Learning Technologies Newsletter

ISSUE 52 - October 2009 - by Phil Chambers


TIME TO READ: 3 minutes (Average Reader), less than a minute (Speed Reader) - Word Count: 733. 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 October 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 a Swedish theme ranging from our quote if the month to News of the first Swedish National Memory Championships. The main article, inspired by Harry Potter, is on the subject of fear of change.

What's Phil Up To?

Phil's Photo

Despite nursing a cold, I am doing plenty of development of materials for schools courses on subjects ranging from Critical thinking to the American Civil Rights Movement.

I am also starting preparations for the Word Memory Championships that will take place in London on 12th-14th November - More details of this next month.


October's Quote of the Month


"The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure."

Sven-Göran Eriksson (England Football Manager, 2001 to 2006)

More Quotes Here


Mind Map Tip of the Month

Experiment with different styles of lettering. Times font with serifs is a good strong style for main branches, helping them to stand out. However, lettering style should not be such that it reduces clarity or makes it hard to read the words. It is very easy to change fonts when using computer Mind Mapping applications such as iMind Map. For hand drawn Mind Maps you could take a course in calligraphy.


News from the Swedish Memory Championships

Last week I was in Gothenburg, Sweden for the first National Swedish Memory Championships. Despite a having to do a great deal of last minute preparation, the competition was a success with the crowning of new Swedish Champion Mattias Ribbing. Idriz Zogaj, who organised the event but also competed (having carefully been excluded from seeing any papers in advance) came in a disappointing 14th place but remains the highest placed Swede in the World Rankings. To be fair, he had very little time to prepare (or sleep) as he was in constant demand in the run up to the competition to give interviews to radio, TV and newspapers. The overall highest scorer and hence best International competitor was Johannes Mallow from Germany. Full results here:


Harry Potter Moved my Cheese!

I recently saw the latest Harry Potter movie (The Half Blood Prince) at the Cinema. It seems that J. K. Rowling cleverly weaves personal development themes into her plots. Maybe I am reading too much into it and I just make my own associations.

Whatever the case, one of the scenes set me thinking. Harry wins a phial of ‘liquid luck’ from his potions teacher, professor Horace Slughorn (brilliant played by Jim Broadbent). Anyone who drinks the potion will be successful in all of his or her endeavours until it wears off.

Later in the film, Harry’s friend Ron Weasley, who has been selected as Keeper on the Quidditch team, must play an important match. Ron sees Harry slip something in his drink and plays the game of his life becoming a hero in the process. However, Harry didn’t in fact use the liquid luck, he just convinced Ron that he had.

Often the only factor that differentiates success from failure is the belief that you cannot fail.

This reminded me of an excellent book, ‘Who Moved my Cheese’ by Dr Spencer Johnson. The book is an allegory about how we deal with the fear of change and includes many wise sayings. The two most relevant to this story are “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” and “When you stop being afraid, you feel good”.

Ron lost all fear of the match because of his belief that he couldn’t fail. In the current economic climate the landscape of business is changing more than ever.

To succeed you need to embrace change and have the courage to adapt and to follow it. What would you if you had ‘liquid luck’?

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

My contact details are here.

Best Wishes