Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Learning curves

When I'd finished writing the previous post yesterday, I did a spot of Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training on my Nintendo DS Lite - got to keep Edublogger off my back! I have found that it's usually better to do this stuff in the morning; presumably that's why in primary school we spent the morning doing sums (always beginning with "mental") and spelling and left the afternoon for the quieter occupations of essay-writing and sewing. (Now there's a thing. As an English specialist I would now have to object to that, in the same way as I used to ban my Higher pupils from discussing maths in my room). However, the morning was long gone and I hadn't done my daily training. It was time to get on with it.

I discovered two interesting things. The first was actually slightly scarey: I found that when I had completed 100 sums - the "difficult" mode, including subtraction and division as well as the usual addition and subtraction - the front of my head felt .... warm. Warm in the way my ear does when I've been using my mobile phone. According to Dr K, "Quickly solving equations makes the prefrontal cortex quite active", and here I was feeling I had a hot head. Question: is your prefrontal cortex situated between your eyebrows?

And then I made the second discovery - because I went on to do the Brain Age check. For this, you have to do three randomly-selected tests (so they're not always the same): a Stroop test, plus a word memory test and a number-recoginition test were the ones last night. And my brain age had gone down to 33! Hurrah! I hadn't done the test for a week because I was unwilling to have it go back up from the 44 I'd reached - but the proof is above for all to see so I'll risk it again next week. In defence of my sparring partner who appears to be 80, I have to say that he's in the throes of composition at the moment with a deadline to meet - a sort of musical "Ready Steady Cook" - so sums and words aren't really on the agenda.

And my last discovery since last post came thanks to Bishop Martin, who keeps denying any tincture of geekery. I learned how to insert colour into my text. I've only been at it for a year - how sad is that?


  1. Hurrah! I'm a "big sister" at last! I'll never be as young as you.

  2. They say music and maths go together... Rubbish!

    Glad to hear you are getting younger in your years of retirement!

  3. Anonymous11:44 PM

    I have a 'lovely' turd year class. I see them first thing in the morning 3 days a week, and right after lunch on the fourth day... Guess which day is most likely to involve writing a critical essay based on a DVD!

    Having seen how much you've enjoyed the Brain stuff, I'm almost tempted to ask Santa for one of these new-fangled thingies for Christmas!

  4. Neil, last period on Thursday was for a whole year the period for expanding the film experience of a Foundation S4 who came straight from PE. Things like The Name of the Rose, Romeo + Juliet, The Mission, Cry Freedom - they loved it and it saved my sanity.
    And they all got general passes in the end!

  5. Anonymous12:59 AM

    So I need some practice duffy (don't we all). Too busy trying to write music ("a mere musician") - spot the quote? Jolly unsporting of Mrs. B to flaunt her superior performance I'd say (for now!)

  6. Welcome, Mr B! Indeed. I too am in the middle of writing music - an assessement, of course!

    I think that getting to grips with the gadget is a task in itself. I'm sure you'll be in your 20s after knowing which buttons to push - a bit like logic 7...

  7. Anonymous9:18 PM

    I suspect that thee and me would have got on great in the same department!
    I'd add Killing Fields, Full Metal Jacket and Singing in the Rain to that list of films... and some extras like Murder in the First and/or Shawshank Redemption. Top the whoe lot off with Jaws!

  8. Have a feeling you're right, Neil - what a partnership, eh?