Learning Technologies Newsletter

ISSUE 124 - January 2016 - by Phil Chambers

TIME TO READ: 4 minutes (Average Reader), less than a minute (Speed Reader) - Word Count: 1030 To learn more about Speed Reading Contact us or read my book ‘Brilliant Speed Reading’.

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Happy New Year and welcome to the January issue of The Learning Technologies Newsletter. Please continue to forward it to friends and colleagues who you think would find it useful.

This This month we have a slight mathematical theme. We also have our regular features of Quote of the month, Mind Mapping Tip and What I’m up to.

January's Quote of the Month

"The will to win,
the desire to succeed,
the urge to reach your full potential...
these are the keys that will unlock
the door to personal excellence.

~ Confucius

More quotes here


Mind Mapping Tip of the Month

Try using photographs as central images. A digital camera or smartphone gives you an instant image. Royalty free or stock photographs are available on the internet, in books and on CD-ROM. You could even scan or cut out pictures from magazines but make sure you don’t infringe copyright if you intend to distribute copies of your Mind Map.

What's Phil Up To?

Phil Chambers

I had a quiet Christmas after the excitement and exertion of helping organise the 2015 World Memory Championships in Chengdu.

I’ll be teaching Mind Mapping in a school and conducting ThinkBuzan Mind Map instructor training in January.




Turning the Tables on Government Tests

Primary school pupils in the UK will soon face tests on their times tables up to 12x12 before starting secondary school. Read the full story here.

This may seem daunting to youngsters and some adults struggle to remember seven eights are fifty-six when put on the spot. At first sight it looks like they need to remember 144 distinct pieces of information. However, this can be massively reduced. Multiplication is commutative (which means a x b = b x a) so you only have to remember half the tables. If you know 6 x 7 you also know 7 x 6. We’ve reduced the workload to 72 pieces of data. Take out the one, two, ten, five and eleven times tables as these all have simple patterns and it starts to look far less scary. The nine times table is easy if you know that the digits always add up to nine. (eg. 9x5 = 45 and 4+5=9, 9x8=72 and 7+2=9, etc.) You can use this property to work out multiples of nine on your fingers. The remaining tables can be learned with simple mnemonics. Of course, as the test is against the clock students need to practise to speed up but, without time pressure, kids can learn their tables in an afternoon. No need to return to the old-fashioned chanting in class, “one two is two, two tows are four”.


The Prime Factors to Your Success this Year

Mathematically speaking, the prime factors of 2016 are two, three and seven (2^5 x 3^2 x 7 = 2016). Here are three key words of two, three and seven letters that will help you reach your goals in the year ahead. Your prime factors…

DO (everything necessary)

Once you have identified your goals. Take action to achieve them. Small steps each day in the right direction will all add up to big strides. I have a riddle for you. “Three frogs were sitting on a lily pad. Two decided to jump off. How many were left?” The answer is three. Making a decision is very different to actually taking action. Don’t let procrastination get in your way or fall into paralysis by analysis. If something is so finely balanced that it demands very deep contemplation then any action is likely to be better than none. The famous showman and businessman, P.T. Barnum said, “Whatever you do, do it with all your might. Work at it, early and late, in season and out of season, not leaving a stone unturned, and never deferring for a single hour that which can be done just as well now.” I cannot pretend that I always live up to this maxim but it is a worthy sentiment. As Ivan Misner (dubbed the ‘Father of Modern Networking’) said, “The secret of success without hard work is still a secret.”


Have a positive attitude. It is better to think of winning and losing than succeeding and failing. Entrepreneur Rikki Hunt says, “As far as individual growth is concerned, I do not find the concept of ‘success’ or ‘failure’ particularly helpful. I prefer ‘winning’ and ‘losing’. This allows me to cope better with my ‘loss’. Instead of seeing ‘failure’ I see gained experiences. I consider losing as part of the elimination process in the race to win.” Thomas Edison, when trying to prefect the filament light bulb, said, “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” With a similar sentiment Sir Humphry Davy, one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century, said, “I have learned more from my mistakes than from my successes.” A simple change of attitude makes a big difference to your chances of winning. Film producer Mike Todd once said, “Being broke is temporary; being poor is a state of mind.” Keep a good state of mind.


When you encounter setbacks along the path to achieving your goals keep going. You haven’t truly failed until you give up. Edison also said, “Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” You need smart persistence, when something doesn’t work analyse why, make a change and try again. In the words of Winston Churchill, “never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.”

Stick to these prime factors and multiply your chances in 2016!

That’s all for this month. Look out for the next newsletter in February.

Best Wishes