Learning Technologies Newsletter

ISSUE 61 - July 2010 - by Phil Chambers


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Welcome to the July 2010 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 an article on how to improve your maths skills, news of a special webinar plus our regular features of Mind Map Tip, quote of the month and what I’ve been up to recently


News of a Special Webinar from Think Buzan

The iMindMap team are holding our first ever webinar, on:

Tuesday 13th July – 4pm - 4.30pm (BST)

Repeated on:

Thursday 22nd July – 10.30am - 11am (BST)

If you are unable to catch either webinar, don't worry, we will send you a media file to watch at your leisure.

You can get your place on the guest list if you purchase either iMindMap Ultimate or Ultimate PLUS before the 5th July.

You probably use Microsoft Office, OpenOffice or iWork everyday, but do you have a place to innovate? iMindMap Ultimate offers full integration plus a place to scope out ideas, see the overview of a concept as well as its finer creative detail. The webinar focuses on how to get the most out of Microsoft Office, OpenOffice and iWork.

This will be the first ever webinar the ThinkBuzan organisation has ever held, and we are extremely excited to talk directly to our users. The iMindMap experts holding this landmark webinar are global experts in the field and have been regularly described as “enthralling”.

Find out more here.


July's Quote of the Month

"Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas. "

~Albert Einstein

More quotes here


What's Phil Up To?

Liver Building Photo

As I write this I am sitting in the Masonic Hall in, Halton, Merseyside in between two Schools’ Memory Championships heats. This is my third day this week in the Liverpool area.

There are a few more schools left to do their competition so I will be busy in the first week of July completing these.

The winners go through to the National Final that will take place at Wolverhampton University on 14th July. I will report on the results in August’s Newsletter.


Mind Map Tip of the Month

Ensure that each main branch is a different colour. Sub-branches, however, should be the same colour as the branch that they connect to. This has a two-fold benefit. Firstly, it helps to ‘chunk’ or tie together each set of branches into a coherent unit. Secondly it allows you to highlight important points by using a different colour to the one predominating on that particular set of branches.


Don't Mention the Germans

Did you know that the World Cup has been happening? No, not the football one. (The less said about that, the better from an English perspective). I’m talking about the Mental Calculation World Cup held in Magdeburg, Germany on 5-7 June!

So many people say to me that they have trouble with maths. It is probably second only to a poor memory in terms of the number of suffers. It is a terrible shame that people almost boast about their lack of numerical skill. They see it a part of life. That you either have it or you don’t. This is totally untrue. Just as you can train your memory, so you can learn to be good at (and enjoy) mathematics.



Maths is beautiful. It underlies much of art, especially Arabic geometric art but also painting the human body as discovered by Leonardo da Vinci. The composition of a Canaletto picture of Venice, even the shape of the Parthenon in Athens are in proportions determined by the Golden ratio (a:b = b:a+b). Music is mathematical. The notes on any instrument follow mathematical rules. As Gottfried Leibniz put it, “Music is the pleasure the human mind experiences from counting without being aware that it is counting”. The vibrations of a violin string or the air in a trombone can be described by maths. All of nature uses maths, form the fractal structure of a fern to the lifecycle of periodical cicadas that only emerge every 13 or 17 years to mate and reproduce. 13 and 17 are prime numbers and the life-cycle is thought to be an evolutionary strategy to avoid predators.

There are countless other fascinating and beautiful examples on maths almost everywhere.


Here is a simple example to try…

Multiplying 11 without using long multiplication.

This rule works for a number of any length and is so simple that you can multiply by 11 as fast as a calculator by simply adding up.

Working from right to left:

  • Write down the right hand digit of the number being multiplied on the right of the answer.
  • Take each successive number in turn and add it to its neighbour on the right.
  • Write down the sum of each pair in the answer.
  • Write down the left hand digit of the number being multiplied on the left of the answer.


For example:

What is 1345325172 x 11

Step 1 - write down the right hand digit:


Step 2 - write down each addition sum in turn:

7+2 = 9
1+7 = 8
5+1 = 6
2+5 = 7
3+2 = 5
5+3 = 8
4+5 = 9
3+4 = 7
1+3 = 4


Step 3 - write down the left hand digit:


(This is a larger number than most calculators can handle!)

If any of the totals is greater than 10 you must carry digits.

For example:

97592 x 11

Right hand digit : 2

9+2 = 11 (write 1 and carry 1)
5+9 = 14 + carried 1 = 15 (write 5 and carry 1)
7+5 = 12 + carried 1 = 13 (write 3 and carry 1)
9 + 7 = 16 + carried 1 = 17 (write 7 and carry 1)

Left hand digit: 9 plus carried 1 = 10

So the answer is 1073512

Try some for yourself and check you answers with a computer.



That’s it for this month. Look out for the next newsletter at the beginning of August and feel free to be in touch in the meantime.

My contact details are here.

Best Wishes