• Dasaratha Rama

Unlocking the Value of Thortspace with Cognitive Jigs

Mapping paragraphs with Cognitive Jigs in Thortspace

An aha moment last week:

Thortspace is a tool for writing.

I do not find the term mind-mapping very useful as I am not sure what the desired results are and how they are being accomplished. Thortspace is a tool for writing clarifies the value for me!

Thortspace helps us write better than we can without Thortspace. There are other uses but this is the most important usecase for us.

Improving Writing one Paragraph at a Time

We will be using Thortspace to improve paragraph writing. We will build a visual map for each paragraph.

We will also be using cognitive jigs. Cognitive jigs are small visual maps that can used repeatedly to organize writing. Detailed information about jigs is available here.

  1. Create a thort and write the topic. In the example below, the topic is types of graphs.

  2. Create a jig. We are using a barbell (data --> information) as the jig to organize our learning of Data Analytics.

  3. Ask: How can I add the topic idea to the barbell?


- Add it as a Distinction on the relationship line

- Add it as a part (System) under one of the two ideas in the barbell

Graphs are one way of presenting information.

Thus, graphs have been added under information.

4. Ask: How can I expand the map to develop the topic?

Bar graphs, line graphs, and pie charts have been added under graphs.

This visual map will be used to write the paragraph.

Why use Thortspace?

The paragraph map can be easily replicated to create maps for other paragraphs. Fast replication is not possible in other visual mapping tools (e.g., kumu).

For example, we created a second map for daily census at hospitals quickly because we used the paragraph map from the previous activity. We had categories set up already. As we get more practice in using cognitive jigs to organize paragraph maps, we will be able to map and write faster.

Next Steps

We were using the followin resources to practice writing. We will explore how to integrate visual maps and these resources.

Kesslen A., Collins K. 2001. From Thought to Word. Houghton Mifflin Company.

Pellegrino V. C. 2009. A Writer's Guide to Powerful Paragraphs. Maui arThoughts Company.

Weinrich E. College and Professional Writing with Structure and Style. Institute for Excellence in Writing.


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