I have rediscovered a video that has profoundly influenced my ideas about how we think and use computers to help us learn about the world. The video is a presentation by a programmer and rather deep thinker named Bret Victor.
In this video, The Humane Representation of Thought, he imagines a new way of communicating. He talks about a concept that he calls the direct manipulation of dynamic behavior. This is a different approach to getting a computer to support the thought process. He emphasizes the use of all the senses and all the capabilities of the human body.
He talks about the fact that we have constrained our communication to words and numbers and drawings that are all represented in two dimensions using ink on paper or pixels on a flat screen. Not that these are bad ways of representing ideas but rather that they ignore the other senses other than sight that we have to perceive and interact with the world. Senses such as hearing and touch. The ability to perceive depth through visual and auditory clues. The sense of touch. The sense of proportion that comes from standing next to something and walking the length of it.
I highly recommend watching his video and exploring his web site to better understand his brilliant concepts. Any descriptions that I write are insufficient to communicate his vision and I think that is just more evidence for his point.