Under the Merkle Trees

Insights on the Relentless Pursuit of Patterns in the World Around Me

Multidimensional Intelligence Arrays

I've recently begun some new research into education and learning. Somewhere near the core of my theory rests a fascination with how decentralized public ledgers (think Bitcoin blockchain) could intersect with learning and education. As a starting point I decided to dig into what some of the most amazing minds are saying on the topics of learning and education. Shortly thereafter I discovered this gem.

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2011/04/11/7-must-read-books-on-education/

The first one I was able to get my hands on (used from the Boulder Book store :) was Sir Ken Robinson’s, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. The idea that it could end up being a feeble self-help book was easily defeated by Robinson's impressive TED Talk history.

I was hoping to finish the book, allowing the ideas to digest before posting but I simply could not get past page 43. I tried, I really did. It was out of my control. I had to stop and play with these idea before my imagination would allow me to proceed.

After a well-researched and through discussion on the flaws of IQ tests as an accurate gauge of intelligence Robinson began an elegant shift into solutions. Classy move, Robinson. Well played indeed.

Harvard Psychologist Howard Gardner has argued to wide acclaim that we have not one but multiple intelligences. They include linguistic, musical, mathematical, spatial, kinesthetic, interpersonal (relationships with others), and intra-personal (knowledge and understanding of the self) intelligence. He argues that these types of intelligence are more of less independent of each other and, and none is more important, though some might be "dominant" while others are "dormant". He says that education should treat them equally so that all children receive opportunities to develop their individual abilities.

Now do you see where this is going? I could not escape the idea of looking at Gardner’s theory from the perspective of a multidimensional Python array. It was seriously consuming me.

# Build base intelligence array

linguistic = [languagesspoken,frequencyofuse,X,Y,Z]
musical = [instruments
played,generesenjoyed,X,Y,Z]
mathematical = [patterns
are_fun?,X,Y,Z]
spatial = [X,Y,Z]
kinesthetic = [X,Y,Z]
interpersonal =[X,Y,Z]
intra-personal =[X,Y,Z]

# populate the array

gardner_intellignece_array =
[linguistic,musical,mathmatical,kinesthetic,spatial,interpersonal,intra-personal]

Neat, huh? Now, what we really want to do is put some time and thought into what X, Y and Z represent. First of all they absolutely need to be useful. I realize that is an open statement but please stay with me. We want to move away from the idea of using only linear measurements. languges_spoken could be okay, but the premise as described by Robinson is that linear measurements are not useful. For our initial premise let’s say that linear measurements are okay as long as they are balanced with by abstract measurements as well. These will be more difficult to capture but I'm sure that we can do it. Almost ready for page 44 ;)

Clearly, this is a new idea and will need some additional thought but from here we will move into what could be done with a well thought out gardner_intelligence_array[] (maybe g_i_a[] works better?)

Let's speculate on what @HansRosling might have to say on the matter.

"Having the data in not enough"<--Click Me

Thank you, Hans. I completely agree! After we build out a host of g_i_a[]'s we find some really great ways to display the data and provide a visual representation of intelligence that would allow us to do some really great things. Perhaps reconsider the way that we look at each other? At its core, it would ideally help us better understand how we can move away from stagnant techniques like the SAT's and IQ tests while at the same time help us better understand where we should be moving.

As a final note, in case you are wondering, I do realize that we are technically playing with Lists and not multidimensional arrays above. It just sounds so much cooler ;)

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About the author

Zachary Wolff

http://zacharywolff.com