Information Organization and Memory Strategies
Flash cards, running concept lists, matrices, and hierarchies are best suited to survey computer courses. Flow charts and running concept lists are useful in programming courses (D. Applegate, CAL).
Terms and definitions, lists, and people and contributions are good types of information for flash cards. Examples of each of these are given below.
Running Concept Lists
Running concept lists may be used to organize various types of information. It is helpful to make different concept lists for terms, people, lists, and commands. An example of each is provided below.
Matrices are useful for comparing larger amounts of related information, as illustrated below. Matrices help students to see similarities and differences between items.
Hierarchies, like those shown below, organize chunks of related superordinate and subordinate information.
Flow charts are used in programming to organize the steps and commands of the program. Different commands may have differently shaped boxes in the flow chart - consult programming manuals for the particular programming language used. Arrows between boxes indicate the direction or order of commands. The simple example below is for BASIC.
A variety of memory strategies may be used to remember computer information. Key words, mnemonics, visual association, and alphabetizing are discussed here (D. Applegate, CAL).
When committing definitions to memory, focus on key words in order to reduce the amount of information to be remembered. Highlight key words in the notes, or underline them on flash cards and concept lists. Emphasizing key words helps to prepare for objective test questions like fill-ins and multiple choice.
Mnemonics are effective for memorizing lists of computer information. The first letter of each item is used to form a word or phrase that is easy to remember. Some lists may be rearranged before forming the mnemonic.
For example, the four types of output devices are monitor, printer, plotter, and voice. Rearrange them into this list: monitor, voice, printer, plotter. The mnemonic word is MVPP; remember "most valuable player." Picture a star baseball player (=mvpp) in the outfield (=output) to enhance the memory.
Some lists must be kept in order. For example, memory sizes from small to large is: kilobyte, megabyte, gigabyte, and terabyte. The mnemonic phrase might be King Mel Got Trees. Picture a king in a forest to enhance the memory.
Try using visual association to remember lists or concepts. Develop a visual image that combines all elements to be remembered in a novel, vivid way. For example, to remember the parts of a computer's central processing unit (arithmetic-logic unit, control unit, clock, registers, and bus), image a large, loud yellow bus dropping people off at an office, where a controlling boss barks out orders, an employee works feverishly on arithmetic problems and enters the answers on oversized blue registers, and a huge neon digital clock hangs over everyone's heads.
Lists of information may be remembered by alphabetizing them first. For example, alphabetize the list of input devices: keyboard, mouse, scanner, touch screen. Then remember that the first letters of each item are close to each other in the alphabet: k and m, s and t.