Learning Technologies Newsletter

ISSUE 45 - March 2009 - by Phil Chambers



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

This month I have added what I may make a regular feature, “What’s Phil up to?”, please let me know if you are interested in this? We also have news of some new research on memory, plus the regular Mind Map tip and quote of the month. The main article considers how your mood and beliefs affect your opportunities.


What's Phil Up To?

I'll be running a Public Open course on 14th – 15th March at Imperial College, London covering Mind Mapping, Speed Reading and Study Skills. There are still some places left. You can find out more by clicking here.

I a
m also visiting lots of schools to run memory competitions as part of the 2009 UK Schools Memory Championships. More information can be found here.

In addition to my engagements, I am working as a consultant to two books and creating Mind Maps for a third one.


Mind Mapping Tip of the Month

Get into the right state of mind before you do a Mind Map. Known as the ‘zone’ by athletes, the best state for learning, and creativity is relaxed but alert. This is when alpha and theta brainwaves dominate your thought patterns. You can achieve this state by listening to relaxing music with a frequency of 1Hz (i.e. one beat per second). The mind synchronises with the music to ‘take you down’ into a more relaxed frame of mind. Try composers such as Bach, Corelli, Handel, Telemann & Vivaldi. If you dislike straight classical music certain tracks by Enya and Jacques Loussier have the same effect.

For more tips see '101 Top Tips for Better Mind Maps'.


March's Quote of the Month

"When you are in the valley,
keep your goal firmly in view and you will get the
renewed energy to continue the climb."

Denis Waitley – American motivational speaker and author

More Quotes Here


Neuroscience News

New research by the Medical Research Council's Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge has found that doodling whist listening can boost memory. The explanation of the findings is that doodling keeps the brain occupied and prevents it daydreaming that can be distracting and hence reduce effectiveness.

A Mind Map is the ultimate doodle! Not only does it keep the brain engaged but it also processes information from what you are listening to and harnesses the power of directed daydreaming to make additional connections. See the full story here.


March Musings – Manage your Mood

As I look out of my office window I can see the bare trees silhouetted against the beautiful blue sky. Snowdrops bejewel the hedgerows and the daffodils are just starting to come into bloom. The fist lambs have come out into the fields this week too. Despite the fact that winter isn’t officially over until 20th March it feels very spring-like.

Spring is a pagan time of rebirth after the cold bleakness of winter - A celebration of nature. So even though the economy continues to slide, The Royal Bank of Scotland has just announced the worst loss in UK corporate history and unemployment is on the rise, let’s enjoy the sunshine and look on the bright side.

The power of positive thought is often overstated. We cannot change the world by wishing or denying reality, but it is true that we get more of what we focus on. The reticular activating system in the brain directs our attention according to what we attribute importance to. For example, the new 09 car number plates are released today. If you have a strong desire to buy a specific make and model of car, suddenly there seem to be hundreds more cars like the one you want on the road. Obviously, this is not due to lots of people going out and buying them just to taunt you. It is just that that car has taken on a new importance to you and so you notice every one you see.

Your frame of mind changes your view of the world. If you believe that the other checkout in the supermarket always moves faster than the one you pick, you will always notice the times when this happens and reaffirms that belief. You won’t notice all the times when you sail straight through. So although on average there is no difference, your perception will be very different.

There are countless threats and opportunities presented to us every day. If we are thinking about doom and gloom we will notice the bad things. If we are in a more positive frame of mind we are more likely to spot the good things.

Here are my top five tips for making the most of life’s opportunities:

1) Surround yourself with enthusiastic, positive people – It’s contagious.

2) Catch yourself doing well - Notice the little pieces of good luck, like finding the last car parking space or getting to the station two minutes late but finding your train is delayed by three minutes.

3) Smile for no good reason – Your physiology controls your mood. So you don’t just smile because you are happy. You are happy because you smile. It also makes the people around you happier too.

4) Look for Good News - Bad news sells newspapers, so balance the bad headlines by searching out the funny stories and heart warming news.

5) Set clear, specific goals and use visualisation to make them as compelling as possible - What will it feel like, look like, sound, smell and taste like to achieve them? Once you have a clear focus your sub-conscious can be alert for things that can help you.

Enjoy March! Let me know how you get on and look out for the next newsletter at the beginning of April. My contact details are here.

Best Wishes