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Using Mnemonics to Engage Students and Improve Recall: The Simersong Story

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A presentation on the creation and use of creative musical mnemonics to improve retention and engagement in difficult subjects such as biology and anatomy. Includes discussion on how videos are created and provided to students, and student reaction.

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Using Mnemonics to Engage Students and Improve Recall: The Simersong Story

  1. 1. USING MUSICAL MNEMONICS TO ENGAGE STUDENTS AND IMPROVE RECALL: THE SIMERSONG STORY SCOTT SIMERLEIN, D.C. STACI TREKLES, PH.D. PURDUE UNIVERSITY NORTHWEST MITZI SIMERLEIN, D.C. IVY TECH COMMUNITY COLLEGE
  2. 2. OBJECTIVES BY THE END OF THE SESSION, YOU’LL BE ABLE TO: 1. HELP STUDENTS LEARN COMPLEX MATERIAL LIKE SCIENCE IN A FUN AND ENGAGING WAY 2. DISCOVER METHODS FOR DEVELOPING YOUR OWN MNEMONIC LEARNING TOOLS FOR THE CLASSROOM 3. HELP STUDENTS DESIGN AND PUBLISH THEIR OWN CREATIVE, MNEMONIC LEARNING TOOLS IN MULTIMEDIA FORMATS
  3. 3. WHO ARE WE? • DRS. SCOTT AND MITZI – THE SIMERSONG SIBLINGS! • STACI – CENTER FOR FACULTY DEVELOPMENT AND SCHOOL OF EDUCATION AT PURDUE UNIVERSITY NORTHWEST
  4. 4. WHEN SCIENCE MEETS ART… • WHY USE MNEMONIC DEVICES TO HELP STUDENTS IN SCIENCE CLASSES? • THERE ARE MANY KEY TERMS AND CONCEPTS TO REMEMBER, ESPECIALLY IN BIOLOGY, AND SOME ARE RATHER COMPLEX • MNEMONICS HAVE BEEN PROVEN USEFUL TO HELP STUDENTS REMEMBER CONCEPTS THROUGH ASSOCIATION WITH MORE FAMILIAR IDEAS, PHRASES, OR VISUALIZATIONS • SO, WE’RE USING FAMILIAR TUNES WITH CATCHY LYRICS TO HELP STUDENTS RECALL AND USE THE MANY TERMS IN OUR ANATOMY
  5. 5. MUSICAL MNEMONICS • EVER HEARD A SONG THAT GETS STUCK IN YOUR HEAD? • USE THAT QUIRK OF THE HUMAN BRAIN TO REINFORCE COURSE CONTENT IN A FUN WAY! • BORROW THE TUNE OF A WELL-KNOWN SONG • NURSERY SONGS, TOP 40 HITS, DISNEY CLASSICS, ETC. • WRITE YOUR OWN SUBJECT-APPROPRIATE LYRICS TO IT • MAINTAIN THE ORIGINAL METER AND RHYME SCHEME • WORK IN KEY WORDS TO TRIGGER THE STUDENTS’ MEMORY • ADD A GENEROUS HELPING OF HUMOR • SURPRISE STUDENTS BY BREAKING INTO SONG RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF LECTURE! • NOT A LYRICIST? • LOOK ON THE INTERNET AND YOUTUBE FOR EXAMPLES • NOT A VOCALIST? • DON’T BE SHY! BAD SINGING MAKES THESE EVEN FUNNIER! • OR IF YOU TEACH SCIENCE, FEEL FREE TO USE OUR SIMERSONGS!
