TWO MODES OF ACTION: Designing/Constructing vs Posting/Commenting – The FUTURE of Larry/nuet : Humankind/Gaia – PART 1

There are few certainties (if we ignore the laws of physics); but one forecast is 100% accurate: Larry has a short time remaining to contribute to influencing the future of Humankind/Gaia. Nuet, as an active process hosted in Larry’s mind/brain will also no longer be available.  Only LJV, my label for the traces of semiotic structures (semfield) related to or composed by Larry/nuet and “posted” somewhere will remain for awhile.

  •     The cWrld of nuet could be partly reconstructed from its semfield. To date, Larry hasn’t been successful in organizing and preparing this semfield for use by others, and even for his own continuing productivity.
  •     This series of postings have the intention of motivating activity to ensure optimal access to and use of nuet (while alive) and after.

I (Larry/nuet) needs to shift my activity to Designing/Constructing Scaffolding, and less composing/posting sems. Many others need to also make this shift, in collaboration. [Scaffolding vs Scaffolds?]

  •     Google, Facebook, email, Cyberspace itself, and most apps are scaffolding – in the sense I use the term. Although composed of “programs”, scaffolding are not programs to deterministically direct the actions of users. Quality scaffolding seafs the creative flow of persons and teams in OLLO, seafs the Design/Construction of new scaffolding, and seafs the improvement of systems of existing scaffolding.
    •         SEAF = Support, Enable, Augment, Facilitate
    •         OLLO = Organizing-for-Learning=&=Learning-for-Organizing
  •     Nuet envisions this interactive cycling of scaffold-making with OLLO-within-scaffolding as meta-scaffolding for the creative emergence of HUMANITY from Humankind.
  •     UPLIFT and BUS are experimental draft proposals to jump start this process.

I desperately need nu scaffolding to seaf my own work. I have been remiss avoiding this personal responsibility.

  •     Like almost everyone else, I have slipped into routines of composing/posting/commenting sems in existing scaffolding. I continually violated my own edict to attend to SSS [viable Seeds/ fertile Soils/ nurturing Scaffolding]. Soils are scaffolding and cannot be composed/posted, but require designing/constructing. And, of course nurturing-Scaffolding is scaffolding.

I designed/constructed scaffolding in the past, but have not done so for many years – probably decades. Most of these scaffolds were for others and myself interacting.  I never followed through on creating scaffolding to seaf my own productivity, and have suffered from this lack.

Creating scaffolding for others (before I was aware of the term).

In the early 1980s, I labored for almost a year to create PiCNiC (Pima Computer Networking Collage) using the very first IBM PC and the $800 app, MIST+ (Microprocessor Information Support Tools – a version of EIES’s landmark groupware created by P+T Johnson-Lenz for the new DOS). I even attempted to add hypertext and file import/access using a button (in DOS, ENTER on <path,filename> brought the designated file to the screen). This innovative program was created by Neil Larson before the WWW. The file could come from your own hard drive or over a phone modem from a distant computer. The string on the screen to “click” (before the mouse) was the same as later appeared in the first version of the WWW.

  •             PiCNiC enabled email, online forums & seminars, libraries of docs, and a help system. This was before the WWW and was operated from my PC in my Pima College Office over a dedicated phone line.  Unfortunately, PiCNiC was a “seed” (even if intended as scaffolding) and I couldn’t motivate others to use it.  At the time the PC was being opposed by the Computer Science Department of the college. I then devoted considerable time attempting to create an online instruction system. I discovered that this was beyond my competency level and innovations in computers/cyberspace was leaving my technology behind.
  •             I learned from this venture not to create something for others to use without their feedback and some participation.  I have never been able to motivate or organize a team to create scaffolding for themselves and others. Many have commented to me that I was too far ahead of the innovators. I explored the future potential uses that would emerge from the new technology after it satisfied immediate needs, which still appears to be the case. I never learned to code, although MIST+ used a “language” sitting above the code.

The other major scaffolding I created evolved over decades. It was scaffolding for students in my 5 sections of Intro Psychology that I taught each semester at PCC for 23 years. I had a system of apps for my effective and efficient management of the system, with other apps available to individual students to keep track of their progress (they could view their row of my gradebook). I printed an 80+ page manual for the course, free for each student. This served as a navigational map for students to design their own system-of-study distributed over a field of different learning options. “COMPLEXITY IS THE TEXTURE OF REALITY” was claimed on the first page, with the manual offering as a navigational guide through the complexity of the course.

