iLife '09 and iWork '09: Memorization Tools

Published on Thursday, May 07, 2009 in , , ,

iLife '09 and iWork '09You've probably heard plenty about Apple's iLife and iWork software suites, so this won't be another review of those products. Instead, I'm going to talk about a different use for them, that of memorization tools.

Regardless of the particular memory techniques you're going to be using for a given task, it's a safe bet it's going to involve some sort of visualization. Traditionally, you're supposed to just imagine these images. However, actually creating the unusual images you need on your computer will help make the images more vivid to you. In addition, the process itself of putting the images together will also help lock the images into your mind better.

Since you'll probably be working a wide variety of images, a good clip art library, such as those sold in stores, or online sources such as Wikimedia Commons, will prove very useful. The clip art can be easily organized with iPhoto, especially if you set up your individual memory task as an “event”. This will make it more accessible later on.

Granted, you could just use iPhoto's slideshows to put your imagery together, but there's not really enough freedom to put the images together as you may like. Pages certainly offers more freedom in combining and laying out images, but I've found that it can be too static for memorizing images.

The way to go, I believe, is to combine the images in Keynote. Keynote has all the image manipulation power of Pages, but putting the images together as presentation will help bring the needed imagery more alive. Plus, if you're doing the sort of memorizing where one image needs to lead to another, slide transitions such as Magic Move can help lock in the associations. The animated nature of slide transitions is an oddly beneficial in a way that no other traditional memory techniques have been able to capture.

Remember that you're not making a presentation for someone else, so as long as the associations and images make sense to you, that's all that is needed. If there's a possibility that you may need to go over these images later on, you may want to add presenter notes that detail what the images mean. This will not only remind you later, but add another layer to help you remember your task.

With a little creativity and thought, there are many other ways that iWork and iLife can help you memorize information. Numbers, for example, is very helpful in organizing information such as the number and mnemonics for the 400 Digits of Pi feat. Need a calendar so that people can verify your Day of the Week For Any Date feat? Many at the iWork community have solutions all ready for you! All the documents I've posted over at scribd.com, as a matter of fact, are right out of iWork.

I discovered an unexpected use for iLife while working on memorizing poetry. While going over the tips and tools at How to Memorize Verbatim Text, About.com and Poetry X, it occurred to me that GarageBand's podcast-creating features would come in very handy.

What I do when learning a poem now is enter the poem itself into a podcast document, and use the above tips and tools to memorize it as best I can. At that point, I hide the poem from view, and I record my recitation of it in GarageBand as if I were creating a podcast. Once I've recorded it, I bring the written poem back into view, and read the poem as I play back the recording. I go through and highlight any words on the written version that I incorrectly stated in the recorded version. In this way, I can see my errors visually, and learn the poem verbatim quicker and more effectively.

Do you have any favorite programs you've used in unexpected ways that you think other Grey Matters readers would enjoy? Let me hear about them in the comments!

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