The end of the semester is here and with it, the end of my learning project for my EDTC300 class.
For my learning project I decided to learn how to study (better) and, to be honest, it was kinda stressful. I was already stressed out about having to study but on top of that I needed to study how to study better? Even saying it kinda gives me anxiety. However, looking back on it I really loved the subject I chose. It not only benefits me, it benefits all my classmates. It also is a subject that anyone from EDTC300 can voice their thoughts on because they all have studied and can contribute.
Here is a brief rundown on all my learning project posts!
Let’s learn…to decide!
I was struggling to decide between learning frisbee and how to manage my time better. In the end I decided on neither of them but time management is correlated to studying better right? Right….?
Studying how to Study
Some tips I found for this blog post were
- using treats to motivate yourself
- using apps to block out distracting sites/apps
- listening to music
- don’t study at just one spot, move around
The treats tip was a bust because I have no self control and constantly snacked on it. I looked for apps to try out and talked about using one in my next blog post, but that also was a bust. Listening to music was very helpful because it drowns out distracting noises and it helps me get motivated. This blog states that listening to Mozart improves mental performance but I personally don’t like Mozart so I stuck to my own music that had no lyrics. Moving around was surprisingly helpful. When I started to feel like I was losing focus, I packed up all my stuff and walk around to find a new study space. The little amount of exercise I got from walking around helped to wake me up.
Daniel, Killer of Trees
For this post, I tried using the iTunes app Flora. It’s an app where you plant a tree and you have to stay on the app till the tree fully grows or you kill it, making you plant a tree all over again. The app is supposed to make you stay away from distracting sites by making you feel guilty about killing trees, but as you can see from the title of the post, I have killed many trees. So many trees.
When I made this post, I was just overwhelmed. It was right before my Math midterm and I just could not focus on studying. With only an hour before my midterm, I needed something that will get me to focus. I tried researching how to get myself out of this burnt out state but most of what I found was to prevent yourself from getting burnt out. Things like managing your time wisely, exercising, eating healthy and so on, but I needed something immediate. The only helpful thing I did find was caffeine. I don’t drink coffee because I am super sensitive to caffeine so I tried getting a bottle of coke and it worked! I gave me the necessary amount of energy to take the midterm and then I just crashed. If you ever find yourself burnt out but have a deadline approaching soon, try drinking coke!
Trying not to freeze….
If you ever need something to do to relax or want to take a break, try going outside. There are many benefits of being out in nature. For me, personally, I like to get away from the noise of cars, constructions, and people. I like being out in nature by myself, listening to music or just listening to birds chirping and the snow crunching under my shoes. You don’t have to drive yourself to the middle of nowhere, just try going outside to a nearby park, walk your dog! You’d be surprised at what a little fresh air can do for you.
Could you repeat the whole class? I wasn’t listening.
I was blown away by this statistics that I found on this site.
According to Walter Pauk (84), people lose their retention at the following rates:
This means that by the time you get out of class and start you next class, you already forgot almost half of what you learned in the previous class! This highlights the importance of taking notes for class materials. I was having a little trouble taking notes in my English class because the professor liked to go back to a previous point, adding on to it and I, not having left any room to add in more notes, don’t write down those new points. So, to combat this I decided to try out a note taking method called the Cornell Method.
Holding back the urge to bust out in song during class.
For this post, I tried something new during lectures. I listened to my music while listening to lectures. The reason for doing this was because I was having trouble focusing because I was so sleepy. Research has shown that listening to music improves mental alertness, and it really did for me. I was more awake during lectures and was able to actually learn form the professor instead of going back on my notes to teach myself. So this gets me thinking, why did my high school teachers not let me listen to music during class? It is definitely something to think about when I become a teacher myself.
I tried out the Cornell note taking method but made a few tweaks to it. These are the pros and cons I listed in my post.
Pros for the new method: It gives me space to add in additional notes. If you can decipher my writing, you can see that the blob of notes on the top left hand side and the middle right hand side have arrows pointing toward another blob of notes. This is to indicate that the notes are correlated. If I had taken notes the regular way, there would have been limited, if any, space for me to write new notes.
