Cheery Friday Greetings from Learning How to Learn! Jan 8, 2016

8th January 2017

Cheery Friday greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Learning math with different parts of the brain

Many of you have found our earlier reference to the fast adding methods of Flash Anzan to be intriguing. Here’s an article by Alex Bellos that explores the abacus with more depth: “Abacus adds up to number joy in Japan: The Far East flies high when it comes to numeracy while the West flounders. Is the abacus the secret of their success?” As Bellos and neuropsychologist Brian Butterworth note: “what the abacus does … is change the way the brain does the calculation. A person calculating with an abacus uses the visual and motor parts of the brain, unlike a person using pencil and paper.” Here’s a fascinating discussion from the 1980s with Richard Feynman that brings up some of the same points. Note how, well before neuroimaging was even possible, Feynman was able to figure out that different people can use different parts of the brain to accomplish the same activity.

Learning Sparks Learning!

Learning How to Learn helps spark all sorts creative ways of looking at, and learning about, every aspect of life. Here’s an introduction to learning about Chinese art by April Shen, and a poem for dreamers with learning difficulties via Malvika Vazalwar. The most popular discussion thread in our class last week involved “Starting a PhD when you are 64,” initiated by Charles Cobert—what an inspirational conversation!

Deep Learning and Deep Work

For this week’s book recommendation, we’ve got something fantastic: Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, by Cal Newport. This book is something special. It gets right to the point of how to structure your life so that you can accomplish meaningful work, even as you also leave yourself time to do life’s more mundane chores—and you also still have plenty of time left for open fun. All this is perfectly in tune with Learning How to Learn’s philosophy for life and learning. Cal’s such an interesting writer that the book’s also a joy to read.

We’ve always been fans of Cal Newport’s work—you may also wish to check out his other excellent recent book: So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love.

Have a happy week in Learning How to Learn!

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

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