Awaken Your Genius

7th April 2023

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Month

Barb on the upcoming John Stossel Town Hall webinar for Educators being filmed in New York City

Don’t miss this exciting discussion about the intersection of neuroscience and education with reporter John Stossel on Apr 19, 2023, 07:00 PM Eastern US time. Barb will kick things off with a brief 20-minute-or-so overview of learning, and then the excitement will continue and build even further as the floor is opened to the Zoom audience for questions.   Register now and pose your question!

Book of the Month

Awaken Your Genius: Escape Conformity, Ignite Creativity, and Become Extraordinary, by Ozan Varol. The deluge of today’s lifestyles can ultimately lead to overload and shutdown. Awaken Your Genius uses uncommon stories coupled with research findings to lift and inspire.  This great book will help you hit refresh on your sense of possibility.  Highly recommended! 

As a special gift, Ozan is including a free bonus for ordering his book by April 14th. You’ll get a pack of 10, three-minute, bite-sized videos with actionable insights from Awaken Your Genius that you can implement right away. Among other things, you’ll learn (1) a completely counterintuitive practice that the best thinkers use to generate original ideas and (2) why comparing yourself to others is limiting your potential (and how to stop doing it once and for all). To get the videos, just forward your order receipt to and mention Cheery Friday.

Using AI to capture key ideas in podcasts

Check out this fascinating post by Ann Michaelsen about how she used AI to help transcribe a podcast she was listening to, to help her better capture the key ideas.

The inadequacies of generative AI

Barb was recently reviewing conference papers, and found one related to whether generative AI should be used in education.  Wow—she glommed right onto that as a topic of immense interest!  But to her surprise, the paper had obviously itself been generated by generative AI—and it was terrible.  Even more surprisingly, perhaps half of the papers she has reviewed for recent conferences have clearly been generated by AI.  Tell-tale clues include fuzzy, vacuous conclusions, repetition of the same ideas using different words, and, perhaps most obviously, sentences and paragraphs do not logically follow one another.  In fact, a recent paper on AI pointed precisely toward this lack of logical predictability in AI-generated as opposed to human generated thinking: “Evidence of a predictive coding hierarchy in the human brain listening to speech.” For a fascinating discussion of why AI grading of essays isn’t as good as human grading, follow Daisy Christodoulou and Chris Wheadon’s Substack.

The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions: How Altruism Can Become Pathological involving Meditation

On Friday April 21st,  12:00-1:30 pm ET, Barb will be giving a rare discussion of pathologies of altruism (good intentions gone awry), that touches on their application to meditation and rarely discussed potential detrimental side effects of meditation.  This session is a “don’t miss” if you want a scientifically-grounded yet contrarian take to the seemingly unassailable wall of goodness presented to the public about the benefits of meditation—and there are, of course, genuine benefits to be had.  Register here. (All registration proceeds go to the Cheetah House, a community invested in the recovery from, and reduction of, adversities resulting from meditation practices.)

Top Hat Presentation with Barb—Engaging Your Students

Declining attendance. Wandering eyes. Low participation. Students can easily become checked out. So what can you do to help them re-discover the joy of learning? As Barb—the award-winning co-author of Uncommon Sense Teaching—can share, engaging students starts by tapping into the world of neuroscience and moviemaking. Now’s your chance to hear from her live.  You’re invited to Top Hat’s special discussion with Dr. Oakley on Thursday, April 13 at 2 PM ET. You’ll leave with practical tools to motivate and engage all students.

Everest Memory Masterclass with 5 time US Memory Champion Nelson Dellis

USA Memory Champion) is opening his Everest Memory Masterclass for registration in a few weeks–here is the waitlist. With proven memory techniques and personalized instruction from Nelson himself, the course will teach you how to remember all the important things in life. If you don’t know Nelson’s story, he started training his memory after his grandmother passed away from Alzheimer’s disease in 2009. He ended up winning the USA Memory Championships a number of times and turned his new-found skill into a career teaching others. Registration for this year’s cohort opens on May 1st, 2023, so jump on his email waitlist to get notified when it goes live! Get your name on the waitlist early!

How exercise leads to sharper thinking and a healthier brain

Sometimes it helps (spaced repetition) to hear repeatedly how important exercise is for our health.  And this Washington Post article about a new study describes the strongest case yet that exercise improves cognition, based on findings from 350,000 study participants. Yes, it seems to be related to
“brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF, often referred to as ‘Miracle-Gro’ for the brain.” [Hat tip: Christian Crowley.]

That’s all for now. Have a happy week in Learning How to Learn!

Barb, Terry, and the entire Learning How to Learn team

For kids and parents: Learning How to Learnthe book and MOOC. Pro tipwatch the videos and read the book together with your child. Learning how to learn at an early age will change their life!

View more Cheery Friday e-mails >