micronotes: On Learning Through Teaching

micronotes: On Learning Through Teaching

From Olga Khazan for The Atlantic:

Because we’re all getting dumber in the age of Google…

First off, we’re smarter than ever. We’re just overspecializing – we only need to fully understand the info to accomplish our tasks and have cursory knowledge accessed through the smartest database on earth.

What learning is to Ulrich Boser: learning is to internalize information to the point of affecting our reasoning abilities. I like that.

Boser: Then ultimately you gain that knowledge so that you can shift your own thinking, so when you see a new problem you’re better able to solve it.

Boser: Re-reading and highlighting are particularly ineffective. They’re just passive, and you are just kind of skimming that material.

There was a good quote from someone that one only really knows the material if they can explain it. Maybe to a five-year-old.

I’ve been a great fan of flash card systems like the Chinese dictionary app Pleco, who use the Spaced Repetition technique to bring up cards that may have been forgotten, and recently bought Anki for use with more general topics like Islam and Indonesian. Boser also recommends the software – get it! Even if you forget something, the flash card will find its way to your eyes sooner or later.

Boser: The other thing that’s particularly helpful about teaching other people is that you have to think about what is confusing about something, and how you’d explain that in a simpler way, and so that makes you shift the way that you’re thinking about a certain topic.

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