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Even More Flashcards: Ultimate Hidden Powers Unleashed | Episode 60

by Kevin Patton

Even More Flashcards: Ultimate Hidden Powers Unleashed

TAPP Radio Episode 60

Preview Episode

Preview | Quick Take

A brief preview of the upcoming full episode, featuring upcoming topics (advanced flashcards & Bruce McEwen tribute)—plus word dissections, a book club recommendation (The End of Stress As We Know It), & more!

00:19 | Topics
01:05 | Sponsored by ADInstruments
02:59 | Word Dissection
10:43 | Sponsored by HAPS
11:18 | Book Club
13:44 | Sponsored by HAPI Online Graduate Program
14:21 | Survey Says…
15:04 | Sponsored by AAA
15:36 | Staying Connected

Preview | Listen Now

Preview | Show Notes

Upcoming Topics

1 minute

Episode 60


Sponsored by ADInstruments (NEW SPONSOR)

2 minutes

The A&P Professor podcast has a NEW SPONSOR:

ADInstruments provides the PowerLab data acquisition systems, Lt online learning platform, and content for laboratory solutions in physiology, anatomy, and biology. They support engaging, hands-on learning with simple set-up and high quality data.

🡲 From now to March 2020, ADInstruments is offering 10% off select solutions for our podcast listeners. Go to the URL below and use the lab solution builder and remember to mention this podcast on any webform to get the discount.

ADInstruments logo


Word Dissection

7.5 minutes



Sponsored by HAPS

0.5 minute

The Human Anatomy & Physiology Society (HAPS) is a sponsor of this podcast.  You can help appreciate their support by clicking the link below and checking out the many resources and benefits found there. Don’t forget the earlybird discount for the HAPS Annual Conference expires on February 21, 2020—the same deadline for submitting workshops and posters.

HAPS logo


Book Club

2.5 minutes

  • The End of Stress as We Know It
  • Special opportunity
    • Contribute YOUR book recommendation for A&P teachers!
      • Be sure include your reasons for recommending it
    • Any contribution used will receive a $25 gift certificate
    • The best contribution is one that you have recorded in your own voice (or in a voicemail at 1-833-LION-DEN)
    • Check out The A&P Professor Book Club

the end of stress as we know it


Sponsored by HAPI Online Graduate Program

0.5 minute

The Master of Science in Human Anatomy & Physiology Instruction—the MS-HAPI—is a graduate program for A&P teachers. A combination of science courses (enough to qualify you to teach at the college level) and courses in contemporary instructional practice, this program helps you power up  your teaching. Kevin Patton is a faculty member in this program. Check it out!

NYCC Human Anatomy and Physiology Instruction


Survey Says…

1 minute



Sponsored by AAA

0.5 minutes

AAA logo

Preview | Transcript

The A&P Professor podcast (TAPP radio) episodes are made for listening, not reading. This transcript is provided for your convenience, but hey, it’s just not possible to capture the emphasis and dramatic delivery of the audio version. Or the cool theme music.  Or laughs and snorts. And because it’s generated by a combo of machine and human transcription, it may not be exactly right. So I strongly recommend listening by clicking the audio player provided.

AAA logoThis searchable transcript is supported by the
American Association for Anatomy.
I'm a member—maybe you should be one, too!


Hi there. This is Kevin Patton with a brief audio introduction to episode 60 of The A&P Professor podcast, also known as TAPP Radio. An audio rock opera for teachers of human anatomy & physiology


Kevin Patton:
In the next full episode that is episode 60 I’m going to finish up the flashcards unleashed series by revealing some more of the hidden powers, the ultimate hidden powers of flashcards for retrieval practice. In this third of the series of three, I finally get to some of the more advanced techniques that you can help your students use to assist in learning. I’ll also have a brief tribute to Dr. Bruce S. McEwen, a pioneer in the modern understanding of physiological stress. There’s more too, but you’re going to have to tune into that full episode to find out what it is…

Read More

Sponsored by ADInstruments

Kevin Patton:
Guess what? This podcast has a new sponsor. You’ll hear more about this sponsor in the upcoming full episode that is episode 60 but this is a preview, so hey, why not preview the new sponsor right now? It’s ADInstruments. You may already be familiar with ADInstruments. They provide the power lab data acquisition systems, the Lt online learning platform, and lots of content for laboratory learning in physiology, anatomy and biology. If you want to preview some of the things you can do to make learning more active and more memorable in your classroom and teaching lab, then why not check out ADInstruments at this link that go G-O.ADInstruments.com/podcast so once again it’s go.ADInstruments.com/podcast or you can just use the link in the show notes or the episode page at theAPprofessor.org/60.

