Sequential thinking coming to an end

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From beans to coffee response to reading Alan Dix’s blog: the power of sequential thinking | Alan Dix, and especially the following citation: “Computers are sequential” he said, “brains are associative”.

There is a common misconception about computers in that they are akin to machines. In a way this is not completely a misconception. Most people, not in the least software engineers, employ the sequential thinking mode in dealing with computers. This is the cause of much grief. But computers, and especially the essence of this invention, are anything but sequential. I would argue that the invention of the modern computer coincides with the end of the era of sequential thought. In fact this move to another thinking mode is one we should endeavor to utilise in order to move the area of computer science further. Thinking In another article I was struck by a discussion about “gifted” children. Increasingly children who are perceived as highly intelligent fail to do well on our schools: To teachers they often appear to be bright children who could do better if only they would concentrate more, focus more, not be so destructible and try harder. (Visual Thinking) Parents and others jump on this as a sign that their children are somehow “different” and of course they favour the opinion that their children are “super intelligent”.

I beg to differ. I think it is important we start to recognise the problem as quite different, namely that these children are an example of a move from sequential thinking to non-sequential thinking. There may be a difference in intelligence, and it may very well be that more-than-average intelligent children are moving into this non-sequential thinking mode earlier, but the solution is not to create another elitist solution but to recognise that we are, as a society, making a fundamental move to different modes of thinking, or indeed, different modes of intelligence. The old ways to assess intelligence with people have always irritated me. IQ testing was so entwined within cultural biases as to be almost unusable outside these cultural boundaries. But the problem is quite acute with our educational institutions because there seems to be a growing discontent both with teachers and pupils, and not enough help or guidelines to make the move to a different schooling system.

Our current educational system is problematic. The end of an era that started with the period of the Enlightenment requires a fundamental change, and at least better understanding of the cause of this change.

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