subway lines and random paths of meaning

Don’t know how long this interactive map of subway ends-of-line images will be up on the NYTimes online, so go see it soon.

I find this to be a perfect example of setting up material–in this case images of what you would find at the ends of subway lines in New York–that does not suggest sequential choices, but allows the user to choose random paths in the content, and allows for revisiting the material as desired. One of my interests is in how users make meaning out of content this way and how they reinforce their interpretations based on the paths they choose. For example, does it make a difference to one’s constructed meaning whether one image is viewed before another, and so on? In another example, does it make a difference in what order one reads about historical events to how one determines larger meanings and attitudes about history?

In what sort of controlled environment could we study such questions?

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Categories: cognition, collaboration, communication, computers, digital literacy, student-centered learning, technology

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