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Amid experts and augmented novices

Today marks my 12th Twitter anniversary. Actually, twelve years ago, I simply signed in and remained silent for a while. Then I surfed and read about twitter to collect my thoughts on it, which resulted on a post called This Twittering Life. A post I remember enjoying the process of writing and the aftermath in its comments. The friendly, long lasting connections made with valuable people have stayed alive over a decade now.

So I go back in blogging time tunnel machine and reread my 2007 self in a relaxed, guilty-less procrastination mode. Actually a retrospective FOMO pang tells me I must drain time in there. I stumble upon a quote with the powerful voice of Kathy Sierra. Her blog is up and intact since then -lucky us. I click on a random 2006 entry and I come across a compelling quote which I sense (for lack of a better description of that kind of certainty) might augment my neurons on the Doug Engelbart report I am about to reread and annotate.

Here is Kathy's insight:

"Flow means we need a certain amount of time to load our knowledge and skills into our brain RAM. And the more big or small interruptions we have, the less likely we are to ever get there.
And not only are we stopping ourselves from ever getting in flow, we're stopping ourselves from ever getting really good at something. From becoming experts. The brain scientists now tell us that becoming an expert is not a matter of being a prodigy, it's a matter of being able to focus."

If you guess that in my procrastication mode I deliberately clicked on 'focus', you get me. Yes, I did. Only to find a broken link!! Please someone tell the Scientific American there is a beauty in keeping an original url...

Agrr. It seemed to be THE link on the whole Internet I needed to get out of annotator's block syndrome! Nevermind. It is possible to bring it back through The Wayback machine here.

The Expert Mind by Philip E. Ross, written in 2006 (download) is a fascinating read. Ross gives that instant knowledge type -I could not pin upon-  a name:

"...much of the chess master's advantage over the novice derives from the first few seconds of thought. This rapid, knowledge-guided perception, sometimes called apperception, can be seen in experts in other fields as well."

A quick consultation with Google defines apperception as "the mental process by which a person makes sense of an idea by assimilating it to the body of ideas he or she already possesses." In addition, the Wikipedia apperception article breaks down the use into different fields:

-The term originated with René Descartes and Leibniz "used the word practically in the sense of the modern attention, by which an object is apprehended as "not-self" and yet in relation to the self."

-"In psychology, apperception is "the process by which new experience is assimilated to and transformed by the residuum of past experience of an individual to form a new whole. In short, it is to perceive new experience in relation to past experience."

-"The whole intelligent life of man is, consciously or unconsciously, a process of apperception, in as much as every act of attention involves the appercipient process."

At this point all this attention and apperception process reading resonates with the act of annotating as inspired in the thoughtvectors site by Alan Levine.

Alan says,
"Note a connection with other parts of the document, or with your world, or with the world in general, then or now."

That is the augmented road to follow amid experts and novices.

Alan adds,
"Don't feel you have to know everything before you can say anything. Sometimes novices notice things that are less visible to experts."

...which takes me back to Ross' article:
"experts-in-training keep the lid of their mind box's open all the time, so that they can inspect, criticize and augment its contents and thereby approach the standards set by leaders in their fields."

We cannot read it all and yet, our last century learning-studying habits still demand we do so before we bring our minds to conclude something. So this augmented learning approach Ross described is all about the challenge ahead. The past text, amid a community of novices and experts around the globe now looking on Doug Engelbart's findings.

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