Walk-in Taxonomies

Rex Heer at Iowa State University has been playing with building three dimensional models in Second Life. He’s currently working on two of them: a version of Bloom’s Taxonomy of educational objectives, which as you can see from the first snapshot below, is pretty much a matrix taxonomy. There’s little to be gained from the 3D representation that couldn’t be gained from a 2D matrix, except that the idea of hierarchy is communicated in the escalating height of the steps as we move towards metacognitive functions. However, the “at a glance” benefits of the matrix are somewhat lost as you try to position yourself to get the best vantage point. So an interesting experiment, but I’m not sure it works.

Somewhat more promising is Rex’s interpretation of Wenger’s theory of communities of practice (second snapshot) which functions most interestingly as a “walk-through” model. I can see this idea working well for more complex frameworks than tree taxonomies and matrices, especially progressive ones, where you can add artefacts and content to the various domains. This experiment is extremely interesting, and provides a very suggestive echo of the memory palace of antiquity, one of modern taxonomy’s almost-forgotten ur-forms.



Many thanks to Nicole Cargill-Kipar for this link.

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