Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Learn English Words - Cab

Watch and Understand: The power of video for teaching vocabulary.

And for the geeky science buffs out there: remember that rich experiences (those that engage several senses) are more deeply encoded the brain.

We often use simple images to teach words like "cab," of course. But I'm betting that this video presentation will get the job done faster and better (e.g. better retention later on) because it is so visually and auditorially rich.

Chalk up one more reason why schools need to get with 21st century and stop blocking YouTube - especially for adult learners.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Writing by Hand is Good for you - and your Learners!

Creative Commons licensed photo from Flickr

Check out this article from the Wall Street Journal about How Handwriting Trains the Brain.

Some interesting points:
  • writing characters by hand improves retention of new information when learning a new script or becoming literate for the first time.  Teachers of non-literate adults:  make sure they are practicing writing their letters, not just reading them!
  • writing text out long-hand may help keep your brain "sharp" as you age - it's "cognitive exercise"!
  • children wrote more (more words, more ideas) in assignments done by hand than at the keyboard, indicating that the act of putting pencil to paper may improve writing output for learners.
  • applications are coming out for touch-screen devices (smart phones, iPad) that allow you to input text by drawing the characters on screen with your finger or a stylus.  Could adult learners use something like this to learn the alphabet?  Anybody out there have a iPad to try it on?
Anecdotally, I'll add that I always prefer to start writing on paper before turning to the keyboard, if the text I'm working on is complex or requires much creative thought.

And thanks to Larry Ferlazzo for sharing this on his website of the day blog and tipping me off to it.

Creative Commons licensed photo by Dan4th on Flickr