Tag Archives: education

Good News Monday: The Pen IS Mightier

Of course, writers intuitively know this.

Handwriting leads to faster learning than typing or watching videos

StudyFinds.com

by John Anderer

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BALTIMORE, Md. — Taking notes with a plain old pen and paper is becoming more antiquated by the day. However, a new study finds handwriting is actually the superior learning option, beating out both typing and watching videos when it comes to quickly picking up new information. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University report that handwriting is “surprisingly faster and significantly better” for learning certain skills.

“The question out there for parents and educators is why should our kids spend any time doing handwriting,” says senior author Brenda Rapp, a Johns Hopkins professor of cognitive science, in a university release. “Obviously, you’re going to be a better hand-writer if you practice it. But since people are handwriting less then maybe who cares? The real question is: Are there other benefits to handwriting that have to do with reading and spelling and understanding? We find there most definitely are.”

Pen and paper triples learning speed?

A group of 42 participants took part in the study. Researchers taught each person the Arabic alphabet after separating them into three learning groups: pen and paper, typing, and video watching. After all participants had been “introduced” to an Arabic letter via a short video, subjects had to attempt to absorb the new information according to their assigned learning group. The typing group had to find the letter they just saw on a keyboard. The video group saw an on-screen flash of a letter and had to answer if it was the same letter they had just seen. The handwriting group had to copy the letter with pen and paper.

By the time participants across all three groups had finished six “learning sessions,” pretty much everyone was able to recognize the letters. However, the writing group reached this level much faster than the other two groups, after an average of just two learning sessions.

Next, study authors set out to see if any of the groups could “generalize” their new knowledge. In simpler terms, while it’s great that they could identify the Arabic letters they had just learned, could they actually use them to write, spell new words, and recognize unfamiliar words? The writing group excelled in all three of those categories to a much larger degree than either the typing or watching groups.

“The main lesson is that even though they were all good at recognizing letters, the writing training was the best at every other measure. And they required less time to get there,” explains lead author Robert Wiley, a former Johns Hopkins University Ph.D. student who is now a professor at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

Ultimately, the handwriting group showed far more of the skills necessary for expert adult-level Arabic reading and spelling.

Why do our brains react so well to paper?

As far as why handwriting is a cut above when it comes to learning, study authors believe it is because writing reinforces both visual and aural lessons. More specifically, they say that the very act of writing something down creates a “perceptual-motor experience” that fosters “richer knowledge and fuller, true learning.”

“With writing, you’re getting a stronger representation in your mind that lets you scaffold toward these other types of tasks that don’t in any way involve handwriting,” Wiley adds.

While these findings involved only adults, researchers are confident their work applies to children as well.

“I have three nieces and a nephew right now and my siblings ask me should we get them crayons and pens? I say yes, let them just play with the letters and start writing them and write them all the time,” Wiley concludes.

The study appears in the journal Psychological Science.

Communication

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Fascinating news, shared from TheEndangeredMind622:

Kangaroos can learn to communicate with humans, researchers say

Kangaroos can learn to communicate with humans similar to how domesticated dogs do, by using their gaze to “point” and ask for help, researchers said in a study published on Wednesday.

The study involved 11 kangaroos that lived in captivity but had not been domesticated. Ten of the 11 marsupials intently gazed at researchers when they were unable to open a box with food, according to the report. Nine alternately looked at the human and at the container, as a way of pointing or gesturing toward the object.

“We interpreted this as a deliberate form of communication, a request for help,” Alan McElligott, the Irish researcher who led the study, told Reuters in a call from Hong Kong.

“Wild species are not really expected to behave as those subjects were, and that’s why it is surprising.”

The findings challenge the notion that only domesticated animals such as dogs, horses or goats communicate with humans, and suggests many more animals could grasp how to convey meaning to humans, the paper asserts.

“We’ve previously thought only domesticated animals try to ask for help with a problem. But kangaroos do it too,” concluded co-researcher Alexandra Green from the University of Sydney.

“It’s more likely to be a learned behaviour when the environment is right.”

SYDNEY, Dec 16 (Reuters). Reporting by Paulina Duran in Sydney; Editing by Karishma Singh.

………………………………..

This is all very cool. Now, my question is:

Can kangaroos teach humans how to communicate with each other???

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Good News Monday: Fiction Isn’t Rotting Teen Brains After All

Researchers at University College London’s Institute of Education recently reported that teens who read novels rather than non-fiction are six months ahead of their peers in reading skills.

After analyzing data from 250,000 teens in 35 Western countries, they concluded that the 15-year-olds had significantly stronger reading skills than those who read non-fiction, magazines, comics, or newspapers for pleasure. The lead researcher pointed out that fiction requires a person to focus on long, continuous text, which improves not only reading skills but learning to avoid distractions.

This apparently holds true even when a novel is poorly written.

fashion woman girl women

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The Curmudgeon Chronicles

Although I believe in putting less negativity into the world, sometimes you just need to bitch a little. So today I’m going to sound like an old fuddy-duddy (a wonderful expression that first appeared in print around 1871) and share some observations that trouble me.

1) The dumbing-down of language. I should first admit that years of writing advertising copy have destroyed my prior knowledge of grammar and punctuation. (I now rationalize any errors as part of my “style”.) Some pet peeves:

  • The inability to differentiate “its” (possessive) from “it’s” (contraction of “it is”) and “lose” from “loose”
  • “I’m bored of…” vs.“bored with” – and why are you bored? You’re 22!!
  • “A couple” days/fuddy-duddies/etc. Where’s the “of”?
  • “Thanks for having me” vs. “inviting me”, unless it was indeed a sexual encounter
  • The overuse of “awesome”, which should be reserved for references to Yosemite, the pyramids, or God—not a latte with an extra shot

Check out the following job requirements I received from a recruiter:

“…High intellectual curiosity and hunger to learn in ambiguous environment.” Does this mean I’d be working in a place that looks like a dry cleaner but is actually a front for organized crime?

“Excellent written and vertical communication.” Are they asking the candidate to write while standing on a ladder? Having sex in a shower?

Also, when did “work stream” become a thing? Let’s reserve that for trout fishermen and gold miners.

2) The sorry state of education. In a recent survey, students at a Texas university did not know the name of our current Vice President, who won the Civil War, or when the American Revolution was fought (one student suggested 1677). However, all of these students knew the names of Brad Pitt’s current and former wives and what show Snooki was on. (Oops, I’ve ended with a preposition. It’s not easy being the Word Police!)

3) Breathless weather reportage. Haven’t we always had floods, snow, etc.? Today’s descriptions remind me of olives: “huge”, “gigantic”, “colossal”….

4) Hold times so long I could bake a cake from scratch while I wait for my utility, bank or Internet “provider” to pick up. Adding insult to injury, when I finally reach a human, he or she usually can’t “provide” a solution so I have to call back.

5) AT&T. You sign up for a monthly plan. Yet somehow every bill remains different, despite the fact that we never order a single movie or call exotic countries. WTF?!

Whew; venting is hard work! Please share your own pet peeves below and once you’ve gotten them off your chest, let’s all enjoy another glorious day!