Hold on, I forgot one of the best parts of this, and that is that ADInstruments is offering 10% off select solutions for listeners to the A&P Professor podcast. Yeah, that’s right, 10% off, and this goes through March. Just go to their website at go.ADinstruments.com /podcast and then use their Lab Solution Builder. And remember to mention this podcast on any web form in order to get your 10% off.

It’s time, once again for,

Word Dissection

Word dissection.

Where we practice, what we all do in our teaching and take apart words and translate their parts to deepen our understanding. Sometimes they’re old and familiar terms and sometimes they’re terms new to us or maybe so fresh that they’re new to everyone. Our first term on our list for dissection today is the term allostasis. Breaking apart that first word part off of the whole, we have allo, A-L-L-O, and that literally means different. And then the second word part is stasis, which means standing still. So we put that together and translate it literally it’s referring to standing still when things aren’t well, a bit different from normal. So we can think of that literally think of trying to stand still. And think of something unusual like a gust of wind or somebody brushing by you and knocking into you.

What do we do? We try to still stay standing up. When we apply the term allostasis is to physiology, what it refers to is all of those active processes that our body uses when it attempts to maintain or to restore typical optimal conditions while under stress. So in other words, something is happening, some kind of stressful thing is happening and we’re trying to maintain our balance, which we know is homeostasis. So allostasis is what’s happening when we’re under stress and it’s hard to maintain homeostasis. So we pull out all kinds of different processes that allow us to still maintain some sort of stability. Even if it’s not the usual stability like think of, again trying to stand up in a wind storm, you might be able to remain standing but [inaudible 00:04:32] really going to be straight up and you’re probably going to be spending a lot more energy to stay standing than you would be if it were just normal conditions.

To put it simply, we could just say that allostasis is a set of coping mechanisms that our body uses when things are different from normal, and that leads us to our second term on our dissection list and that is allostatic. It’s just another form of the word allostasis. It’s the adjective form. So again, allo means different, stasis means standing still and the ic, ending means relating to it converts it into an adjective. So allostatic is then going to be a term that we use to describe anything that somehow relates to allostasis. For example, there’s a term that’s often used called allostatic load, so that means it’s the load that relates to allostasis. So it’s a physiological load, the wear and tear and increased energy expenditure of all those stress responses that are occurring and trying to maintain a stability.

Our next term on the dissection list is not one that you would expect to see on an A&P list of terms, but maybe we should and that is the term emoji. Yes, emoji E-M-O-J-I. Now when we start to dissect, this one, the first thing that we notice is it’s not Latin, it’s not even Greek, it’s not even old English. I mean those are the things we’re used to seeing. In this case, it’s derived from Japanese word parts. The first word part, the E part in Japanese can be translated as picture. The second word part, the moji part, M-O-J-I, means a character or a letter of an alphabet would be an example of a character. So we put that together and literally it means a picture character or a picture letter. It’s a pictogram or pictograph. Now a lot of people think that the word emoji is derived from or of a different version of the word emoticon.

Now an emoticon is when one or more tax letters are used to represent emotions. Like when you use a single parenthesis to represent a smile and therefore represent the emotion of happiness. But it turns out that these are Japanese word parts making up emoji. It has nothing to do with the source of the word emoticon even though there’s some similarity in terms of when and how you might use them. The term emoji is believed to have originated in Japanese mobile phones in the late 1990s.

And dictionary.com defines emoji as a small digital picture or pictorial symbol that represents a thing, feeling, concept, etc. Used in text messages and other electronic communications and usually part of a standardized set. And by the way, in the word emoji, you often see it in small case, all small case letters being a common noun, but because it can refer to a standardized set, in that case it might be a proper noun and you would want to use upper case capital letter for the E in emoji. So it’s going to depend on context.

