Transcript Provided by YouTube:
This podcast differs from the other podcasts that I’ve done for two reasons.
Number one I’m going to be using prezi in this. Prezi is a presentation tool. You can
find it at prezi.com. And what it allows you to do is to create these really cool flash
based presentations that aren’t linear. In other words it’s not like a Keynote or a PowerPoint
where you have to go from one slide to the next. You can actually zoom around. And so
that will make sense. The second reason why it’s different than most of the podcasts I
do is that it’s not about content. It’s about learning. And what I’m finding this year is
that I’m getting way more questions from students about how do I learn or how do I learn correctly
or how do I learn different or I’m trying to learn and it’s just not working out. So
these are some tips that I think could help. I think it’s a good sign that students are
actually asking me how they learn. I think we’re seeing a big change in that in education
where students are starting to realize it’s actually up to you to figure out how to learn.
And teachers are there to help. But it’s not their responsibility to make sure that you
get it. And so those are kind of the two things. I’d love to get comments though on any of
this. And so I’ve kind of chosen 10 things that I think are important. And so we’ll zoom
around to those. What we’re dealing with today is something called metacognition. Metacognition
essentially means that it’s about thinking about thinking. Or learning about learning
is a better way to think about that. And so I’ve got a big brain. And for those of you
who are visual, this will be helpful. You can kind of remember some of it just from
where things are placed inside here. I’ll also, since this is a prezi, I’ll put the
web address for this prezi right here. I don’t know if my fingers are in the right spot.
And so you should be able to go view it and then kind of step through it on your own.
So without further ado, here we go. This in my number one first. That’s the idea that
you need to be honest and you need to be honest with yourself. And so I’ve got this great
M.C. Asher picture. And so what I mean be honest is that you have to be honest with
yourself. In other words, are you learning the material or are you not? And you have
to be the judge of that. Now the best way for me to see if students are learning what
we’re trying to learn, are what I’m trying to teach better, is if they can describe to
me how it works. In other words if I were to say how does a toaster work? A student
who knows a little bit about a toaster can say that you put bread in it. You push down
a little knob. And then it pops up. And then you have toast. And that would be kind of
factual recall about a toaster. But if you could describe it more specifically to me
out loud. Not just saying that I read about a toaster but saying a toaster works like
this. You put the bread in the slot. You push it down. It’s got high resistance coils that
go through. It heats up as those electrons try to push through. And that heats up the
toast. There’s a bimetallic strip in there with two types of metal that bend as it gets
hotter. And eventually it trips it. And then eventually the toast comes up. And that’s
why you can just push the toast down again. It will make that rattling kind of noise.
At least on older toasters. Now if you could say that then you have a really conceptual
understanding. But you’re not there unless you can describe that to somebody. It’s impossible
for me to do that now in the classroom because I’ve got 30 kids in each class. And so you
have to kind of find a way to do that. You have to talk to somebody and try to explain
it to them. My wife actually has to put up with that. I’ll talk through ideas with her
and she can ask me questions about it. She doesn’t have to know what I’m talking about.
She just has to listen. So that’s helpful. Next tip is the idea that you need to start
early. In other words. If I could give you one tip that I learned in college, it’s read
ahead of your teacher. If you can stay ahead of the teacher then you’re going to do well.
Let me give you an example of this. I started posting these podcasts for AP Biology last
spring. And so if you look on this chart you can see how many are viewed each day of the
videos. Now. This is like where we are kind of in October. But if you look back here.
Here’s when we had the AP Biology test. And so the AP Biology test which was this day.
And the videos were viewed 1200 times, something like that the day before. Now I don’t think
that was really helpful. In other words learning, you can’t do that the night before. And you
can’t cram the night before the test. And so you have to start early. And you have to
stay ahead of the teacher. In other words you can’t ask good questions if you’re reading
it after they’ve talked about it in class. So start early. It’s either watching podcasts
or reading the book. Next one is the idea to engage. And in class I need to physically
engage. What does that mean? It means that you’re paying attention in class. You’re letting
the teacher know that you’re interested in what they’re talking about. I can quickly
scan around the room and I can see which of my students are serious about learning. And
those are the ones looking at me or giving me direct eye contact. And so if you, even
if you have to fake it for awhile, if you give them direct eye contact. If you’re sitting
upright. If you’re asking questions. All of the sudden you’ll find that you’re engaging
in the material. And so you just have to fake yourself into doing it for awhile. It’s just
like smiling. If you can smile. Force yourself to smile, eventually you actually start to
feel a little bit happier. And so engagement is the same way. And teachers pick up on that.
