10th December 2020

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Fantastic New Rollout of Features on IDoRecall

The new, useful features just don’t stop coming with Barb’s favorite flashcard system, IDoRecall.  The new native desktop apps for Windows and Mac computers has just launched. This desktop version works even when you don’t have an Internet connection, since all of your content is stored locally on your machine. It syncs with the cloud when there is a connection so that if you switch back to the browser version on your computer or phone, your account will be up to date. 

With the new notetaking feature, you can create linked spaced-repetition flashcards (recalls) to the facts, formulas, and concepts in your notes that you want to remember, just like you do with the other files and videos in your iDoRecall library. When you practice a recall linked to a note, if you struggle with an answer, just click the source link, the note will open at the relevant location.

Since spacing over time is important in the consumption of materials, not just in retrieval practice… iDoRecall now tells you how far along in reading (or watching) for each file in your library. This is the concept of “progressive reading.”  

Basically, iDoRecall is a fantastic product, beautifully designed by David Handel, MD, who graduated at the top of his medical school class by using the techniques he shares in iDoRecall.  One thing we especially love about iDoRecall is its intuitive simplicity, but if you’d like to do a deep dive into its based-on-solid-science underpinnings, here’s an hour-long exploratory video.  Educators are encouraged to reach out to David from their school email addresses to arrange a free trial for their classes.

 iDoRecall has a free version but if you are interested, they are offering 20% off the LEARNER ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION during the rest of December. Use the code BetterDaysAhead during checkout. (Barb’s iDoRecall’s Chief Learning Science Advisor, because she enjoys working with them and watching them continually improving their system.)

Book of the Week

Tecumseh and the Prophet: The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation, by Peter Cozzens.  Tenskwatawa was a klutz who, as a youth, managed to shoot one of his eyes out with an arrow—he became a debauched alcoholic living on handouts. But, as Cozzens book reveals, after a near-death experience, Tenskwatawa turned away from alcohol and became known as the Prophet. Together with his brother, Tecumseh, the siblings worked hard against long odds to unite Native Americans against the American “Long Knives” who were constantly encroaching on Indian lands.  

This fascinating book gives insight into the margins of the nascent United States during the latter 1700s and early to mid-1800s. What makes the book all the more interesting is that, despite the heroic nature of their cause, It’s not like the siblings were perfect people. Tecumseh, who hated torture and treated even his enemies with respect, abandoned women and divorced his wives with the most trivial of excuses, even such minor transgressions as a few feathers left on a plucked turkey. And the Prophet was still a self-serving wheeler dealer even after his near-death experience—although he never drank again.

This fascinating, little known era of history about iconic Americans also is a fine book for audio listening (although you may want to keep your cell phone handy to look up place names). Enjoy!

A Running Argument about Color

Barb and her Hero Hubby Phil have long had a running lively discussion: what Barb sees as sand-colored is seen by Phil as olive-colored. (Neither Barb nor Phil tests out as color-blind.) They’ve never gotten an answer to the question. But while we’re on colors, here’s a wonderful video on cultural effects of how people analyze colors.  

How to Give a Public Talk, by MIT’s AI Expert Patrick Winston

Terry recommends this terrific video by his former AI colleague Patrick Winston, who gave a version of this talk at MIT for many decades before sadly passing away last year.  What’s particularly fun about this video is how Patrick will tongue-in-cheek violate half the dictums he gives, showing why those dictums shouldn’t be violated.  And you’ll never forget the broken pointer.

Vodaphone on the New Era of Connected Education (in Spanish)

Vodaphone has conducted a great set of interviews, (overlaid into Spanish), including one with Sugata Mitra and another with Barb, about the future of learning.  

And Here’s a Nice Letter We Received in Russian 🙂 (“Уважаемая Барбара Оукли”)

Я бы хотел выразить благодарность за вашу книгу, думай как математик. То что вы описали в начале книги это точно про меня. В школе математика для меня была сущим адом. Учитель по математике говорил на непонятном языке, и я реально думал о том что я не то что к математике а вообще ни к чему не способен. Но как то учась в колледже я нашёл в интернете вашу книгу она перевернула мою жизнь. Я поступил в колледж в 26 лет, поздно конечно но благодаря вашей книги и я изменил жизнь и закончил колледж по электротехники. Все ваши советы реально работают. Я безумно вам благодарен. 

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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