ISSUE 59 - May 2010 - by Phil Chambers
TIME TO READ: 5 minutes (Average Reader), less than a minute (Speed Reader) - Word Count: 1,063. To learn more about Speed Reading Contact us.
If you are not a subscriber to the newsletter click here and fill in your name and e-mail address at the top of the page.
Welcome to the May 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 a major new study of brain training games, our regular features of Mind Map Tip and quote of the month plus what I’m up to.
Mind Map Tip of the Month
If you are delivering a seminar away from your workplace, for example in a hotel, make a Mind Map of all the equipment and materials that you need. Highlight each item on the Mind Map as you pack your bags or load your car. This is much more effective than writing a linear list. The Mind Mapping process will generate more thoughts and hence a more complete and detailed list, thereby ensuring that you don’t forget any vital piece of kit. The same is due for holidays or business trips.
More quotes here
What's Phil Up To?
I am just back from overseeing the Cambridge Memory Championship in my capacity as Chief Arbiter of the World Memory Sports Council. See report below.
Next Saturday, 8th May, I will be doing much the same at the Welsh Open Championships in Newport.
I will be giving a short presentation on ‘How to Use Memory Techniques in Everyday Life’ to the Lively Business Club in Market Drayton, Shropshire on Tuesday 4th at 7pm. Admission is free and you would be most welcome to attend. Details here.
Fifth Cambridge Memory Championships
This year the Cambridge Memory Championships saw the widest range of international competitors yet, representing Denmark, England, Germany, Hong Kong, Sweden, USA and Wales!
As usual it was very well organised by Ben Pridmore ably assisted by WMSC Level 2 arbiter, Nathalie Lecordier and Organiser of the Welsh National Championships (next weekend) Dai Griffiths. I was there as time-keeper, WMSC observer and also marked some of the papers.
Ben is currently being followed by Japanese TV so we had a film crew for several of the events making in it quite cramped in the relatively small seminar room in Trinity College.
Congratulations go to all the competitors but special mention must go to Christian Schäfer from Germany who stormed to victory by the massive margin of 2632 points. His tremendous score of 6060 halves his World Ranking position form 28th to 14th, only one place below 8 times World Champion Dominic O’Brien. The final results are:
|Cambridge Memory Championships 2010 Final Results|
|Position||Name||5-min words||5-min binary||5-min names||15-min number||10-min cards||Speed Number||Images||Historic Dates||Spoken Number||Speed Cards||Overall Points|
Neuroscience News - Brain Training Doesn't Work.
Results of major clinical trail into Brain Training conducted by BBC TV’s popular science show, ‘Bang Goes The Theory’ were announced last week.The results clearly indicate that there were no statistically significant gains in four benchmark tests of brainpower after a 6 week period of Brain Training. One of the experiment’s designers, Dr Adrian Owen said: "The result is crystal clear. Brain training is only as good as spending six weeks using the internet. There is no meaningful difference."
Participants in the trial were tested in their verbal working memory, spatial working memory, episodic memory and grammatical reasoning before and after playing online Brain Training games. These were similar to those found in popular products such as Nintendo’s Doctor Kawashima’s Brain Training. This is one of the best selling games of all time having sold over 20 million copies and the sequel “More Brain Training From Dr Kawashima: How Old Is Your Brain?” selling 5 million.
Although the participants showed a marked improvement in their scores in the games, as the researchers state, “this really only proves the old adage of ‘practice makes perfect’. There is no evidence that this transfers to the brain skills measured by our benchmarking tests.”
The experiment was designed by Dr Adrian Owen of the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit and the University of Cambridge and Professor Clive Ballard of Kings College, London, who is director of research for the Alzheimer’s Society. Results are published in the journal Nature. Click here for a full breakdown of the results.
Does this mean that all mental improvement strategies are futile and I should disband my company?
I have long suspected that playing these games makes you better at the games but this does not transfer to real life, measurable skills. I have often stated this belief when asked about the games but it is nice to now have scientific data to back up my hunch.
However, the techniques that I teach are totally different to the Brain Training games. With brain training you practice the tasks in the game and this is supposed to make you more mentally fit after you finish, like going to gym. My techniques on the other hand, are designed to be used in real life to make you better at tasks such as remembering people’s names. It is much more like learning to drive a car. You don’t learn to drive and expect to be able to get to your destination faster when you’re not in your car. You continue to use the car to get from place to place. So whenever you meet someone you use the technique to remember his or her name. If you stop using the technique you still forget!
The same is true of everything I teach. Mind Mapping is a process that you use when you want to organise your thoughts or be creative. Speed Reading is a process that you use when you want to read faster. They are tools and really do work.
That’s it for this month. Look out for the next newsletter at the beginning of June and feel free to be in touch in the meantime.
My contact details are here.