Data Pilot

January 17, 2010  |  Free Math Software  |  No Comments

Data Pilot expands the available data analysis options in Microsoft Excel with statistical methods that are nonparametric in nature. The methods that are used in Data Pilot provides the most relevant results, even with a small number of samples, without making any assumptions on the distribution of the original sample. Read More

Bringing Food to the Exam, A Good Thing?

December 30, 2009  |  Exam Taking  |  3 Comments

Some people do it, others do not. I’ve always wondered if bringing some snacks to the exam is more helpful than it is hurtful. Although I’m not entirely convinced to either side (yet) here’s my simple analysis of the problem (feel free give your own opinion in the comments). Read More

Hurray For Our New Sections!

December 22, 2009  |  2 Comments

As some of you have noticed, we now feature a new page called “subjects”. I’ve planned to add a number of different educational topics (such as math, physics, chemistry, literature, social sciences etc) and list free educational videos, lectures, softwares and guides! 😀
Read More

Graph v2.6

December 20, 2009  |  Free Math Software  |  1 Comment

If you are looking for a program that draws graphs of mathematical functions in a given coordinate system, look no further. The graphs can be added with your choice of color and line styles. Also, it supports standard, parameter and polar functions (hurray for polar coordinates :D). You can also evaluate a given function at some generic point or trace it with your mouse. Read More

This Weeks Quote #4

December 17, 2009  |  Education Quotes  |  No Comments

Education Quotes

It’s been a while and I feel it’s time to begin posting again. What better way to start the day than with a juicy quote. This weeks quote comes from a fellow by the name of Derek Bok, former president of Harvard University. Read More

November 24, 2009  |  No Comments

BLA

KWL Table/Chart

November 21, 2009  |  Note-Taking  |  1 Comment

A k-w-l (or k-w-l-h) table/chart is a form of graphical organizer, first introduced in the mid 80’s by a researcher named Donna Ogle.

It’s usually counted among instructional techniques, it sets out to answer the following three important questions:

(1). What I Know
(2). What I Want to know and
(3) What I’ve Learned.

By systematizing previous knowledge in such a fashion it becomes easier for an instructor or a student for that matter to keep track on what has been done previously and what needs to be done in the future.


How does it work?

Divide your paper into three different columns (equally large) just like in the picture below. In section “A” one writes down the current date and the particular course this applies to.

Section B, C and D follows the same order as the acronym KWL; in ‘B’ you write what you know right now. In section ‘C’ you write down what you would like to know and finally in the last section marked as ‘D’ you write down what new knowledge you’ve learned.

Further notes
Although a kwl chart is usually composed of the three columns previously mentioned some prefer to add a fourth and a fifth column; K-W-L-W-H. The second W stands for “Further Wanderings” where the student fills in additional thoughts that came to mind.

The addition of the final “H” was proposed by teaching instructor Margaret Mooney and it stands for How the students can gather further information on the subject.

Helpful resources

Blue Arrow pdf Download a template kwl chart – A downloadable template for kwl charts.
Blue Arrow Cornell notes – Article discussing a specific note taking technique.

Cornell Notes

November 21, 2009  |  Note-Taking  |  2 Comments

The Cornell note taking system is a systematic way of formating and organizing your notes, the system was initiated by an education professor at Cornell university in the late 50s.

There’s a link to an article by the Cornell University describing this system at the bottom of this page.

How does it work?

Cornell Note Taking System

Start out by dividing your paper into two columns (click on the image to enlarge). In area “A” (see picture) you fill in your notes as the teacher is speaking or while you´re reading your textbook.

When the lecture is finished you fill in your own questions concerning the notes. Comments or keywords are placed in area “B”.

You can then chose to cover section ‘A’ and ask yourself questions from the left column, this should be done regularly. Finally in section ‘C’ you write a small summary of the notes.

Further Notes

During the lecture, write in paragraphs, leaving a line between each new line of thought. Having your own shorthand mode might be a good idea. Try and stick with the general ideas rather than illustrative ones. And also try to write as legibly as you possibly can.