The next term in our dissection list is the term cumulative. Now this term cumulative first came up way, way back in episode four when I talked about why making all tests cumulative is good for learning. And we also learned that all those students may at first think cumulative testing is going to kill them. It won’t, and most students will actually come to love it. I know you don’t believe it, but try it. So let’s break apart the word cumulative. The first part of the word cumul means heap or pile. It actually comes from the Latin noun cumulus, which is the name of a cloud that looks like just stuff all piled up, right?

So cumul means heap or pile. And then the at, is derived from ate and that’s a stem that’s used to convert a noun to a verb. So in this case, the noun pile is now a verb as in pile up or heap together. Then the next word part is the I-V-E and that means relating to, especially in terms of having a tendency or a certain function. So if we put that all together, literally cumulative means showing the tendency of piling things up and we use it in education to refer to tests that pile up all the learning so far into a test. So that’s cumulative testing in that case.

Sponsored by HAPS

Kevin Patton:
This podcast is sponsored by HAPS, the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society promoting excellence in the teaching of Human Anatomy & Physiology for over 30 years. Don’t forget that February 21st is the deadline for the early bird discount for the HAPS’s annual conference in Ottawa this May. It’s going to sneak up on you faster than you think. So go visit HAPS at theAPprofessor.org/HAPS, that’s H-A-P-S.

Book Club

I wonder if you’ve experienced any kind of stress over the last week. Most people would say yes to that me included. After all, I have a podcast episode to get out and the preview and I need to select a book club recommendation for that preview so okay my heart rate is already higher than it was a few minutes ago just thinking about the stress that I was feeling over this last week. But really what is stress and what’s the best way to explain it as a physiological phenomenon to our A&P students. I did my graduate research and physiological stress and I often struggle with how to explain it to my students in a way that will both expand and deepen their understanding. After all, stress is part of our lives and it touches on nearly every aspect of what the future healthcare professionals taking my A&P course will be doing in their careers.

So it’s well kind of important, right? In a book called The end of stress as we know it, the leading authority on stress, Bruce McEwen of Rockefeller university tackles the whole stress story. Besides explaining the ins and outs of stress as a physiological phenomenon, he also updates our understanding of stress as allostatic load, a kind of coping with abnormal conditions or situations. If you want an interesting read on an important topic that you already covered in your own story of the human body told in your own course, this is the book for you. I guarantee that your story will shift in many ways as you read McEwen’s version of a story that he’s been refining for an entire lifetime. The end of stress as we know it, is the current recommendation from the A&P professor book club and it’s one of those essential books that every A&P teacher ought to have in their professional library or on their Kindle or iPad or I don’t know, whatever.

Sponsored by HAPI Online Graduate Program

Kevin Patton:
The free distribution of this podcast is sponsored by the master of science in Human Anatomy & Physiology instruction. The happy degree. It’s a degree for folks who already have a graduate degree but want to power up their teaching by filling in gaps in science training and by getting up to speed with contemporary teaching practices. Check out this online graduate program at nycc.edu/hapi or click the link in the show notes or episode page

Survey Says…

Kevin Patton:
Hey, remember that survey I mentioned in the last episode, the one that’s going to help me figure out what’s working and what’s not working and what things I can tweak to make this the best podcast that’s going to serve you well. Well, it’s still out there and I still need responses, so please just take a few minutes it really does take just a few minutes. Go to theAPprofessor.org/survey and fill it up. It’ll help me a lot and I really, really appreciate your time and effort in doing that. Once again, it’s theAPprofessor.org/survey.

Sponsored by AAA

Kevin Patton:
Searchable transcript and a caption audio gram of this preview episode are funded by AAA, the American Association for Anatomy. I haven’t mentioned before that the anatomy.org website’s been redone. If you go to the home page, just click on the “Take a Tour” link that’s in the What’s New? section in the space, below the big photograph and check it out again. That’s anatomy.org.

