Notebook Demo Here

Saq has just released the notebook demo . You can download a copy of a course notebook synced to a demonstration Wikispace, and see how it works.

Next step: a page that automatically generates a notebook to go along with your own Wikispace. No, the notebook generator is there already. Here’s the link: Notebook Generator. The only limitation is that it’s set up to generate notebooks that have exactly the format for my pols250 course. That won’t be right for all uses. Saq is going to be working on different templates. That’s what will come later.

Notebook Demo Coming

Lewcid aka Saq Imtiaz of Unamesa is back to blogging, and is announcing the upcoming release of a demo version of the student notebook I’ve talked about in previous posts (here and here). The demo will allow you to create your own notebook-version i.e. personal, annotatable, offline-version of your wikispace. (The same TiddlyWiki -based technology could be adapted to other wikis). Stay tuned!

Concepts Maps in Teaching Political Theory

A couple of years ago I became enamored of concept mapping, and did a lot of work to integrate concept maps into teaching political theory.  I made diagrams of the argument in Book 1 of Plato’s Republic, of Hobbes’s account of the sources of social conflict, of Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, or Rousseau’s Social Contract.  Here’s one that’s intended to capture the structure of Locke’s defense of toleration:

The main elements of Locke's argument for toleration
The main elements of Locke's argument for toleration

I found these maps very illuminating, but some (many?) of my students found them too confusing.  “Couldn’t you simplify it a bit more, into a list of bullets?”  Well, yes… but what fun would that be?  It’s the complexity that’s interesting.  Probably my mistake was to introduce the full complexity up front, instead of giving the students the elements and having them figure out the map (or the alternatve possible maps).  As usual, too top-down, not interactive enough.

I also ran into a technical problem, however, that has deterred me from creating more of these. Continue reading Concepts Maps in Teaching Political Theory