Helpful resources
Blue Arrow Pdf Explaining the Cornell notes system – By The Cornell University
Blue Arrow Download A Template Cornell Notes – A Microsoft Word file

Study Guide Pro

Speed Reading Test

November 21, 2009  |  Speed Reading  |  117 Comments

Do you want to find out how many words you can read per minute (wpm)?

(1) Click on the START button.
(2) Read the text and try to grasp as much as you possible can while doing so with the maximum amount of speed.
(3) Click on the FINISH button to see your results.
(4) See the box on the right for the interpretation of your results.

Nota Bene: The text that you are about to read is a short snippet taken from the Wikipedia entry on “reading”. If you are interested in learning how to improve your reading speed, the link on the right will help you do that.


“There are several types and methods of reading, with differing rates that can be
attained for each, for different kinds of material and purposes:

Subvocalized reading
combines sight reading with internal sounding of the words as if
spoken. Advocates of speed reading claim it can be a bad habit that
slows reading and comprehension. These claims are currently backed only
by controversial, sometimes non-existent scientific research.

Speed Reading
is a collection of methods for increasing reading speed without an
unacceptable reduction in comprehension or retention. It is closely
connected to speed learning.

Proofreading
is a kind of reading for the purpose of detecting typographical errors. One can learn to do it rapidly, and professional proofreaders typically acquire
the ability to do so at high rates, faster for some kinds of material than for others, while they may largely suspend comprehension while doing so, except when needed to select among several possible words that a suspected typographic error allows.

Structure-Proposition-Evaluation (SPE) method, popularized by Mortimer Adler in How to
Read a Book
, mainly for non-fiction treatise, in which one reads a writing in three passes: (1) for the structure of the work, which might be represented by an outline; (2) for the logical propositions made, organized into chains of inference; and (3) for evaluation of the merits of the arguments and conclusions.

This method involves suspended judgment of the work or its arguments until they are fully understood.

Survey-Question-Read-Recite-Review (SQ3R) method, often taught in public schools, which involves reading toward being able to teach what is read, and would be appropriate for instructors preparing to teach material without having to refer to notes during the lecture.

Multiple Intelligences-based methods, which draw upon the reader’s diverse ways of thinking and knowing to enrich his or her appreciation of the text. Reading is fundamentally a linguistic activity: one can basically comprehend a text without resorting to other intelligences, such as the visual (e.g., mentally “seeing” characters or events described), auditory (e.g., reading aloud or mentally “hearing” sounds described), or even the logical intelligence (e.g., considering “what if” scenarios or predicting how the text will unfold
based on context clues).

However, most readers already use several intelligences while reading, and making a habit of doing so in a more disciplined manner — i.e., constantly, or after every paragraph — can result in more vivid, memorable experience.”

How To Read Faster

November 21, 2009  |  Speed Reading  |  3 Comments

Speed reading is a controversial study technique meant to help individuals increase their reading speed. The main objective is to escalate the speed while retaining a good amount of comprehension. If you want to find out how fast you read, make sure to visit our speed reading test and find out for yourself.

This guide is meant as an introduction to speed reading for those who would like to know more. Before we dive into this subject, I would suggest we point out some of the benefits in learning this technique.

The reasons for mentioning these are quite obvious. It will serve as an incentive, making us more inclined to master the technique.

Benefits

Blue Arrow You will be able to read more books in a shorter time span.
Blue Arrow Learning new languages will become easier as your comprehension level most likely will rise (contrary to popular belief, speed reading could actually increase retention)
Blue Arrow It will leave you with more free time to do other things.

Methodology

The first question that comes to mind is of course; how do you go about doing this? There’s no simple answer to that really but there do exist a few things one ought to keep in mind:

Blue Arrow Know where you are: We are all familiar with the big red “You Are Here” dot featured on most maps. The map it self is pointless if you don’t know where you are to begin with, the same can be said about speed reading.

A good way to know where you stand in terms of speed reading is by simply taking the free speed reading test on our website. Please note that I’m planning on adding a comprehension test along with it.

