Studying isn’t about just cramming facts into memory banks. It can be difficult to absorb information and store it for future retrieval when memorizing a collection of dry facts that lack meaningful organization. Utilizing proper study techniques helps the brain process learned information by grouping it into formats that are usable, and more importantly, retrievable. This process can be enhanced by adding a fun and inventive twist to studying which will keep a student engaged.
One of the world’s leading academic summer camps teaches students ranging from grades 4 through 12 critical learning and life skills, while also keeping them engaged in new and interesting ways. SuperCamp bridges the gulf between a student and his or hers coursework by approaching the subject matter intuitively and equipping them with a wide range of study skills and advantageous techniques that cater specifically to their learning style.
A camp favorite at SuperCamp is Mind Mapping, a method developed by Tony Buzan in the 1960’s that promotes active learning through colorful picture and word associations. The goal of Mind Mapping is to get creative! Personalizing the information in a way that employs both sides of the brain is the key to this learning technique. Anyone who needs to organize information easily for absorption can use this technique, whether in preparation for an exam, a book report, planning an event, or tackling a challenging problem.
How does Mind Mapping work? The first step is to turn the page horizontally. This gives you room to spread outwards. Since it is important to always be aware of the big picture, your first addition to the page should be the main idea of the subject at hand. As an example, consider the life cycle of a plant. You could choose to simply write this in the center of the page, but it would be more beneficial to the learning process if a picture is included that will signify the topic, like a quick sketch of a plant. From there, draw branches stemming from the main idea that represent important points: how a seed germinates, where a plant gets its nutrients, the process of photosynthesis, and the pollination of flowers. Each point can be paired with a picture and at least three different colors should be used throughout.
The use of color stimulates the imaginative portion of the brain – additionally, it captures and holds the Mind Mapper’s attention. The pictures paired with words will help the brain form associations that can be easily recalled at a later date. The final product should resemble the many branches of a tree surrounding a central idea. The more unique your mind map is, the easier it will be to retain the information!
With a strong foundation formed at an early age, students can develop study skills that work best with their mode of learning. A student who is able to manipulate content in a mentally stimulating way will be much less apprehensive about learning new material, which may set a trend in years to come. James Ohnoki, a SuperCamp graduate and earnest believer in Mind Mapping, felt that Mind Mapping brought about a new level of understanding to his study habits and became a major turning point in his academic career. The visual elements helped him connect facts to a bigger picture, while the drawing and coloring aspects gave him license to be as creative as he wanted.
Students like James Ohnoki will be astonished at how effective the learning techniques they develop at SuperCamp will transform their study habits and turn them into interactive learners. It will bridge the gap between their coursework and comprehension, and start them down the road toward academic success. With learning techniques like Mind Mapping at their disposal, students will find the way to success is remarkably less difficult to traverse.
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