INTRO & HOW WE DID IT

HOW WE DID IT

INTRO
In this site and through my e-books I help anyone remember the position of all the countries on the World Map and also help them to learn to Draw the World map from memory so that they would never forget the exact location of all the 193 countries and so that they can build their knowledge of geography from a solid base.

Here, let me ask you a question.
Do you feel it difficult to remember where Sudan is. There is a headline screaming about an event in Haiti, Fiji or Ivory Coast. Do you feel ashamed that you don’t know where they are.  Or even if you do , you wouldn’t have the foggiest who are the neighboring countries. Whether there is a sea or ocean near at hand. Which part of the World they are located.

How would it be if you could pinpoint any country on the globe. Wouldn’t it be great if you could follow along any story in the news with full confidence regarding the location of that country.

Often, when you look at an atlas do you feel frustrated to have to ferret out the information you want out of the zillions of things that are written there and so many wiggling lines running amok ?

I HAD THE SAME PROBLEM
See, I went through the same problem.  I wished I knew all about a country whenever it popped up on my radar screen, i.e. my mind. Or why not be prepared by knowing about ALL the countries. you see, I also wanted to ensure that my children have a clear notion of the World Map e.g. if World Cup Soccer is being held and there are 32 countries participating we ought not to be groping in the darkness of our memories; they ought to be aware of these countries in their minds and have a better feel of it.

The problem was that even if I located the country on the World Map, I would soon forget while looking at the rest of the 32 countries. And to even  surmise/attempt to learn about ALL the countries of the world. It seemed well nigh impossible.

But I didn’t give up
And continued to look for a method

HOW I FOUND THE SOLUTION
It is then that I recalled that human brain cannot memorize separate pieces of information when they are in large numbers.

Our memory is not random access. It is not as if we can keep 100 different things in a box called memory and pick anything out as we want. NOPE. That is NOT the way it works. It just doesn’t happen that way. I tried and failed . Failed again and again. Trying to memorize the position of the countries on the World Map. I could do a bit. Not all of it.

But then it occurred to me that we DO remember ALL our friends, we DO know the friend List on our Facebook page and we know them intimately. The difference is that we remember through a process called ASSOCIATION or LINKING UP. We link up the Friend’s name with what else we know about them. And form mental pictures which is what we remember. MENTAL PICTURES.

I FOUND THE PATH
This led to my studying many Memory Systems. And finally I selected the MNEMONIC system which was simple to learn and execute and extremely simple to remember. Since you can only remember by linking up, we would have to convert into known words and then link them up. See what I did was take a few countries at a time and developed a suitable mnemonic system around them.

I also had to ensure that I had the exact number of countries recognized by the UNO. Upon visiting the UN site, I finally compiled the list of countries. There are 193 countries in all and 10 partially recognized ones. and then I set upon developing mnemonics around those country names taking five to six contiguous ones at a time. This also ensured that a particular region of the map was taken in a tranche. All this while I had active support of my daughter and son, 9 and 8 years old then (this was in the summers of 2009). I was trying out this System on my children as it was evolving. And by the time it was done, they did know the World Map pretty well. Now both my children are considered some sort of wizards in this field: in the knowledge about the Countries of the World. They also learnt simultaneously to Draw the World Map.

DRAW THE WORLD MAP ?
Simultaneously, I was also trying to draw the maps freehand and filling in the few countries at a time for which I was developing the mnemonics. This, I thought, would strengthen the Mental Picture of the Countries if you could actually draw it out. It occurred to me then that it was possible to simplify by drawing straight lines (for the most part) for the boundaries between countries. It took a fair bit of time and many sketches later, a picture emerged. I had started with Africa as this continent is, to my mind (personally), the most intriguing and fascinating of all.  It has 53 countries. I endeavored to keep the lines simple at the same time retaining the general shape of the countries. And once Africa was done and all the 53 countries earmarked by drawing straight lines for their boundaries and their shapes also maintaining approximate fidelity with the actual maps, I knew this could be replicated. it didn’t happen automatically though.

Although drawing the other two continents viz. Europe and Asia followed naturally from where I left off in Africa, the natural contours of both the continents required some creative thinking. I believe that I have done a fairly good job of it (So far, none of my customers have had anything negative to say !). You can check out the Testimonials.

