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As a biology teacher I am sometimes teaching about how our brain (memory) works. One way to test it is to read out loud the words while my students listen (between 10 and 40 words). When all words have been read they have 2 minutes to write them down.

Depending on the number of words and on the words themselves the results differ a lot. For example, if the words are interconnected ("hammer", "nail") those pairs are remembered quite well.

If you do this with 10 groups you have a problem: There is no way to read the list 10 times in the same way. Two solutions:

(1) Tape you reading and simply play the MP3-file.

(2) Display the words.

As a programmer (2) is much easier and more fun ;-) As I love PythonQt4 I simply wrote an application doing this:

As you can see I added a couple of words lists: One syllable, two syllables, more than two syllables and five lists of similar sounding words (man, ham, spam, damn, ...). You can configure the display time and see all words of a list. I am using a projector to display the words in the classroom.

This application is doing exactly one thing and is doing it well (ok, it won't win a design award...). As far as I know there is no such tool for schools around. So I wonder if there is a place for this kind off application. It is to specialized for kdeedu or Plasma, I think.

By the way: The application has only 129 lines of code including 11 lines of licence, 10 lines for the data, comments and white space. Python + Qt4 rocks :-)


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 2nd, 2008 08:35 am (UTC)
reading vs hearing
Would I be right in thinking that you tend to get different results having your students read the words and when you have them hear them? Have you noticed any difference, or is it one of those things that just balances out in a large group? Maybe certain words are remembered easier because of their spelling, whereas others have a more memorable sound?
Oct. 2nd, 2008 03:06 pm (UTC)
Re: reading vs hearing
The selection of words is very important, indeed. Some people learn better when seeing things, other when doing things, others when... But all in all the balance each other out pretty much.

But from student to student the results really differ a lot.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )