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Interactive Learning at UT-Austin

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I recently read an article in the Daily Texan regarding UT-Austin’s interest in providing rooms on campus for “interactive learning”. Apparently, there has recently been a legislative push toward using e-books as opposed to text-books, in part due to the outrageous cost of textbooks. It was also stated that developers of the interactive learning initiative at UT were interested in moving away from the currently used e-book as a primary learning tool. They want to make the learning experience more interactive. As pulled from the article, “Features can range from pictures to video tutorials to hyperlinks while allowing students to highlight and take notes directly on their screens.” This is all very interesting and exciting because CTT coupled with Menteon seems to be a version of what UT would like to implement. Interactive learning models seem to be the wave of the future; that is, e-books used as a source of information coupled to a software like Menteon, that allows the user to extract and import diagrams and/or text in a ready to use format that expedites the process of information retention. I thought that this article was in-line with our current endeavors at CTT to bring our e-learning interactive model to college students.

Here is the link to access the Daily Texan Article: http://www.dailytexanonline.com/content/university-takes-look-textbook-alternative

- Joel McMillian


Why Psychology?

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Because it is unavoidable. It is everywhere and in everything. Every thought we have, every curiosity, every emotion, every consequent action. The reason behind everything is psychological. Some people assume psychology is a relatively small field associated with words such as “Freud”, “therapy”, “mental illness”, and “Ritalin”, but the field of psychology is much expansive. As humans, we are capable of thought and reason, analysis, and understanding. The desire to understand why we act and feel as we do is unique to humans, and psychology can be seen as either a specific field of study of emotion and thought, or it can be seen as the broadest of subjects, encompassing everything in our world. We do not act solely on instinct; our actions are based on things we have learned through our experiences, watching others, social interaction, and the consequences of our actions. Psychology within itself has numerous approaches to understanding human thought and behavior and everyone can find at least one, which makes the most sense to her or him. Our way of understanding the world changes as we go through life and so does psychology as a whole. As researchers and scholars learn more about the human brain, psychology continues to flourish as a field and enrich, even at times, save, the lives of many. Personally, while I am interested in most aspects of psychology, and there are countless, I am perhaps most intrigued by a newer type, referred to as Positive Psychology. The reason it is so different and interesting, is because it deviates from traditional psychology’s tendency to focus on mental illness, medication, and fixing people. While those things are important and progress continues to be made, positive psychology emphasizes the idea of mental health, individual strengths, and attempts to understand not what is broken, but what psychological traits make people persevere, succeed and grow. In today’s world, filled with depression, deficits of attention, and various medications to ease our mental pain, this field is a crucial contributor to psychology being a well rounded, universally applicable, and rich subject.

-Jenya Mendelenko


On Learning

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I recently recalled a story my mother once told me from her childhood. Patty grew up in a tiny town in the mountains of Arizona. It’s one of those places that has a distinct, pleasant-smell that you get used to in a day, but remember forever. Near her house was small pond full of different kinds and colors of fish. She still remembers vividly how she would sit near the edge and stare at their seemingly endless swimming motions. When she was about 6 or 7, she had a realization much more mature and logical than her age.

“Winter is coming soon! I can remember from past winters that it snows and I have to wear a big jacket to stay warm! It’s okay though because we make big fires in the fireplace and I have a nice warm blanket to wrap up in. But what about the fish? They can’t come out of the water or they can’t breath! Doesn’t water freeze when it gets cold?”

Worry for the fish engulfed Patty, and she turned to her father for help. He did the best he could to explain how fish were part of natures cycle. She was convinced to not interfere, and let nature run its course.

Sure enough, the pond froze over that winter. Patty would sit at the edge and inspect the surface for any sign of movement beneath, but all she could see was ice. She concluded that the fish had all died and became very upset. She was torn apart with blame for the tragedy. Finally, spring came and the ice melted. Patty felt the urge to check and confirm her fears. When she peered into the pond, she had a pleasant surprise waiting for her. The fish had somehow survived! Her father had said that nature is mysterious…

Even as a young girl my mom was able get a basic grasp of the complicated concepts of energy transfer and phase change. These are things we can observe and know deep down, but can spend the rest of our lives learning about. With time we all gain greater understanding.

While formal education isn’t (and shouldn’t be) our sole source of learning, it is an essential part of it. At CrushThatTest, we are excited to to help students accomplish their academic goals more easily and effectively. We enjoy being part of a worldwide academic community that hold sacred the urge to gain knowledge. We aim to continue helping others improve the world by learning about it.

-Jay Jackson



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