Edulinks – Personality, Productivity & Paradox

A veritable banquet of linkageness for the weekend.  As always, enjoy!

Freestyle Mind – Mental Math Tricks to Impress Your Friends

Complex sums aren’t always that complex at all.  You just need to know the tricks to get the answer fast.

PsyBlog – Does Delaying Decisions Lead to Better Outcomes?

Delaying a decision takes a person further away from whatever the ‘default’ decision would be.  Clearly a good thing if the default decision is rubbish, but not such a good thing if the default answer was best.  No wonder some decisions are so tough to make!

Registrarism – The global higher education revolution

Paul Greatrix, Registrar at Nottingham, points us toward an interesting piece about the way HE is changing around the world.  The piece offers “a grim prospectus but a realistic one”.  If the highlights get you thinking, I recommend you read the entire article.

World of Psychology – Off the Internet for 24 Hours
and
Chronicle – Students Denied Social Media Go Through Withdrawal

A study at the University of Maryland has examined how students feel when they give up all forms of media for a 24-hour period.  At first, it sounds as if the students collapsed into quivering wrecks due to their media addictions.  But the report doesn’t exactly report it like that.  World of Psychology explains:

“This study had far less to do with ‘addiction’ and ‘dependency’ than it did to show us that college students are using these tools as important ways for keeping in touch, connected, and informed. Taken from that perspective, that sounds a lot less like ‘addiction’ and more like ’empowering.'”

A different issue was raised in the report regarding students’ use of media:

“Students showed no significant loyalty to a news program, news personality or even news platform. Students have only a casual relationship to the originators of news, and in fact rarely distinguished between news and more general information.”

For further information, check World of Psychology’s more detailed report.

How To Get Focused – 8 Things Everybody Ought to Know About Concentrating

Fact: You have more ability to concentrate than you think.  Scott Scheper gives a huge insight into what is known about concentration and how you can exercise yours much better.

Independent – Why you need to look around the campus

If you do just one thing when deciding which universities to study at, go to open days.  Take in the uni atmosphere and talk to current students about their experience of the place.  This is one of the most important things you can do:

“This is your chance to look behind the scenes. You should try to get under the skin and get a sharper view of how life on the campus really is. Above all, you’ve got to be able to picture yourself there.”

Smashing Magazine – Five Tips For Making Ideas Happen

Is your behaviour proactive or reactive?  Have you stripped your projects down to three primary elements?  Are you self-aware?  Can you work beyond the stage of initial excitement?

Follow Smashing Magazine’s advice and your productivity should shoot up.

Marc and Angel Hack Life – Productivity Advice in 5 Words or Less

Talking of productivity, sometimes you need a quick boost of enthusiasm to get you going.  Here are 101 brief nudges for you.

From Smithsonian – How Our Brains Make Memories

“People tend to have accurate memories for the basic facts of a momentous event—for example, that a total of four planes were hijacked in the September 11 attacks—but often misremember personal details such as where they were and what they were doing at the time. Hardt says this could be because these are two different types of memories that get reactivated in different situations. Television and other media coverage reinforce the central facts. But recalling the experience to other people may allow distortions to creep in. ‘When you retell it, the memory becomes plastic, and whatever is present around you in the environment can interfere with the original content of the memory,’ Hardt says. In the days following September 11, for example, people likely repeatedly rehashed their own personal stories—’where were you when you heard the news?’—in conversations with friends and family, perhaps allowing details of other people’s stories to mix with their own.

[…]

“Perhaps it’s better if we can rewrite our memories every time we recall them. Nader suggests that reconsolidation may be the brain’s mechanism for recasting old memories in the light of everything that has happened since. In other words, it just might be what keeps us from living in the past.”

Academic Matters – The University: Punctuated by Paradox

Universities need paradox.  It’s hard to imagine a university without paradox.  Epitomising modernism and tradition, a university for markets but not of markets, research for all conducted by a tiny few…it’s just the way things are.  But should it be?  And if not, how do you resolve the paradoxes?