  6. 6. MUSICAL MNEMONICS • PERSONAL RESEARCH HAS SHOWN THESE LITTLE DITTIES ARE EXTREMELY EFFECTIVE • STUDENTS WILL REPORT THAT THEY REMEMBER THESE MNEMONICS LONG AFTER THE COURSE IS OVER AND THAT THEY USE THEM IN FUTURE CLASSES. • STUDENTS ARE VERY ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT THESE MEMORY TOOLS • GIVE THEM A SONGBOOK • LET THEM AUDIO-RECORD YOU • STUDENTS WILL TEACH THE LYRICS TO OTHERS • THEIR CHILDREN WILL LEARN THE MNEMONICS FOR SHOW-’N-TELL • YOU CAN REACH TWO GENERATIONS IN ONE FELL SWOOP! AND NOW, A MEDLEY OF MUSICAL MNEMONICS (LYRICS BY THE SIMERSONG SIBLINGS)
  7. 7. HYPOTHALAMUS (TO THE TUNE OF “OKLAHOMA!” FROM THE BROADWAY MUSICAL) H-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-YYIPE OTHALAMUS! SURROUNDS MOST OF VENTRICLE THREE. IT’S THE CENTER OF THE SECRETION OF HORMONES FOR THE PIT-U-I-TAR-Y! HY-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-YYIPE OTHALAMUS! IN CHARGE OF REGULATING TEMPERATURE AND SLEEP AND THE MESSAGES THAT KEEP YOUR ANS A-FUNCTIONING.
  8. 8. TERATOMA (TO THE TUNE OF “GARY, INDIANA” FROM THE MUSIC MAN) HAIRY TERATOMA, HAIRY TERATOMA, HAIRY TERATOMA, A MASS OF HAIR, TEETH, NAILS, AND SKIN! HAIRY TERATOMA, HAIRY TERATOMA, OVARY’S THE HOME-A YOUR UNDEVELOPED TWIN!
  9. 9. MEDULLA OBLONGATA (TO THE TUNE OF “HAKUNA MATATA” FROM THE LION KING) MEDULLA OBLONGATA! PYRAMIDS ARE ITS THING! MEDULLA OBLONGATA! IT CONTROLS VOMITING! IT REGULATES YOUR HEARTBEAT, BLOOD PRESSURE AND BREATHING. IT’S YOUR OLIV’RY … NEUROLOGY! MEDULLA OBLONGATA!
  10. 10. PSEUDOSTRATIFIED EPITHELIUM (TO THE TUNE OF “SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS” FROM MARY POPPINS) PSEUDOSTRATIFIED CILIATED COLUMNAR EPITHELIUM! LOOKS LIKE IT HAS MANY LAYERS EVEN THOUGH IT JUST HAS ONE. IF ITS HAIRS BEAT HARD ENOUGH, THEY’LL PUSH SNOT UP YOUR LUNG. EWW!!! THAT’S WHY PSEUDOSTRATIFIED’S THE COOLEST EPITHELIUM!
  11. 11. TWELVE DAYS OF CRANIAL NERVES (TO THE TUNE OF “THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS”) ON THE TWELFTH DAY I STUDIED, MY PROFESSOR SAID TO ME: - TWELVE TONGUES PROTRUDIN’ - ELEVEN NECK MUSCLES MOVIN’ - TEN, GUTS A-FLOWIN’ - NINE, THROATS SWALL-OW-IN’ - EIGHT, EARS A-HEARIN’ - SEVEN, FACES SNEERIN’ - SIX, EYES SIDE-PEERIN’ - FIVE FEELS AND STINGS! (TIC DOULOUREUX) - FOUR, DOWN AND OUT, - THREE MOVES EYES ABOUT, - TWO LETS YOU SEE, - AND SMELL WITH NERVE NUMBER ONE, IT’S OLFACT’RY!
  12. 12. EVOLUTION OF THE SIMERSONGS • AS TIME WENT ON AND MORE AND MORE MUSICAL MNEMONICS FOUND THEIR WAY INTO OUR LECTURES, THE STUDENTS STARTED ASKING FOR US TO RECORD THEM AND PUT THEM ON YOUTUBE SO THEY COULD LISTEN TO THEM OVER AND OVER. • ENTER DR. STACI TREKLES! • STACI INTRODUCED US TO THE VIDEO EXPRESS ROOM AT PURDUE UNIVERSITY NORTHWEST AND TO THE CAMTASIA VIDEO EDITING PROGRAM. • THESE TOOLS OPENED UP A WHOLE DIMENSION TO THE MUSICAL MNEMONICS: • SOUND TRACKS (NOT A CAPPELLA ANYMORE!) • GREEN SCREEN BACKGROUNDS • WARDROBE (INCLUDING A RUNNING GAG CONCERNING DR. SCOTT SIMERLEIN’S TIES) • COMEDY SKITS • EVEN GUEST BACK-UP SINGERS AND AN ORIGINAL SIMERSONG THEME SONG!
