Visible Learning

7th September 2018

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Week

This week’s recommendation is John Hattie’s Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement. This book is a master compendium of what works and what doesn’t in order to help students achieve–Hattie is rightly considered one of the best researchers in education, no matter what quibbles you might have with his approach.  By comparing effect sizes of various interventions such as reduction of class size, holding students back if they aren’t performing well, whole language versus phonics, and so forth, a meaningful idea of what works and what doesn’t can be found. A pioneering work in education.

A Memorization Tip

LHTLer Mark writes with a valuable tip for remembering:

“I have vascular dementia at the Mild Cognitive Impairment stage. Yesterday I made a discovery on memorization… What do we do when we naturally try and remember a task or grocery list? We take one hand and start tapping the other fingers of the other hand with our index finger whilst looking up. Or start by sticking our thumb up, then individual fingers like we are counting something. I was standing at the door of our car and my wife kept on telling me a shopping list and adding things. So I simply did the memory castle thing but using my fingers like the above method, instantly and more importantly permanently memorizing it. Ketchup squirting out my thumb, almond milk out of another my next finger was a popsicle about to be eaten. etc. A whole shopping list that is still fresh in my mind today.

Today I met a woman as I was walking my dog. Her face, her name and her son’s face and name and what they do for a living are now painted on my big toenail superimposed on each other. So I thought, Ok, what happens when I use all my fingers and toes? I put on imaginary different colored gloves. Red, blue, green–each type of glove for a different category. And toe socks. I’ve never worn toe socks but dang it seems to be working.

Keeping in mind that I can’t count down backward from 100 by 7’s despite having dual masters degrees in business and that they don’t allow me to cook by myself because I go off task. [The Learning How to Learn] course and book have helped me significantly get wrapped around rehab. The link to our bodies and chunking especially our digits might be a natural reflex bridge when we throw in imagery, action, focused and diffused learning all at once with what is part of our body. Please try it. All the best and thank you!

Ten Questions about Emerging Technology (and Barb’s Life)

A new series by IEEE Technical Activities asks technical experts 10 questions about their life and emerging technology. In this unusual interview, learn why Barb likes bridges, about the worst professor Barb ever had (and how he inadvertently helped inspire Barb’s interest in the video/television format that ultimately resulted in Learning How to Learn), and more.

Can You Do Well If You Take Calculus for the First Time After You Arrive at College?

The Science Education Department of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics sought answers related to college success with calculus in a study of more than 6,000 freshmen at 133 institutions. They found that “Contrary to conventional wisdom, taking high school calculus isn’t necessary for success in college calculus. What’s more important is mastering the prerequisites—algebra, geometry, and trigonometry—that lead to calculus.” Sure, it can help to get an earlier overview of the subject in high school, but if you arrive late on the scene (like Barb did), and want to study calculus even when you are older than a typical college student, just make sure you get a grounding in the basics and you should be ready for calculus success! [Hat tip, Berta Gonzalez and Smartick—an online math training program for kids that uses the latest in online intelligence.]

Writer’s Voice, Interview with Barb

Here is an interview with Barb and Francesca Rheannon, producer and host of Writer’s Voice, a weekly national radio show and podcast about the writing process. As poet, author and translator Peter Filkins has said: “Francesca Rheannon is that rare interviewer who knows how to shape an interview almost without your knowing it. Appearing on Writer’s Voice means engaging with a generous and instinctive intelligence able to elicit the heart and soul of any book.”

Basic Skills Versus Conceptual Understanding in Math

Here’s an interesting article by Dr. Wu from Berkeley: Basic skills versus conceptual understanding: A bogus dichotomy in mathematics education.”

Great Quantitative Skills Can Save Great Aesthetic Landmarks

Having great quantitative skills can be a blessing for the aesthetically inclined.  Here’s the New York Times obituary of the great engineer Robert Silman, who saved the Falling Water House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

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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