Cons for the new method: It looks chaotic to me. It may be just because I’m not used to it but it definitely looks messier than my usual method. I am also not used to using this method. For today’s class I noticed I went back to my usual method because it is my usual means of writing notes.
Attention span of only 25 minutes
I had found a youtube video that was very informative and I had learned a lot from it. I hope you check it out yourself!
The main thing that blew me away was that the average person only has an attention span of 25 minutes. After that, our focus starts to waver. To help get you focused again, you should take breaks after 25 minutes and the breaks don’t have to be long to get your focus back, it can be just 5 minutes!
The only problem was that I have trouble limiting my break to just 5 minutes and my classmate Laura also shared my problem!
However, I realized something. The video says a MINIMUM of 5 minutes, it doesn’t say it has to be 5 minutes. You shouldn’t be having a ridiculously long break like 30 minutes, but you should give yourself enough time to feel refreshed and not be stressed about taking a long break. It’s better for you to take longer breaks and to study for longer than to stress about the amount of breaks you’re taking and end up burning out.
Quitting Cold Turkey
I tried out an app called Cold Turkey. It is an app where it blocks all the sites that are added in to its list for a time period that you decided on. One thing I found surprising is how long you can set the timer for. You can set it to 2020 and farther still. Here are some of the pros and cons for me:
- You can pick which sites to block and can set up personalized list for specific occasions.
- Some of the sites may have materials we need to help our homework/studies. For example, you need help on a math question and a quick googling gives you a Youtube video on how to do the question. However, you can’t watch it because you blocked Youtube for the next hour.
- You can still use your phone for social media.
A friend of mine happened to walk up to me when I had just searched on youtube “how to study” and he points to Thomas Frank says “I love him! He has good study tips!” so I decided to check him out. He didn’t disappoint. He talked about the Space Repetition Technique which could be utilized through flashcards. I am fan of flash cards and think they are a better way to retain memory, now I know why!
Imma go nap.
For my last learning project post, I looked in to the benefits of napping and how to maximize its effectiveness. Here are the tips I learned from Thomas Frank.
- Most people naturally get sleepy around 1-3PM.
- Keep your naps to 10-20 minutes.
- Don’t worry about taking long to fall asleep. Just lying down with your eyes closed relaxes you and has its benefits.
- Use eye mask and earplugs. A noise cancelling headphone if you have one and sleep on your back.
- Using apps like Pzizz to help you fall asleep.
- Take coffee naps where you drink a cup of coffee and immediately nap for 20 minutes afterwards.
The one problem with my learning project was that it is impossible to track how far I have progressed in terms of studying. It is impossible for my to compare grades to previous semesters because I am not taking the same classes. While it is impossible to see how much more efficient my studying is now, here are a few things that I have noticed about myself.
- I focus better in lectures now because listening to music improves mental alertness.
- I am able to study for longer because I take breaks more often.
- Taking notes have become more efficient by using a different note taking method.
- I go outside more which helps relaxes me and also is beneficial for both my physical and mental health.
- When I’m burnt out or sleepy but have to finish an assignment/keep studying, I drink coke. Although it is not healthy, I am more alert after drinking it.
Although this was not talked about in my blog posts, but it is something I noticed only because I had my learning project on my mind. How much I eat greatly impacts my motivation to study. While it may be old news to some, it is new to me. If I eat too much, I get lazy and end up not studying afterwards. To combat this I eat about half the amount I would normally eat but eat more often.
Now that it is over, I enjoyed my learning project and I hope others enjoyed reading about it. Learning a new skill or improving on one by online resources taught me many things. It not only taught me how to study more efficiently, it taught me that there is a vast amount of information right at out finger tips. The use of technology is greatly beneficial in the learning process of students and should be implemented in to the class. Banning or restricting technology in the classroom is a waste of this tool. Students should be taught how to use technology efficiently instead of just restricting their uses.