Teach a Man to Fish…

Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.

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Whether you attribute these words to a Chinese Proverb, Maimonides or a Native American saying, they ring particularly true when it comes to learning modern day technology.

Next time someone tries to help you solve something by grabbing your smartphone off you or asking you to hand over your laptop, ask them instead to show you how. And then do it with your own hands.

Why? Muscle memory is very real. Skill learning and memory is quite different from other forms of memory, such as remembering capitols of the world or key historic dates. A broad range of areas of the brain seem to be responsible for skill memories, including areas in motor cortex, the part of the brain which sends signals to the muscle of the body; the basal ganglia, which is associated with initiation of movement; and the cerebellum, an area at the back of the brain which deals with adaptation.  

In a study, performed in Oxford, healthy adults had MRI scans before and after weeks of juggling training. These scans could detect changes in white matter, grey matter and the primary motor cortex. So quite literally, by practicing new technology hacks on your device, you can train your brain!

Then when you’ve got the hang of a tech trick, why not teach someone else? Teaching both cements your own learning and “feeds” another for a lifetime. Or potentially many, if they in turn teach others…

And on a personal note, today marks the 1-year anniversary of Gransplain. A personal project started in lockdown has kept me on a learning path, fishing for tech tips for myself and others. Thank you for having joined me during this process, and please take a moment to share Gransplain.com with someone you know who could benefit from easier adoption of technology.

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