"Genius is in-born, may it never be still-born."

"Oysters, irritated by grains of sand, give birth to pearls. Brains, irritated by curiosity, give birth to ideas."

"Brainpower is the bridge to the future; it is what transports you from wishful thinking to willful doing."

"Unless you keep learning & growing, the status quo has no status."

Thursday, August 6, 2009

INTRODUCING INDEX NOTECARD, A Masterpiece from Dilip Mukerjea

Drawing upon essentially from my past extensive work with students in helping them to master information from their academic subjects, Dilip Mukerjea has developed the index notecard methodology for students.

My 'theory in practice', as I had earlier shared with Dilip, is that, for better understanding of a subject matter, at least from the academic perspective, one must first understand the fundamental unit of any key concepts, which always starts with a basic term or an unit of terminology.

That's to say, a key concept is essentially a synergistic collection of basic terms.

For example, I consider each of the known Newton's Laws as a key concept on its own.

To understand each of the Laws fully, one needs to understand all the basic terms that made up the key concept, e.g. force, mass, acceleration, etc.

Key concepts then move on to form what I call the organising theme of related concepts as appropriate to the acdemic subject.

Looking at the information, say from a hierarchical standpoint, the basic term is located at the subordinate level; with the key concept, at the middle level, & the organising theme of related concepts, at the superordinate level.

So, for true knowledge acquisition, as I see it in the case of a student, mastery of a specific subject can only come from his or her undertstanding which moves from the subordinate level i.e. understandiing the basic term first, moving through the middle level, i.e. understanding the basic concept, & finally reaching the superordinate level, i.e. getting that big picture of related concepts, so to speak.

To illustrate my point, the common Geography subject at 'O' level, has about 400 basic terms. It has about 100 odd key concepts, which in turn are formulated under half a dozen of organising themes.

I always believe that, once a student can do that as I have envisaged, tackling an examination question as the ultimate test is a breeze, because the latter is often set at the organising theme level. The student can then quickly dissect the examination question with ease, speed & precision, to formulate his or her answer.

The Index Notecard - in this case, it's based on the common Physics subject at 'O' Level - as illustrated by Dilip is a powerful tool for students to start the knowledge acquisition journey. Dilip has already tested its utilisation with students in a number of neighbourhood schools, where students were completely awed by its potency, despite its simplicity.

In this case, Dilip has used a computer, but it can easily be created by hand. [Dilip has explained that the imagery on the noteboard has initially been done by hand, with pencil on paper, but digitised & coloured for high-res output as well as compactness via computer manoeuvreability.]

As a variation, which I had originally envisaged, the methodology can apply with the use of small index cards. Each basic term, plus the visual diagram, where applicable, can appear on one side, with the definition, elaboration & example(s) on the flipside.

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