- May 2023
Dean Vaughn has apparently renamed the method of loci as a commodity to be able to market a method for memorizing the multiplication tables.
- Mar 2023
Michel Thomas method also includes: - atomic pieces built up as building blocks into larger pieces - lots of encouragement to prevent the feeling of failure
Downsides: - there is no failure mode which can nudge people into a false sense of performance when using their language with actual native speakers
This reviewer indicates that there is some base level of directed mnemonic work going on, but the repetition level isn't such that long term retention (at least in the space repetition sort of way) is a specific goal. We'll need to look into this piece more closely to firm this up, however.
This video indicates that small mnemonic hooks are inserted for some words in the Michel Thomas method. This was not immediately apparent or seen in the 1997 BBC documentary about his method and wasn't immediately apparent in Harold Goodman's discussion.
Is it apparent in Goodman's session with his nephews? Was it part of Thomas' method originally or was it added later? Is it truly necessary or does it work without it as in the SSiW method which doesn't use it.
- Jun 2022
Maxine Greene for example, begins by writing that “We are convinced that the movement towards educational technology is irreversible and that our obligation as educators is to learn how to deal with it,” but then she turns that resignation into resistance by adding, “how, if you like, to live with it as fully conscious human beings working to enable other human beings to become conscious, to become responsible, to learn.”
If it's true that the movement toward technology is inevitable, how might we deal with it?
Compare this with the solution(s) that nomadic hunter-gatherers had to face when changing from a lifestyle built on movement to one of settling down to a life of agriculture. Instead of attaching their knowledge and memories to their landscape as before, they built structures (like Stonehenge) to form these functions.
Part of moving forward may involve moving back historically to better understand these ideas and methods and regaining them so that we might then reattach them to a digital substrate. How can we leverage the modalities of the digital for art, song, dance, music, and even the voice into digital spaces (if we must?). All digital or only digital certainly isn't the encompassing answer, but if we're going to do it, why not leverage the ability to do this?
As an example, Hypothes.is allows for annotating text to insert photos, emoji, audio (for music and voice), and even video. Videos might include dance and movement related cues that students might recreate physically. These could all be parts of creating digital songlines through digital spaces that students can more easily retrace to store their learnings for easier recall and to build upon in the future.
Groups in arts education rail against the loss of music, dance, and art in schools and indicate that it's important to a balanced education.
Why has no one embedded these learning tools, for yes they can be just that, into other spaces within classrooms? Indigenous educators over the millennia have done just this in passing on their societal and cultural knowledge. Why have we lost these teaching methods? Why don't we reintroduce them? How can classrooms and the tools within them become mnemonic media to assist both teachers and learners?
Perhaps we need to bring back examples of how to do these things at the higher levels? I've seen excercises in my daughter's grade school classrooms that bring art and manipulatives into the classroom as a base level, but are they being done specifically for these mnemonic reasons?
Michael Nielsen and Andy Matuschak have been working at creating a mnemonic medium for areas like quantum mechanics relying in part on spaced repetition. Why don't they go further and add in dance, movement, art, and music to aid in the process. This can be particularly useful for creating better neurodiverse outcomes as well. Education should be more multi-modal, more oral, and cease it's unending reliance on only literacy as it's sole tool.
How and where can we create a set of example exercises at various grade levels (similar to rites of knowledge initiation in Indigenous cultures, for lack of specific Western language) that embed all of these methods
Link to: - Ideas in The Extended Brain about movement, space, etc. - Nielsen/Matuschak mnemonic media work
- Michael Nielsen
- modality shifts
- indigenous knowledge
- method of loci
- mnemonic media
- arts in education
- educational substrates
- Andy Matuschak
- Indigenous pedagogy
One of my frustrations with the “science of learning” is that to design experiments which have reasonable limits on the variables and can be quantitatively measured results in scenarios that seem divorced from the actual experience of learning.
Is the sample size of learning experiments really large enough to account for the differences in potential neurodiversity?
How well do these do for simple lectures which don't add mnemonic design of some sort? How to peel back the subtle differences in presentation, dynamism, design of material, in contrast to neurodiversities?
What are the list of known differences? How well have they been studied across presenters and modalities?
What about methods which require active modality shifts versus the simple watch and regurgitate model mentioned in watching videos. Do people do actively better if they're forced to take notes that cause modality shifts and sensemaking?
- May 2022
Local file Local file
Active reading to the extreme!
What a clever innovation building on the ideas of the art of memory and Raymond Llull's combinatoric arts!
Does this hit all of the areas of Bloom's Taxonomy? I suspect that it does.
How could it be tied more directly into an active reading, annotating, and note taking practice?
- Mar 2022
Kerry Ann Dickson, an associate professor of anatomy and cell biology atVictoria University in Australia, makes use of all three of these hooks when sheteaches. Instead of memorizing dry lists of body parts and systems, her studentspractice pretending to cry (the gesture that corresponds to the lacrimal gland/tearproduction), placing their hands behind their ears (cochlea/hearing), and swayingtheir bodies (vestibular system/balance). They feign the act of chewing(mandibular muscles/mastication), as well as spitting (salivary glands/salivaproduction). They act as if they were inserting a contact lens, as if they werepicking their nose, and as if they were engaging in “tongue-kissing” (motionsthat represent the mucous membranes of the eye, nose, and mouth, respectively).Dickson reports that students’ test scores in anatomy are 42 percent higher whenthey are taught with gestures than when taught the terms on their own.
Example of the use of visual, auditory, and proprioceptive methods used in the pedagogy of anatomy.
- Sep 2021
A well written review of Annie Murphy Paul's The Extended Mind. Matthew Cheney has distilled a lot out of the book from his notes with particular application to improving pedagogy.
I definitely want to read this with relation to not only using it to improve teaching, but with respect to mnemotechniques and the methods oral and indigenous societies may have either had things right or wrong and what Western culture may have lost as a result. I'm also particularly interested in it for its applications to the use of commonplace books and zettelkasten as methods of extending the mind and tools for thought.
Bigger is better.
Research shows that high-resolution monitors make thinking easier. This also seems true of classrooms which use large posters and maps as teaching aids at lower grades.
Why don't we use these methods as we grow older?
When used in mnemonic traditions, one can use vast spaces to create memory palaces that become thinking vistas within the brain. How can we better leverage these effects while still maintaining the effectiveness of focused journeys?
One of the less developed ideas in The Extended Mind concerns the things we prioritize in tech development. Too often, Paul says, we think speed is the height of achievement. Instead, we need technology that builds off of our innate, human capacities.
Perhaps we need more songlines in our instructional design?
This is also a plea for a more humanistic approach to technology in general.
Schools don’t teach students how to restore their depleted attention with exposure to nature and the outdoors, or how to arrange their study spaces so that they extend intelligent thought.
I'm reminded of Lynne Kelly's use of Indigenous Australian memory techniques which do both of these things at the same time: https://www.lynnekelly.com.au/?p=4794
Valorize motion, not sitting still.
I wonder how much of our genetic programming is based on centuries of evolution with humans moving around their landscapes and attaching their memories to them?
Within Lynne Kelly's thesis about stone circles, henges, etc. most of the locations have roads and entryways into them which require movement much less the idea of dancing and singing attached to memory performance as well.
We have piles of good research from the last few decades into how brains actually work. Or, if not how brains work (much remains mysterious!), what they like and don’t like.
We're also dramatically missing thousands of years of indigenous experience as well.
- method of loci
- digital humanism
- indigenous cultures
- instructional design
- thinking spaces
- stone circles
- memory palaces
- tools for thought
- commonplace books
- mnemonic pedagogy
- May 2021