Just a day

So you will have gathered that I am in the middle of my exams, but I am also, for the first time, having a lot of time to actually reflect on time itself. Not that I was ever getting less time before, but my use of time is much more efficient than it was a few weeks ago.

What is a day?

Strictly speaking a day consists of twenty four hours, or 1440 minutes. Whatever way you look at it may depend on how you use your day, rather than it just being another day.

Self-made study clock

Clock showing different activities

This is a quick mock of my imaginary clock, the day before I prepare to study. Why can’t I pack everyday like this? If not studying, doing something, simply rest time. Or is it just me?

Revision: longer hours

For example, during the year I used to potter about, at a slow(er) pace to get things done, now that I am under time pressure (due to exam timetables) I have to make proper use of my time. As a result, my minutes often need to be exhausted, positively. My hours need to be used wisely, and my days need to be planned to maximise what I can do in them.

Importance of having a viewpoint

In this case I am directly referring to myself and my exams. But time management is really important for each and every one of us! I have found that having a focus (by having a deadline) has made me use my time better than I have been doing. In a previous post, titled time, I acknowledged that time is precious etc. But I didn’t acknowledge:

  • production – productivity – of how much more can be done in a day, a week, a month, a year …
  • the power of our mind over time constraints
  • really appreciating a good rest
  • appreciating time to cook a homemade meal – one that takes a few hours, and gets everyone talking about good food (and drink)

How to adjust our own time?

Well, one thing is certain in life: life will continue to ‘tick’ regardless of what we think, what we do, and how we do it. So use your time wisely – do something you want to do! How? Adjust your clock – make your day full of things you can do, things you will remember – one day you might be lucky enough to reminenance on the good times. Something is better than nothing! Good luck doing it too.

Post 79, over and out

Mobile power

Our friend …

Earlier today I couldn’t help but find myself looking at my mobile (cellular) phone when waiting on my lunch to heat up. It got me thinking about something completely different, so much so, the content I have been learning in preperation for my exams this week, almost, just almost went to the back burner: are our mobile phones our friends, our companions, or are they our enemy?

Mobile friendly

In technology terms, mobile friendly means that technology devices communicate effectively with our portable mobiles, so we can have (i) a longer battery life, (ii) a better view of a web site – such as a mobile version, for (iii) quicker access for 3G speed (the speed most mobile’s pick up today). But in everyday language, mobile friendly takes on a new role, a new meaning: it enables us to connect with people, the world and stop ourselves from feeling too alone.

Mobile companion

Rather than a friend, some people use their mobile’s to help them with their everyday situations. For example, using it to send a text message into a TV show’s competition. A mobile can easily become a part of a person. For some, it’s almost glued to their hands. For others, it enables people within (the Information) society to switch off, or at least play down what is actually going on in their real lives. This could be looking at a video, sending a message on Facebook, or using one of the latest apps, such as, DrawSomething. In a way, a mobile does allow us to switch off the reality lights in or lives, or at least make them dull for a few minutes. But where is the balance?

Mobile enemy

Our mobile’s are generally always with us, in our pocket, in our bag, in our laptop case …. But does this mean we always have a distraction around us? Does this mean that we can easily not tackle the real things in our lives, as easy as they once were? Let me explain:

Several decades ago, whenever mobiles were unheard of, I think it would be safe to say that jobs would have got done as and when they needed to be done, there were fewer distractions. If there were, it would have been a delay in obtaining the food, lighting the fire etc. Today, with a mobile, dinner at 5pm could be on the table for 6pm, if not later!

I’ll start dinner after I text …

Mobile perks

Like most things in life, there needs to be a balance on the user – the actual person using the technology, rather than the technology itself. So if we have this balance, what are the benefits of mobile phones?

  • mobile reminders
  • mobile calendar
  • available for family and friends, even emergencies
  • alarms
  • chance to express ourselves (albeit slight), so things like background images, a customised ringtone, or even our own apps!
  • increased online connectivity – current affairs, checking email etc.
  • quick communication – text message to a family member/friend
  • maps if you’re stuck somewhere
  • Quick responce (QR) scans – these are the little black and white boxes you see on posters, or other marketing materials, usually taking you to a website related to that content
  • Skype
  • Online shopping

There’s definately more than I could list, but whatever you use your mobile for, remember to have the balance of life. The balance of social situations. Why not call one of the people in your contacts and arrange to go for a coffee? Life really is short, and it does take someone to get the ball rolling.

Don’t become too engrossed with your mobile, it is full of great things, but it also cannot do (and shouldn’t do) some good old fashioned things (like meeting your friends and family). Meeting people physically is much, much better than virtual (Skype, Facebook) means.

Mobile and exams

In relation to distraction and revision, try to switch off your mobile. If you can’t do this, silent (no vibration) is close enough. Check it whenever you are having a revision break – it could be your mini reward for all that studying you’re doing! Last but not least, use it after you have completed an exam – communicate. Especially if you’ve been studying for a few days in a row, often a mobile allows us to easily communicate with our friends and family. So don’t forget to have fun, especially if you haven’t had a real break in a while.

Post 78, over and out

Learning styles, find yours!

Post 22:

With September passed (hopefully off to a good start) for many students’ and new staff members at companies, the chances are you’ll need to learn new stuff. For some it will be programming, others it might be Microsoft Office, or an internal system for a specific company.

First thing’s first, you’ll be eager about the topic/company/University, that’s a really good start. You will also be settled into your new post/position. This actually helps because if you are enjoying/having fun your chances of remembering are greatly increased.

Now onto the more personalised stuff, your unique learning style. To stand out from the crowd it is best to adapt an effective learning style that suits you, and hardly anyone else. Learning may be universial, memory isn’t.

what is your learning style

    • Audio
    • Visual
    • Practical (or Kinesthetic)
    • the list goes on …

Audio means that you learn (or remember) something by noise/sounds. Sometimes, audio learners actually say a sentence, or pieces of a topic out loud to take it in. That’s right, you’re not mad, your an audio learner if you have to say or hear something in order to remember it.

Books with headphones

Visual learning doesn’t require one to be artistic. It simply requires you to adapt a way of visualising a topic in your head. Most do this by diagrams (such as, spider diagrams, coloured trees etc). Most visual learners use keywords (or buzzwords) to recall a specific point of a topic. One word (can) leads to a whole sentence because of the different associations with that word/phrase.

Coloured pens

Practical learners tend to do better if they can physically use there hands to capture the moment/content. For example, some people construct an object which has meaning to them.

Learning what’s right for you is paramount. However, knowing what type of style you have doesn’t necessary mean you’ll succeed in your chosen topic. Try to make associations, such as, sounds, what was happening in the news the day you learnt about World War II (as an example). The more associations you have, the more triggers you can activate in any given situation. Yes, this includes exams, presentations etc

Post 22, over and out. Good luck

(14) eLearning or money?

Post 14:

In the UK all children must be educated. Most young learners (today) stay on to complete their GCSEs then proceed to study A-Level’s. With the recent reports (including previous posts on this Blog) of the rising costs of tuition fees, it makes one think “will there be as many people going to go to University?”

Of course, the Open University announced plans to rival ‘real’ Universities, they are going to charge slightly lower fees than those on UCAS. In theory, the Open University is “distant learning.” What about other forms of learning, credited courses? Take the example of an online, elearning website. This site offers potential students’ to study business alongside ICT. Has technology gone too far at giving qualifications (in the form of certificates etc) to anyone, anywhere?

Whilst the internet does not have complete control over its content, is learning a subject/area which needs to be looked after? I.e., can we keep control over how good a qualification is, or should elearning be banned completely?

Post 14, over and out.