They pick up on what students are actually paying attention to them and they’ll give
them more feedback. And they’ll give them more content. Also sitting through a lecture
can be really boring. But if you’re forming a question in your mind as your listening
to that lecture, and then you ask it, it really keeps you alert. And it also, I mean it heightens
everything inside you. And so you’re more excited about the content. And so engage.
Give eye contact. Be serious about your class. If you’re interested in learning. Next one
is the idea to teach. In other words you really won’t learn material until you have to teach
it to somebody else. An example of that, I never learned biology, I mean I was a biology
major in college, I never truly learned biology, molecular biology, even natural selection
for that matter until I started teaching it in high school. And so you have to teach.
An example of that is in Wikipedia. Why do people give to Wikipedia? Why do they give
knowledge to Wikipedia? They’re not doing it just to help Wikipedia. They’re doing it
to help themselves. And so you can teach by just talking to your mom and describing how
it works. Or talking to your spouse or whatever. But you can also do that by creating a wiki
or creating a document where you become an expert on it. And then you have to explain
that to people. Okay next idea is to study often. This is a wonderful curve. It’s called
the forgetting curve. And so if you look right here this is where you get new information.
And this is how long it takes for you to forget it. Now what we’ve found is that if you can
get exposed to that the next day, then you can bump up your forgetting curve. And so
you really wouldn’t have to see that for another few days, which would bump it up again. And
then you can eventually remember it. And so I don’t know if you’re familiar with Rosetta
Stone which is a way to learn foreign languages. But it’s based on this curve or the forgetting
curve. In other words you want to see information. And then a day later you want to see it again.
And then three days later you want to see it again. And so that reviewing is important.
So study early. Self evaluate is the next one. What that means is that you can’t evaluate
yourself when you actually have the test. If this is the first time you are evaluating
your understanding, you’re way too late. In other words you have to self evaluate. At
every step of the learning process, you have to take quizzes, you have to take practice
tests. You have to write questions that you then answer. You have to write essays. In
other words you have to evaluate where you are. And if you’re not doing that throughout
that whole learning cycle, you’re just not going to get it at the end. You can’t expect
to learn it right at the end. Next is the idea of vark. You can take these online. A
vark profile. What v stands for is visual. A is aural, in other words listening. R is
reading and writing. K is kinesthetic. And so if you are a visual person this prezi would
be very helpful. If you’re an aural person, perhaps writing a song or listening to a podcast
or a MP3 of this lecture would be important to you. If you’re a reader or a writer, that’s
the R, then do that. If you’re kinesthetic that means do something. It doesn’t mean like
act it out necessarily. But it means that you have to be doing something while you’re
learning. And so for me what I’ve found, I fairly kinesthetic is that I have to actually
write. And so by physically writing that allows me to connect my kinesthetic brain with my
regular brain. And so I can put knowledge in there and then it stays. Next is the idea
to take a break. In other words you can’t just sit down for an hour and try to study.
So studying for a half hour and then taking a 10 minute break is really really important.
And it also ties in with that whole idea. For me my best ideas invariably come in the
morning when I go for a run. And that’s because I’ve thought about it for awhile. I go out
there. I take a break. I look at it from a new perspective. And then I have a better
understanding. Next is the idea of please, have fun when you learn. This picture found
on wikipedia and it just, it’s a funny looking guy. It makes me happy. And so you’re learning
should be the same way. In other words you should make a study group. Study with other
people. Enjoy learning. Make a funny song. Make a funny video. Those are all helpful.
And then the last idea is that you need to set a goal. And so when you play soccer, they
have goals on either side of the field. And those, I love that name, because you constantly
work throughout the whole game. And so this is Lionel Messi, plays for Barcelona. I love
soccer. But it’s the idea that you’re going to have to push through constantly. And there
are going to be setbacks that whole time. And lots of times a soccer game will end 0-0.
Or 1-0. But it’s not like they give up. Because they don’t reach that. They constantly are
working and then they’re eventually trying to achieve that goal. And so to sum up, I
love this quote. It’s by Gandhi. You should live life as if you were to die tomorrow.
And learn as if you were to live forever. Learning is a skill that if you can pick it
up in high school or early in your life, it’s going to pay you benefits for the rest of
your life. And so I hope that’s helpful.
This post was previously published on YouTube.
Photo credit: Screenshot from video.