Pycon Speech Extra


You can first take a look of the site screenshots.

Life is the primary. Learning is only secondary. We don’t need to be locked away from real life for years in order to learn, like what the school does. We only need to do periodical self-reflection on our significant experiences generated from our daily activities. Knowledge Engine is to help people to capture their daily significant experiences and facts (or infos) quickly. So it looks like twitter. (Actually it was inspired by twitter, realizing that snippets of words with length limit can be used as the smallest unit of knowledge.) Different from twitter though, we can add tags and importance to the notes, or put notes into a frame (you can do these editing operations when you are doing your periodical self-reflection). The notes can be further made into a learning area (the learning area will include its root knowledge frame, raw notes that can be dug in various ways, rich learning materials such as videos, books, blogs, mags, examples, project set, question set and so on).

Some key points in the design of Knowledge Engine:

Quickly capture daily significant experiences or infos. The most convenient is when you can make notes without opening a browser or any app. You can write directly on the desktop of your pc or mobile devices. There is no time delay for entering the note into your notebook. If you have clear tags and importance to add, you can add it then. Otherwise, you can just add simply a note. (Partially implemented now. You still have to open a browser for now.)

Do a lot of bulk editing on one page. Be able to process as much notes as possible on one page. So the interface uses a design that is similar to gmail’s design.

Knowledge Frame, as a basic way to represent knowledge in the system, let people build up frames quickly and share them. Joelonsoftware says that he found many people use excel only as a table to put data in. So I hope frame can be such a thing for people that they grab when they need to put up an outline quickly. It is a very fast and convenient way to share knowledge.

Tagging and importance, these are the basic structural infos for a note.
p.s. I feel that for lives in consciousness all should have these two basic structural infos, so they can form lives on a higher level. (This might has something to do with what I learned from life science. Every kind of cells such as muscle cells, blood cells, or neural cells, although very unlike each other in their shapes, have basically the same elements. ) As for the concept of life, you can read of Christopher Alexander’s books Nature of Order.

Text. Text can be very powerful. We need text to organize human’s consciousness together. We always say that reading can help people open their minds and be a better thinker. Or we say writing can help a person to think more clearly. These are both due to the power of text. It helps people more focused on their consciousness. So the design of Knowledge Engine is heavily centered on text, including the interface. All other vivid stuff, such as videos or pictures, you can add them to your notes as attachment. We use text to organize our consciousness.

I said earlier that Knowledge Engine helps us know better what is knowledge and what is learning. I share below my understanding of knowledge through my work on Knowledge Engine. Here is the knowledge frame: what is knowledge? There is a course recording on this frame, which I gave to students at Wuqi School (a peasant factory worker school). However, the course is in Chinese. So apologize for not translating them for now.

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