Blue Arrow Read Frequently: This is the most important and the most fundamental part of all speed reading courses. Practice, practice and practice more. The general rule is that the more you read –> the faster you will read. Isn’t true that a runner who runs often improves his speed? Indeed he or she does and reading is not much more different in this aspect.

Blue Arrow Use a tool: A good way to start out is by using a pen or your own finger and use it to follow each sentence as you are reading. Try (gradually) moving your hand a bit faster and take notice of what happens with your eye movement. Your eyes will tend to follow the speed of your hand which is pretty amazing.

On a further note, using some sort of card, bookmark, or page-width item could help you increase speed in a more efficient way compared to using a pen. Wider objects will cover surrounding text which in turn prevents your eyes from wandering away.

Use interactive speed reading software: Advanced tools like software can provide you with a lot of practice exercises and an advanced progress tracking system which can help motivate you more to continue your learning and development in speed reading.

Blue Arrow Make less fixations: There are several different methods to speedreading and each approach might sound a little different but in the end they all work after the same principle, namely;
the lesser fixations made –> the faster one will read.

In other words; the fewer times your eye stops in a sentence, the faster you will read. Thus we can conclude that speed reading is – in it’s essence – the notion of reducing the number of times the eye needs to halt in order to comprehend the text being read.

Blue Arrow Separate the wheat from the chaff: Another fundamental part of speed reading is the notion of prioritizing content. In most of our books we find that there’s a lot of “unnecessary information” that you can just skim over. In order to find these unnecessary snippets, we have to pre-read the content. This means that you have to identify the most important parts of the book through skimming before you start the actual process of “reading”.

It takes a lot of practice to be able to distinguish important content from unimportant information. It’s therefore vital that you teach yourself to begin a reading session by looking over entire sections very quickly. Try to recognize patterns of repeated keywords, ideas, emphasized text (bold, italic etc) or other similar indicators of important concepts.

This will enable you to “pass by” large portions of the books content, slowing down only when you’ve reached something you know is important.

Facing Difficulties?
Learning how to speed read is not easy and some may experience a few difficulties on the road. Sometimes these issues are caused by external problems, not relating to the reading itself.

If you’re experiencing problems with concentrating on you’re reading material, please try the following:

Blue Arrow Have your eyes checked: Sometimes people read slowly because they have an undiagnosed problem with their vision. Even if you’re sure that there’s nothing wrong with your eyes, if you haven’t had an eye exam recently, there’s no time time to do it but now.

Blue Arrow Remove distractions: There are some people who claim they read better when listening to music or when they’re in a crowded café. The truth of the matter is, if you want to read faster you can not allow other things to compete for your attention.

The lesser the distractions, the faster you will read. You should try your best to find a solitary place to read and make sure that the TV is off. If it’s not possible to be find a solitary place, I would suggest the use of earplugs to drown out all the distraction.

Blue Arrow Don’t subvocalise: There is a common tendency among people to subvocalise or pronounce certain words to themselves. The degree to which people do this varies, some will for instance actually move their lips while others simply repeat the words in their head.

It doesn´t matter how you subvocalize (if you do so), it will slow you down! If you’re afflicted by this and want to break the habit, you need to try your out most to be conscious of it. If you can’t rid yourself from it by merely being conscious of it, then you might want to take some greater measures.

For instance, you could place your finger in your mouth when reading. Although this seems somewhat drastic it could be very helpful in overcoming the problem.

Further Tips
Blue Arrow Start out easy: It’s always hard to embrace new methods and this is why I recommend new students to start out by reading a book that they’ve already read. By doing so, you will have it much easier to skip certain passages and keep up a good smooth flow while doing so.

Blue Arrow Big fonts > Small fonts: Another good thing to keep in mind – if you are new to speed reading – is to keep yourself from reading text written in small fonts. Start out by reading books with larger font sizes since they make it harder to skip lines by mistake.

Blue Arrow Understand the purpose: My final and most important advice to you is; never forget the purpose of why you’re reading what you’re reading. Some things are simply not meant to be read fast even if you can grasp all the facts. There are times when you just want to enjoy a certain text’s nuance and beauty and this can never be experienced through speed reading.