  •             I still have most of the WORD docs for that system, which with modification could be applied to any course with a specific set of learning objectives. My students were extremely diverse in background, competency, and attitude. My program was both individualized and personalized. Individualized in that each student could select from many categories of study objectives that matched their uniqueness. Personalized in that I provided time and attention to all those who requested it. It took me many years to “perfect” this system.
  •             This was not an online course. Students didn’t work online, nor did it support (seaf) their interactivity (something I had hoped to eventually add – I retired in 1997).  There was an in-class component for some sections; other sections were mediated through scheduled extended “office hours” in a learning lab. Most students were very appreciative of my course, which was actually a course for Learning-to-Learn and Learning-to-Survive/Thrive-College – organized around a popular and often required course in Intro Psychology (where they also learned psychology). This system permitted students with individual differences to achieve. They each had to work hard to earn points for their grades – which they determined by the quality and quantity of work performed.  “Earn the points and get an A.” Neither my faculty colleagues nor the college administration took the time to comprehend what I did, even when the 80+ page manual was submitted each semester as my required “syllabus”.
  •             Although I deeply believe we must transcend the “frame of education” (courses, classes, students & teachers, tests, & grades), what I designed/constructed was IMO quite functional given that setting.

An attempt to create a scaffolding for OLLO around my insights (before the terms “UPLIFT” and “scaffolding” were in my active vocabulary) was cut short by the total shutdown of the platform. Omidyar.net was a powerful wiki-like site for the creation of sem-networks that could grow through user participation. O.net was a very innovative scaffold.  I had explored this initially online with David Braden from Golden, CO, and visited him for a week in 2004 to flesh out our collaboration. David and I had some issues to work out, and then our platform was suddenly shut down. I thought I downloaded what work I had done, but can’t find it.  I haven’t been able to open David backup – and then we drifted on.  I still am in contact with David, and we respect each others work. David is an exemplar entrepreneur in quality appropriate technology applications to local food production and bee keeping. David hosts The Living Systems Institute.  .

Creating scaffolding for myself.

  •         When I began using computers/cyberspace in the early 1980s, my folders and files were small enough for me to manage without a specific management system.  At some early stage I digitized most of my “before wordprocessor” docs and created an indexed catalog of docs I intended to make accessible by download.  This was before the WWW. I never followed through with the catalog.
  •         My primary app was GrandView, a quality outliner with a quality wordprocessor embedded (the opposite of what is usually available). I was able to create a PIM (Personal Information Manager) within GrandView where I kept updated a listing of my writings. The Operating Systems evolved and GrandView could no longer be used.  I did transfer my GV files to be accessible on other apps, and even have the GV program and files should I ever want to access them on an antique computer.
  •         I then tried to organize my files using AskSam, an unstructured database. I converted many old files to AskSam. For reasons I have forgotten, I never actually used it to retrieve files and eventually abandoned its use.  I see it is still available, but not sure whether it would be useful for me at this stage.
  •         In 1996 I began using ECCO as my PIM. ECCO, to me, is the top app I have ever encountered that was carefully designed for the user. I have not looked into its developmental history, but it soon (1997) stopped being commercially published. Fortunately, dedicated users have kept ECCO PRO functional, making improvements, and is leased for only $10/year, via a membership with CompuSol. As with all my apps, I never learn about or take advantage of all their features. This holds both for ECCO and the very diverse group in CompuSol.  ECCO also has a quality outliner (no hoisting) that I am returning to use for basic offline composing as my LexisNexus NoteMap outliner has not survived the move to Windows 8.1 .  It isn’t stable in permitting  me to paste in copied text, an essential functionality.
  •         My backup has been sloppy and highly disorganized. I have many duplicate folders and files on a few external hard drives.  I have not fully used cloud BU, not deciding which app to use. I have never effectively created an index system for internal searching of my own files. I have not used tags or keywords. I have saved all emails, ever – but am not sure they are still there.  My BU of ThunderBird needs pruning and archiving. My earlier emails are in Eudora files. I have too many folders and files of Bookmarks on FireFox.  Every once in a while FF will truncate my Bookmarks and I save the old BM file from before truncating and start a new one. For access I need to find and merge my historical files for ECCO, Eudora, Thunderbird, Firefox, and WORD.  For awhile I used Microsoft’s unique app  OneNote, which continues to attract me.  I have posted and commented in Facebook and Google+, but don’t know how to gather and access them.  I also have used QuickDoc (and QuickTopic), a unique app where a long doc composed in WORD can be posted with users having the ability to comment on separate paragraphs and dialog with each other about just those paragraphs.

In all of my apps I have identified useful features, features lacking and features needing improvement.  It often astounds me that other computer users (usually far more competent than I) can’t comprehend the need for the missing functionalities I find lacking. Nor do they notice the loss of some functionality during the “progress” of computer technology. The “glitter of progress” often blinds us against contrasting “what we have” with “what is our potential”. To outline the latter will require another long document.

This is a long enough sem for a blog post.  Part 2 will attend to exploring functional criteria for designing/constructing scaffolding.

Author: nuet

01/24/1935. BS-physics RPI 1956; MS-physics UofChicago 1958; PhD-physics Yale 1965; PhD-Edu Psy Uof MInnesota 1970. Auroral Research Byrd Station, Antarctica 11/1960-02/1962. MINNEMAST curriculum dev 1964-68. Woodstock. faculty Pima Community College, Tucson 1974-1997. Transdisciplinary scientist, philosopher, educator, futurist, activist. PC user since 1982. "Wife". daughter, 2 grandsons. 5 dogs & 7 cats. Lacks mental imagery in all sensory domains.