Enterprise and Innovation at the University of Bath: InBrain

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I found a great article in the University of Bath alumni magazine a few weeks ago: Alumnus Chris Brill (BSc Mechanical Engineering, 1983) is working with two Bath students, Alex Marshall ( International Management and Modern Languages) and James Isbister (Computer Sciences with Mathematics), to launch a revision app that could change the way young people revise!

‘In Brain is a revision app that uses iPhones and iPads as memory prompts’ the article states. It goes on to detail how this works: ‘InBrain works by the user taking a picture of an everyday view seen on a familiar journey and then drawing a ‘zone’ around an object in the image. This zone can then be linked to an education resource such as a YouTube video, webpage or the student’s own notes or audio clips. The image acts as a memory prompt, much like a flash card, so that the next time the user thinks of an object it reminds them of the learning material. The student ‘walks’ the journey (mentally or for real) and the views and pictures prompt recall of the learning materials. Using InBrain to build a journey in this way means the different images can be linked to different elements of the course. James said: “The process of attaching information you need to remember to familiar objects is proven to increase long term recall by 70 per cent”‘.

Alex and James have already won prizes for their work, including the 2012 Apps Crunch Competition and are currently trialing the app with a variety of students. Once the app is completed, Alex and James will be sending it to Apple, and ‘if accepted, it will be hosted in the Apple Store’.

For me, this not only provokes thought in terms of how we support students with their revision (and how we could approach this in different ways), but also in terms of the overall learning and teaching experience – what other tools can we use to help long term recall? How can we make learning more ‘material’? How could we start to use the classroom environment, and the objects within it, in this process of attaching information that students need to remember? Perhaps these are the sorts of ideas we could take forward into the next academic year…


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