Among my lofty intentions for the new year is amplifying my mind. This will be facilitated by Howard Rheingold. I really enjoyed Howard’s previous course, Toward a Literacy of Cooperation.
Introduction to Mind Amplifiers, is a five week course using asynchronous forums, blogs, wikis, mindmaps, social bookmarks, synchronous audio, video, chat, and Twitter.
Some of the texts we’ll read in the course will be familiar to the readers of the priceless The New Media Reader (MIT), like As We May Think (Vannevar Bush), Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework (Douglas Engelbart) and Man-Computer Symbiosis (J.C.R. Licklider). These texts are incredibly deep and inspiring and could be the subject of whole course (we worked on them during the Digital Awakening Course, which had regular sessions in Second Life).
Howard is a master in inventing words and concepts – he is credited with inventing the notion of ‘virtual community’. In this course we’ll work on yet another of his ideas, infotention:
Infotention is a word I came up with to describe the psycho-social-techno skill/tools we all need to find our way online today, a mind-machine combination of brain-powered attention skills with computer-powered information filters. The inside and outside of infotention work best together: Honing the mental ability to deploy the form of attention appropriate for each moment is an essential internal skill for people who want to find, direct, and manage streams of relevant information by using online media knowledgeably. Knowing how to put together intelligence dashboards, news radars, and information filters from online tools like persistent search and RSS is the external technical component of information literacy.
As I learned during the previous course, Howard expects his students to be very active. This culminates in the final session(s) which are prepared and organized by the participants. In this course we’re also supposed to apply what we learn by developing an attentional-informational strategy, organizing an information dashboard etc. It’s my intention to do this focusing on the themes developed in the book Race Against the Machine (Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee).
I’ll report here, on MixedRealities, about my experiences during this new course.