7th June 2018

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Week

We were very lucky to receive a pre-publication copy of 4-time US memory champion Nelson Dellis’s book Remember It! The Names of People You Meet, All of Your Passwords, Where You Left Your Keys, and Everything Else You Tend to Forget.  Nelson’s book will be coming out in September—it’s the best book on how to develop your memory we’ve ever read, so we highly recommend pre-ordering your copy.  What’s terrific about Nelson’s book is that doesn’t just give the usual information about how to remember lists or sequences of numbers. Dellis provides all sorts of side bits of important everyday tips—like how to remember something important that occurs to you when you wake up in the middle of the night, how to remember where you’re parked, and how not to forget objects, like a purse (forgetting her purse is the bane of Barb’s existence). We plan to reread the book as soon as we receive our final hard copy. We can’t recommend this book more strongly!

Looking to Hire a Good Education Program Leader?

Barb’s good friend Erin Valdez has strong experience as a non-profit program manager and she is looking for a job—in Texas or telecommuting with some travel is great. Erin believes in the power of students and teachers create innovative pathways to success.  She is eager to help non-profits and others by leveraging her experience as a philanthropic portfolio strategist, policy advisor, school leader, and vision-aligned partnership builder.  You can find out more about her via email,  She is also eager to connect with her fellow “fans of Barb” via LinkedIn.

Can You Help with Video Captions?

Many professors are facing a challenge nowadays in that all online videos used for classes nowadays need to have high-quality video captions to be compliant with US university accessibility standards (99% or above accuracy in relaying the speaker’s exact words with correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar). YouTube’s automatic captioning feature is nice, but it isn’t good enough—see Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal’s Caption Fail Videos, for example.

Barb is currently facing a bit of a challenge in that she has roughly 50 hours of videos in two mathematically-oriented classes that need high-quality captions.  She finds it generally takes her about 5 hours to fix 1 hour of YouTube video captions. Loaded here on YouTube, for example, is her Introductory Statistics and Probability class (she’s fixed the captions on the first video, so that one’s locked—only 31 videos to go!) And here is her “How Things Work” class, based on Lou Bloomfield’s great textbook by that name.  

If you’re interested in Barb’s courses and would like to contribute to the captions, feel free to go to any video in the courses, click on the gear symbol/add subtitles/add subtitles/English/edit. When done, submit the contribution, and let others keep working, (unless you’ve finished the whole video, in which case you can submit it for review).

If you might have advice for Barb and the many other professors in the same situation, who have many sometimes complex and mathematically-oriented videos that need 99% or better accuracy in the captions, please post in the discussion forum here.  

Blackout Poetry

If you’d like to see some intriguing examples of an increasingly popular phenomenon called “blackout poetry,” you might try checking Professor Joseph Garnjobst’s daily posts on his Twitter account: @jgarnjobst. Joe’s “blackouts” grow from Dan Neil’s auto column in the Wall Street Journal.

Barb on the “On Grit” Podcast

Join Rigel Patterson and Barb for a fascinating podcast about learning, grit, and the challenges people face when changing careers. Barb shares stories about people who buckled down and pursued what for them seemed like long shots, if their pasts were any indication of what they could be good at.

Seymour PapertA Towering Figure in Education

Many people remain unaware of the importance of Seymour Papert in a wide variety of areas in education. A South African who vehemently opposed apartheid (he organized classes for local black servants), Papert was a rigorous and creative thinker who ultimately earned two doctorates in mathematics. He went from constructivism to constructionism in his approach to education, and helped kick-start the Maker Movement.  Read Papert’s obituary in Nature to get a better sense of Papert’s impact, and watch this “turtle” video.  [Hat tip: Lorena Barba.]

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

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



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