NATURE IS SUPREME
While doing the work I had embarked on i.e. trying to fit in the actual natural contours of Nature into a paradigm that I was trying to work out, I realized that Nature is no one’s hand maiden.  To fit Nature into a paradigm springs surprises and you have to chart your course as per the lie of the land, so to say. You don’t dictate Nature. Nature dictates you.

Probably it may be right to say that all bodies of knowledge are attempts by man to fit Nature into a chosen paradigm, a structure man selects as a place-holder and over time one has to tweak and improve the structure itself. Nature stays in its place, mankind progresses by developing better place-holders.

To exemplify the above, when I did Africa, I could make do with drawing Straight lines for the most part but when it came to Asia and Europe, curved lines were a sine-qua-non

OLD MAP / NEW MAP
This entire endeavor of mine had as its bedrock, an implicit need to simplify. When you look at an atlas, it is so dense with information that you could choke. In this modern era when the internet has taken over as the universal source of information, we have seen how there has been a deliberate effort to simplify anything that you wanted to know. There is a definite shift towards “spelling it out”. We want to know how to be able to do anything as in “One Two Three; “in five simple steps” or likewise.

It is in this context that the traditional maps fail. They are too complicated. It is all in your face. All together. Leave it or Lump it. Granted that a traditional atlas does have everything or almost. But it does not build a Learning Curve. It does not help you learn chunk by chunk.< br>
INFORMATION vs KNOWLEDGE
If you distinguish the difference between knowledge and information, it will become clear that information is little nuggets of truth that is strewn all around you. You can pick and nibble on them as you wish whenever you want.

But KNOWLEDGE is what you hold, what you have, it is yours. It is internalized. It is a structure that you remember and the STRUCTURE has PLACEHOLDERS containing INFORMATION which are CONNECTED.

This is the key part. Pieces of information that are connected. It is this connection that the human brain is so adept in remembering, not discrete pieces of information. So we can conclude that instead of a large mass of data which is the traditional map, we require a way to simplify and put into a structure that WE can remember.

To be a master at anything we have to build a strong base and then build on it

Here, we think, we have crafted THAT BASE

In my e-book, you learn to look at the World Map not as a reference book (which it is and of that there is no doubt) but you learn to draw it out yourself, in a simple process and learn the location of the countries and their relative positions.

Once you know the World Map, on any map for that matter, in a way which is easy and in a way which gives you the basic information (like the 193 countries, in this case) and you learn a system of associating this information and it gets hard-wired in your brain, then you can really embark on a journey of learning where all the cornucopia of information in a world map begins to reveal themselves and similar systems of association could be devised layer by layer for you to become more and more knowledgeable. This is how the modern system of learning works.

THE FRAMEWORK
So, it is with this realization that this e-book was devised, to become a placeholder for information contained in the World Map to fit in.

We divided the World Map into the seven continents it has but went on to subdivide into a more meaningful cluster of Geographical Regions. And then we dealt with each of the Regions in two ways

  1. we learnt to draw them
  2. we learnt to remember the countries in them in the exact sequence they actually coexist

Before we did that we found it easier to deal with those countries which are large in size and distinctive in shape so you immediately recognized them

SO WHERE DO YOU START
Go through the list of ALL the countries of the world to breed familiarity with the names.

See the top 10 countries of the world (by size) showcased in this site

Download the free e-book which shows you the different Regions of the World Map

And then read through the e-book “Learn to Draw the World Map” and you will be well on your way to enlightenment 🙂

We also have a similar e-book for learning to draw the US Map

and

a Combo Package currently going for USD 14.99

Would you rather pay a little less ? Just let me know. I want more and more people to partake of this NEW way of learning the WORLD MAP. Gives me immense pleasure to know what I developed to teach my children is found so useful by so many people across the globe. We live in a Global village now. And probably it is best to keep it a Village where people do not need to prove to one another how much better she/he is, no rat-race.

But only that one has to prove to oneself how much better one has become compared to one’s own self. Are we better off today as against what we were yesterday. In terms of what I have added to my knowledge, my understanding of this most wondrous and mysteriously beautiful world that I inhabit ?

Write to me at
2sidsinha@gmail.com


bye
catch you later
Sid