  13. 13. SEVEN SIMERSONGS AND COUNTING . . . • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqfp2e6il6y • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gej45_xohua • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbufdmjazgq • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/mnsztq1dm2i Simersong #1: The Twelve Cranial Nerves to the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” Simersong #2: Organelles Song to the tune of “Jingle Bells” Simersong #3 Neursery Rhyme Song Medley to the tunes of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”, “Are You Sleeping?”, “She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain” and “London Bridge” Simersong #4: Medulla-Midbrain Medley to the tunes of “Upendi” and “Hakuna Matata” from The Lion King
  14. 14. SEVEN SIMERSONGS AND COUNTING . . . • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sp2dg5ugaoq • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khgprb8onvk • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fehk12sx8k4 WHAT WILL BE NEXT? SUBSCRIBE TO FIND OUT!    Simersong #5: Heart Blood Flow Song to the tune of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” Simersong #6: Glycolysis in Cells to the tune of “I Can Hear the Bells” from Hairspray Simersong #7: Wonder in Me (The Muscle Contraction Song) to the tune of “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid
  15. 15. WHAT HAS BEEN THE RESPONSE? • THE SIMERSONG SIBLINGS YOUTUBE CHANNEL DEBUTED ON DECEMBER 1, 2016 WITH THREE VIDEOS. • INITIAL RESPONSE WAS VERY POSITIVE WITH OVER 1,000 VIEWS RECORDED IN THE FIRST COUPLE OF WEEKS. • VIEWERSHIP HAS REMAINED STEADY AND STRONG WITH 4,145 VIEWS AND 90 SUBSCRIBERS TO DATE. • THE SIMERSONGS ARE REPORTEDLY BEING USED AT EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS ACROSS INDIANA LIKE PURDUE UNIVERSITY NORTHWEST, IVY TECH COMMUNITY COLLEGE, INDIANA UNIVERSITY NORTHWEST, IUPUI, AND MANY, MANY HIGH SCHOOLS. • THE NORTHWEST INDIANA TIMES NEWSPAPER PUBLISHED A FEATURE ARTICLE ON THE SIMERSONG SIBLINGS ON FEBRUARY 25, 2016, ENTITLED, “’HAKUNA MATATA’: PNC PROF TURNS TECHNICAL TERMS INTO LYRICS.”
  16. 16. MEDIA COVERAGE • HTTPS://WWW.NWITIMES.COM/BUSINESS/JOBS-AND- EMPLOYMENT/WORKPLACE/COLLEGE-SPOTLIGHT/HAKUNA-MATATA-PNC-PROF- TURNS-TECHNICAL-TERMS-INTO-LYRICS/ARTICLE_14A2364F-AD47-525D- 9415-C99366643591.HTML • A SHORT VIDEO ENTITLED “SIMERSONG SCIENCE” WAS ALSO PUBLISHED WHICH
  17. 17. 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 4500 30-Nov 7-Dec 14-Dec 21-Dec 28-Dec 4-Jan 11-Jan 18-Jan 25-Jan 1-Feb 8-Feb 15-Feb 22-Feb 29-Feb 7-Mar 14-Mar 21-Mar 28-Mar 4-Apr 11-Apr 18-Apr 25-Apr 2-May 9-May 16-May 23-May 30-May 6-Jun 13-Jun 20-Jun 27-Jun 4-Jul 11-Jul 18-Jul 25-Jul 1-Aug 8-Aug 15-Aug 22-Aug 29-Aug 5-Sep 12-Sep 19-Sep 26-Sep 3-Oct 10-Oct Simersong Siblings YouTube Channel View History December 1, 2015 to October 11, 2016 Total YouTube Views Simersong #1 Simersong #2 Simersong #3 Simersong #4 Simersong #5 Simersong #6 Simersong #7 February 25, 2016 Northwest Indiana Times article published #3 surpasses #2 Mysterious spurt of views for #4 The Revenge of Simersong #2!
