Learning Technologies Newsletter

ISSUE 78 - Christmas 2011 - by Phil Chambers

Merry Christmas

TIME TO READ: 5 minutes (Average Reader), less than a minute (Speed Reader) plus our 3 minute animated Christmas card - Word Count: 1,152. To learn more about Speed Reading Contact us.

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Welcome to the Christmas 2011 issue of the Learning Technologies Newsletter. Please continue to forward it to friends and colleagues who you think would find it useful.

This month we have news from the World Memory Championships, Tips on how to Mind Map text creatively plus our regular Quote of the Month and what I’ve been up to. .


December's Quote of the Month


"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?"

~Dr Seuss

More quotes here



What's Phil Up To?

WMC Team

From left: Jennifer Goddard, Dominic O'Brien, Tony Buzan,
Phil Chambers & Gaby Kappus

The World Memory Championships took up most of my time in Late November and early December. See Report Below…


Personal Refelections and Thanks for The Memory Championships

The 20th World Memory Championships held at the Mount River Resort Hotel in Guangzhou, China for the second year in row took place on 7th-10th December. Despite some uncertainty about arrangements prior to the event we had a remarkable 115 competitors representing 18 countries. Many congratulations go to Wang Feng, who not only successfully defended his title of World Champion but also broke three World Records in the process. Hour Numbers: 2660 memorised, Spoken Number: 300 memorised and 5 min Speed Numbers: 500 memorised.

With such a large number of competitors it was a big challenge for the arbiting team to efficiently mark and collate results. However, the whole team rose to the occasion and worked incredibly hard to make the event a success. Special mention must go to the following:

Jennifer Goddard who masterminded a new, more efficient scoring system that streamlined the process of collating data, producing results and tracking Grand Master performances, Kids, Junior and World Records. Not only this, Jennifer coordinated the marking team and worked long into the night to make sure everything was collated, correct and ready to be uploaded and disseminated to the World by Chris Day and Raymond Keene.

Gaby Kappus from Germany, did a great job coordinating marking queries along with Jennifer. Gaby also diligently marked the prodigious amounts of data memorised and recalled by Wang Feng.

Joanne Amlag from the USA was new to the world of Memory Sports but took up the challenge with great enthusiasm. Joanne was a fast learner and was soon assisting Gaby and working on general marking. She was a great asset to the team and becomes the only WMSC certified Arbiter in the United States.

Dominic O’Brien masterfully took control of the competition room, being the public face of the team and keeping an eagle eye over competitors to spot any attempts to cheat. This is a very intense job that Dominic tackled with professionalism and panache.

The Chinese arbiters who worked tirelessly over the full three days. An example of their efficiency was the marking of the hour cards event, that traditionally lasts well into the night, was finished by about 8pm.

We are also indebted to our sponsors, New Mind Education and especially Cathy, Tammy and Ianna who looked after us.

At the competitors’ briefing Tony Buzan spoke of the ‘family’ of memory, I can only say the I am privileged to have such talented friends as the competitors and the back-stage staff that make it happen.

A Behind The Scenes Look at This Year's Christmas Card.


I am sometimes asked how I come up with my creative Mind Maps. So I thought I would share the process that I went through to create this year’s animated Christmas card. Of course, the same process can be used to create a Mind Map for any material that needs to be learned word-for-word, such as poetry or lines of a play. The more creative you are with your image associations, the more memorable they will be.

Here are the 12 steps of Christmas Card Design…

1) The first step was to download the lyrics to my chosen song, ‘Stop the Cavalry’ by Jona Lewie. A simple Google search provided these.

2) In Word, I added my first thoughts of what key words could suggest in terms of images - Freely associating. For example ‘throughout’ could be ‘threw out’, hence a litter sign. 'Mary Bradley waits at home' - Mary Poppins, Bradley Walsh, weights and a house.

3) Using Adobe Photoshop, I created the central image and saved as .png file (Portable Network Graphics format) with transparency. Although iMindMap can open many graphics files, this format works best.

4) I opened iMindMap5 Ultimate and created a new Mind Map. (I chose a central image but this was unimportant as I was going to change it).

5) I deleted the central idea text and then using MacOS preview I opened the pre-prepared central image, copied it and, with the central image in the Mind Map selected, pasted to replace it.

6) I created 4 branches off the centre in iMindMap. (choosing blue to represent cold; green to fit with Army and fighting; orange matched the nuclear blast cloud image and finally purple for no reason other than the fact I like the colour!)

7) Using a combination of Google Images, Photo Objects clip art collection and Photoshop, I proceeded to develop each branch in turn, occasionally referring to the Word doc with my ideas listed.

8) For each image, I saved it as a PNG file, copied it from Preview and then, with the relevant branch selected, pasted it into the Mind Map. The image could then be re-sized and rotated. Right clicking on an image allows you to select ‘Bring to Front’, so you can position it slightly overlapping the branch, which I think always looks better.

9) Arrows and speech bubbles were created in Adobe Illustrator and exported to PNG format.

10) Once I was happy with the finished Mind Map, I opened iTunes and played the music whilst using iMindMap presentation view to match the timing. This was recorded using Camtasia.

11) With the recording made I as able to use Camtasia again to add text and transitions.

12) Finally I selected ‘Share’ and YouTube to upload it.


That’s it for this month. Have a wonderful holiday season and I’ll be back in touch with he next newsletter in Janaury.

Best Wishes