What are "thinking tools"? Thinking tools are mental levers --- metaphorical devices to help us organize our thoughts, document our discoveries, and extend our abilities to wrestle with and solve complex problems. The ultimate goal of work on thinking tools is to improve the quality of our cognition --- including depth, breadth, and timeliness.
A thinking tool need not be computer-based. Sir Karl Popper quotes Albert Einstein, "My pencil is smarter than I am!". Popper suggests this means that, with a pencil as a tool, one can be more than twice as effective in grappling with tough problems. But perhaps the pencil is only an interface to deeper thinking tools: language (both "natural" and mathematical), visual media for arraying and displaying information in space, and a persistent storage to bind concepts over time. Encouraging the better understanding and use of such fundamental tools falls within the scope of the thinking tools theme.
Tuesday, April 06, 1999 at 17:59:02 (EDT) = Datetag19990406