being worth the customary thousand words) and maybe it makes sense. I remember a study from several years ago that said that people learned several times as much from 15 minutes spent watching a video (about whatever it was) as they did spending the same 15 minutes reading about it.
I think that images are more important to learning than most of us realize. Try to think of something (anything)… without there being a mental image attached to it. You can’t do it. There has to be a mental image in order for a topic of thought to be generated, and for that topic to be recallable. (If it cannot be recalled, it is forgotten.) In order to generate and retain learning, there has to be images.
Continue reading “It’s All About the Optics”