Posted by Ellen Bremen on Apr 16, 2012 in General, General College Success/Responses to Other College Entities | 5 comments
(Happy Monday, all! I’m blogging on a slightly different day and a slightly different schedule this week. It’s a big announcement week for me! After today, I’m going to be taking you on a journey with me. Curious enough? First, I know many of you are moving into M.S.T.: Major Study Time and finals. This seems like the right time to get a little academic and talk about study tips, which I haven’t discussed much in this blog. One of my degrees is in Post-Secondary Ed, so I’ll draw on that a bit as I offer up some possibly unconventional advice.)
Did you know that your single best study tool is one that you may be overlooking?
(And no, it isn’t Facebook… but I’ll get to that. I promise!)
It’s your mouth!
(Stay with me here).
Here’s my moment where I get a little academic on you: One of the things I learned in my Post-Secondary Ed degree was Caine and Caine’s brain-based learning theory of “immersion.” The theory is so crazily simple: When we adults read about something, then write about that something, and do something with that… well, something, we “immerse” ourselves in the experience and have a greater possibility for connection and retention of the material.
For this reason, I have always wanted my students talking, talking, talking about what they are studying as much as possible, and in as many ways as possible.
Want to hear something else pretty insane? All of my quizzes are open book, open notes, and open friend.
That’s right! These are formative quizzes leading up to a departmental case study exam (which is not open book/notes/friend, just to be clear). I know if my students are hunting for the answers, then talking about them a bunch, and processing that information in cognitive and performance-based ways (so, thinking and doing), then they are making those deep brain-based connections.
Where does Facebook come into the picture? Well, I’m trying to be realistic. In the year that I’ve been using Facebook, I see that people use it. A lot. So I was trying to think of how you could use Facebook, which is something that you may like to do… and use it to do some talking about your studying… which is something I want you to do… all at the same time!
So what’s the communication lesson here… on Facebook? (but you can do these tips off Facebook, too)
1. Post what you intend to study before you study it.
If you can post about the movie you’re going to see and the sushi you plan to eat, there is no reason you can’t update your status about what you’re going to study. It will keep you accountable to say, “I’m about to study ________ for the next two hours. More updates to come.” I bet you’ll get a bunch of encouragement!
2. During your study time, post status updates about what you’re actually working on.
You have choices here: You can either tag a few pre-established friends and ask them if they can keep tabs on you throughout the process or you can just update to your whole population, if you are comfortable with that. Hey, think about the status updates others post (“Ugh! I’m soooooooo bored!”). You will actually be teaching people something! Go, you!
The key here is that you have to be very specific with your updates, “I just came up with a way to remember ___________ for my exam” or “Did you know that ___________?” That’s right… you’re going to be teaching your friends and family something new while they’re supporting your study session. And, again, you’ll be talking about your learning–making that brain-based connection for yourself!
3. We can’t overlook the obvious: Try a Facebook study session.
As long as you stay on track, there’s no reason Facebook can’t be used with other colleagues. You can either update with those who are actually in your class, or you can find a group of students in other classes who also need to study and do checks. You can take virtual breaks every hour and do something fun as a reward. Be sure to meet IRL, too, and celebrate your successes after the fact.
4. Remember to shout out for help on Facebook, too!
Your prof is your first line for assistance with classwork. You knew I was going to say that. But let’s move beyond that. If you need someone to quiz you, keep you accountable, help you come up with notes, or figure out that horrible equation, etc., then say, “Hey, is anyone out there available? I need a call/an hour at a coffee shop/a minute to help me with ___________.” My sister-in-law brilliantly posted a plea when she needed help with her kids’ faulty Wii. She had a friend over in a snap. Why in the heck not use your friend pool and their friend pool for study help?