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There is a lot of concern at the moment about students writing with AI.

I’d like to show you an approach where you can see the student’s thinking, simply by letting the students define what they’re writing–when they are writing–and redefine as they are thinking. This is something which can benefit all authors but the benefit for students is especially clear.


the process

I’ll write a basic sentence: “The musical Hamilton is playing in the West End”, then my name, ‘Frode Hegland’.

I then decide to define ‘Hamilton’ in order to see how it connects with the other concepts I am working with.

I select ‘Hamilton’, ctrl-click and choose ‘Define Concept’ (or cmd-D):

I write my definition of what Hamilton is in my mind and click ‘OK’.

After this I define my own name in exactly the same way, writing that “I am a fan of Hamilton”.

The word ‘Hamilton’ changes to bold, showing that it’s already connected to this concept. If I click on it, I go to the definition of ‘Hamilton’.


the mapped view

I now toggle to the Map view in Author by clicking ‘Write/Map’ at the bottom of the screen (or cmd-M).

Here I can see that both concepts are automatically on the screen:

When I click on ‘Frode Hegland’ to select it, a line appears to ‘Hamilton’:

When I point to that line I can see what made the line appear, it was the sentence that ‘Frode Hegland’ ‘is a fan of Hamilton.’

When I click on ‘Hamilton’ only a light grey line connects to my name, because there is nothing in the definition of ‘Hamilton’ that mentions my name, this grey line is just an indication that something else connects to it.

This is of course a very simple example.


the more complex view

If we go to a series of concepts as complex as below and all the connections are visible, it’s all a bit of an incomprehensible mess:

The way we deal with this in our macOS writing tool ‘Author’ (as you saw above) is that you select what you’re interested in and only then do connecting lines appear:


the result

This allows the user–student or otherwise–to define as they write and then to re-define as they think, when they can see how the concepts connect.

It also allows a teacher to follow the paths of their thoughts, in a glossary on export, or in the Map itself.

This is something that you wouldn’t get from just outsourcing your writing to another system. This is the difference between writing with Artificial Intelligence, AI, or IA, Intelligence Augmentation, in the spirit of Doug Engelbart.


the aim

The aim is to lay bare the author’s thinking–how they see the world–for reflection and deeper understanding, perhaps even to help them change their mind by changing their perspective.


VR & AI for IA

The further aim of our work is to further increase this capability, through improving the user interaction and through moving into new opportunities for interaction, including user virtual (VR/AR/XR) environments and AI to provide novel views & insights.

A specific function to ‘Ask AI’ has been added to Reader to learn more about the opportunity for AI to support IA.


the software

You can try Author for yourself (on macOS). Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.