Friday, May 25, 2012
A Portal for On-line Memory Techniques
A reader of this blog, Bruce Hopkins, recently told me about his new web-site portal for web-sites on memorization techniques. This site (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a wonderful resource. I just checked a few of the links and was pleased with what I found. Much of the information I already know, being the “Memory Medic,” but I learned some new things.
For example, the site that explains the “phonetic system” for memorizing numbers (http://www.got2know.net/) convinced me that you don’t always have to create words that are nouns. I have always thought nouns were essential, because they can be represented in a visual image. For example, I represent the number one with “tie,” but this site also suggests “the, do, and it.” While the latter three words have no visual image, they can be used to construct acrostics. That brings me to the site’s supposed best feature: it claims you can type in any long number and get an acrostic. But I could not get the interactive part of the site to work either on IE or Chrome.
A few sites focus on specific topics, such as medicine or chemistry. The medical site (http://www.medicalmnemonics.com/) has a browsing index that allows you find all their memory tips for a given body function. The chemistry site (http://img.com.tripod.com/mnemonics/chemistry.htm) has some good acrostics for memorizing the periodic table.
Another site has an interesting approach to memorizing text verbatim, as in Bible verses, speeches, quotations, etc. (http://www.productivity501.com/how-to-memorize-verbatim-text/294/). The emphasis is on recalling not repeating. This fits nicely with my view that self-testing is the key to good memorization. In this site’s approach, you re-write the text’s first letter of each word, and then practice recalling the original words by looking at the letters. The site even has dialog boxes where you can type in the text to memorize and it will display the first letters of each word you typed.
Another interesting site generates the equivalent of flash cards (http://fullrecall.com/). The software is similar to common flashcard programs: knowledge is stored in question-answer pairs. You add the question-answer pairs yourself. In review mode you are presented the questions, one by one. To every question you'll think about an answer, and after a while you'll be confronted with the correct answer. After seeing the correct answer, you'll be asked for a grade that estimates how well you remembered the correct answer.
Another flashcard site (http://www.flashqard-project.org/) is very robust. Each computer generated flash card can accept multiple images (remember images are easier to remember than words) and has a search tool for on-line images. It even has a score tracker.
Some of these sites have links to other sites. For example, I stumbled on Anki, a flash card system that synchronizes your cards across multiple computers, and has a smart-review algorithm that schedules the spacing of self-testing sessions based on how difficult you thought each given card was to answer. See http://ankisrs.net/
In addition, there are links to several mind map programs, dictionaries, repositories of synonyms and rhymes.
I look forward to seeing Bruce’s portal evolve as he finds and adds new memory sites.