  18. 18. SIMERSONGS WORLDWIDE DATA AS OF OCTOBER 10, 2016 • SIMERSONGS HAVE BEEN VIEWED ON YOUTUBE IN 45 STATES. • INDIANA LEADS THE PACK WITH 2,986 VIEWS. • ILLINOIS IS SECOND WITH 586 VIEWS. • MICHIGAN, CALIFORNIA, AND TEXAS ROUND OUT THE TOP FIVE. • STILL WAITING FOR VIEWS IN MAINE, VERMONT, DELAWARE, MISSISSIPPI, AND WYOMING. KNOW ANYONE IN THESE STATES?  • IN ADDITION TO DOMESTIC VIEWS, THE SIMERSONGS HAVE BEEN VIEWED IN 29 FOREIGN COUNTRIES! • ENGLISH-SPEAKING COUNTRIES LIKE CANADA, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND, AND THE UNITED KINGDOM • EUROPEAN COUNTRIES LIKE FRANCE, ITALY, GERMANY, THE NETHERLANDS, AND BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA • ASIAN AND MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTRIES LIKE TAIWAN, THAILAND, BANGLADESH, PAKISTAN, INDIA, NEPAL, KUWAIT, AND THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES • ISLAND NATIONS LIKE THE BAHAMAS, PHILLIPPINES, AND OUR MOST RECENT ADDITION: VANUATU! NEVER HEARD OF IT? DON’T FEEL BAD—NEITHER HAD WE! (IT’S OFF THE EASTERN COAST OF AUSTRALIA.)
  19. 19. SIMERSONG SURVEY • IN THE SPRING 2016 AND SUMMER 2016 TERMS, A SURVEY ABOUT THE SIMERSONG VIDEOS WAS PERFORMED WITH ANATOMY & PHYSIOLOGY I AND II STUDENTS AT PURDUE NORTHWEST AND WITH ANATOMY & PHYSIOLOGY I, II, AND III STUDENTS AT IVY TECH COMMUNITY COLLEGE’S VALPARAISO CAMPUS. (4-YEAR AND 2-YEAR INSTITUTIONS, RESPECTIVELY) • 304 STUDENTS WERE SURVEYED. • 242 FEMALES, 54 MALES, 8 OF UNIDENTIFIED GENDER • AGES: • UNDER 18 1 0.3% • 18-22 YRS 189 62.2% • 23-29 YRS 60 19.7% • 30-39 YRS 33 10.9% • 40 AND OVER 15 4.9% • AGELESS 6 2.0%
  20. 20. WHICH SIMERSONG IS YOUR FAVORITE? AND THE WINNER IS . . . SIMERSONG #4 MEDULLA-MIDBRAIN MEDLEY (39.5%) 2ND: #1 (33.9%) 3RD: #3 (7.8%) 4TH: #2 AND #5 (6.9% EACH) 5TH: #6
  21. 21. WHY IS IT YOUR FAVORITE? (MARK ALL THAT APPLY) • THE 304 STUDENTS MARKED 706 TOTAL RESPONSES. • CHOICES PROVIDED: • A. THE SUBJECT CONTENT WAS VERY HELPFUL IN MY LEARNING PROCESS. (73.4%, 223 RESPONSES) • B. I ESPECIALLY LIKE THE SONG THAT WAS CHOSEN. • C. THE SILLY ANTICS OF THE DRS. SIMERLEIN MADE ME LAUGH. • D. THE DISCUSSION COMPONENT BEFORE THE SONG WAS GREAT. • E. THE PRODUCTION VALUE OF THE VIDEO (SOUND EFFECTS, BACKGROUND IMAGES CHOSEN)
  22. 22. PERCEIVED EFFECTIVENESS AND ENTERTAINMENT VALUE • HOW HELPFUL DO YOU FEEL THE SIMERSONGS WERE IN YOUR LEARNING OF THE TOPICS THEY COVER? (LIKERT SCALE: VERY-QUITE-SOMEWHAT-SLIGHTLY-NOT AT ALL) • 55.6% RESPONDED “VERY HELPFUL” OR “QUITE HELPFUL” • 89.1% RESPONDED WITH “SOMEWHAT HELPFUL” OR BETTER • HOW HARD DID YOU TRY TO LEARN THE LYRICS TO THE SIMERSONGS? (LIKERT SCALE: HEARD IN CLASS ONLY-WATCHED VIDEOS FOR FUN-READ LYRICS TO STUDY FOR EXAMS-SANG OUT LOUD-SANG OUT LOUD AND FOCUSED ON LYRICS’ MEANING) • 28.0% ONLY HEARD THE SIMERSONGS IN CLASS • 71.0% DID SOMETHING WITH THEM OUTSIDE OF CLASS • 19.4% ADMITTED TO SINGING THE SONGS IN AN EFFORT TO MEMORIZE THEM • HOW ENGAGING AND ENTERTAINING DID YOU FEEL THE SIMERSONGS WERE? (LIKERT SCALE: EXTREMELY-QUITE-SOMEWHAT-SLIGHTLY-NOT AT ALL) • 76.0% RESPONDED “EXTREMELY ENGAGING” OR “VERY ENGAGING” • 93.4% RESPONDED WITH “SOMEWHAT ENGAGING” OR BETTER • 2 OUT OF 304 STUDENTS (0.7%) SAID “NOT AT ALL ENGAGING” Most students actually did this optional activity! What is wrong with these people?
  23. 23. OTHER INTERESTING STATISTICS • HAVE YOU RECOMMENDED VIEWING THE SIMERSONG VIDEOS TO: • OTHER STUDENTS? 71.4% YES 26.0% NO • FAMILY MEMBERS? 52.6% YES 45.1% NO • FRIENDS WHO ARE NOT COLLEGE STUDENTS? 41.4% YES 56.3% NO • WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THAT MORE ANATOMY SIMERSONGS BE WRITTEN AND RECORDED? 93.8% YES 3.3% NO • WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE SIMERSONGS ON OTHER SUBJECTS (LIKE CHEMISTRY, MICROBIOLOGY, PHYSICS, ETC.)? 88.5% YES 8.2% NO
  24. 24. STUDENT COMMENTS ON THE SIMERSONGS • “I FELT THE FLOW OF [THE SIMERSONGS] HELPED A LOT. I REALLY WAS ABLE TO CONNECT AND REMEMBER EVERYTHING.” • “THEY ARE FUN, FUNNY, VERY HELPFUL FOR MEMORIZATION.” • “THE [TWELVE CRANIAL NERVES] SONG WAS EASY TO REMEMBER DURING TEST TIME.” • “CATCHY TUNES HELPED ME MEMORIZE MORE STUFF EASIER.” • “REALLY STUCK WHEN I SANG ALONG . . . BUT NOT OUT . . . LOUD!” • “THEY’RE JUST SUPER SILLY, AND I LOVE IT.” • “KEEP THOSE OUTFITS AND TIES COMING!” • “LET ME JOIN YOUR GROUP! I SING WELL. BY LETTING ME JOIN I CAN MAKE US GO PLATINUM.”
  25. 25. HOW DID WE DO ALL THIS? • VIDEO EXPRESS – PURDUE HAS A WONDERFUL SELF-SERVICE VIDEO SYSTEM AVAILABLE ON ITS CAMPUSES • LOG IN AND START RECORDING! • THE FUN PART COMES IN “POST” – EDITING USING THE GREEN SCREEN TO ADD EFFECTS • WE USE TECHSMITH CAMTASIA TO DO ALL OF THE EDITING • PUBLISHED FOR PUBLIC USE ON YOUTUBE
  26. 26. CREATING YOUR OWN SONGS • YOU DON’T NEED FANCY EQUIPMENT AND SOFTWARE – A BASIC CAMERA DEVICE AND FREE EDITING SOFTWARE CAN WORK • NO GREEN SCREEN? A GREEN SHEET OR TABLECLOTH WORKS! • OTHER APP SUGGESTIONS: • IMOVIE (MAC OR IPAD) • WINDOWS LIVE MOVIE MAKER (WINDOWS OR SURFACE) • DOINK ($2.99 - IPAD) • MEDIA STUDIO (IN-APP PURCHASES, ANDROID) • OUR CHANNEL: HTTP://TINYURL.COM/SIMERSONGS • NEED SOME HELP? • ARTICLE ON THE INS AND OUTS OF GREEN SCREEN VIDEO • GREEN SCREEN IN CAMTASIA • OTHER IDEAS FOR USING GREEN SCREEN VIDEOS IN THE CLASSROOM
  27. 27. QUESTIONS? • CONTACT • SCOTT: SSIMERLE@PNW.EDU • MITZI: MSIMERLEIN@IVYTECH.EDU • STACI: ATREKLES@PNW.EDU, @ICEINDIANA

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