Staying Connected

Well, this is Kevin Patton signing off for now and reminding you to keep your questions and comments coming. Why not call the podcast hotline right now at 1-833-LION-DEN? That’s 1-833-546-6336 or visit us at theAPprofessor.org I’ll see you down the road. Support for this preview episode comes from the American Association for Anatomy, ADInstruments, the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society, and the Master of Science in Human Anatomy and Physiology Instruction.

Preview | Captioned Audiogram

Regular Episode

Episode | Quick Take

The conversation about flashcards continues in this third of three series about helping our students use retrieval practice in A&P. Advanced methods include stars & emojis, multiple cards, plus concept lists & maps. We remember stress expert Bruce McEwen and introduce our new sponsor: ADInstruments.

00:45 | Bruce S. McEwan
03:59 | Sponsored by AAA
04:40 | Flashcards: Stars & Emojis
15:07 | Sponsored by ADInstruments
19:25 | Flashcards: Multiples & Spinning
27:20 | Sponsored by HAPI
28:00 |  Flashcards: Concept Lists & Maps
37:05 | Sponsored by HAPS
37:49 | Survey Says…
39:13 | Staying Connected


Episode | Listen Now

Episode | Show Notes

Bruce S. McEwen

3 minutes

Bruce S. McEwen, renowned stress expert, died recently. This segment pays tribute to his contributions.

  • The Rockefeller University » Neuroscientist Bruce McEwen, who studied the impact of stress on the brain, has died (obituary) my-ap.us/2R2vPc0
  • Mechanisms of stress in the brain (review article authored by McEwen, et al.) my-ap.us/2R4G2Vn
  • The Brain on Stress: Toward an Integrative Approach to Brain, Body and Behavior (perspectives article by McEwen) my-ap.us/35HnWhF
  • The End of Stress as We Know It (McEwen’s book) amzn.to/36sHnvN

the end of stress as we know it


Sponsored by AAA

0.5 minutes

AAA logo


Flashcards | Stars & Emojis

10.5 minutes

  • Required prerequisites (we want you to succeed)
  • A star, or other symbol—or even an emoji—can be used to code flashcards by:
    • Star referred to as “five-sided” is a pentagram that can also be described as “five-pointed”
      • It doesn’t have to be a star. For me, it does—because I still fear being hit by a chalkboard eraser.
    • Importance/priority of study (for test)
    • Topic or type of flashcards
  • Using symbols can promote the practice of prioritizing learning tasks by prioritizing knowledge, making it a metacognitive habit
  • Is it time to start using the emoji in biomedical literature? | The BMJ (umm, a journal article) my-ap.us/2TbF0cR



Sponsored by ADInstruments (NEW SPONSOR)

4.5 minutes

The A&P Professor podcast has a NEW SPONSOR:

ADInstruments provides the PowerLab data acquisition systems, Lt online learning platform, and content for laboratory solutions in physiology, anatomy, and biology. They support engaging, hands-on learning with simple set-up and high quality data.

🡲 From now to March 2020, ADInstruments is offering 10% off select solutions for our podcast listeners. Go to the URL below and use the lab solution builder and remember to mention this podcast on any webform to get the discount.

ADInstruments logo


Flashcards | Multiples & Spinning

8 minutes

spin class


Sponsored by HAPI Online Graduate Program

0.5 minute

The Master of Science in Human Anatomy & Physiology Instruction—the MS-HAPI—is a graduate program for A&P teachers. A combination of science courses (enough to qualify you to teach at the college level) and courses in contemporary instructional practice, this program helps you power up  your teaching. Kevin Patton is a faculty member in this program. Check it out!

NYCC Human Anatomy and Physiology Instruction


Flashcards | Concept Lists & Maps

9 minutes

Flashcard concept map


Sponsored by HAPS

1 minute

The Human Anatomy & Physiology Society (HAPS) is a sponsor of this podcast.  You can help appreciate their support by clicking the link below and checking out the many resources and benefits found there. Don’t forget the HAPS Awards, which provide assistance for participating in the HAPS Annual Conference.

HAPS logo


Survey Says…

1.5 minute

  • Please take about 5 minutes to answer some questions—it will really help improve this podcast!


Need help accessing resources locked behind a paywall?
Check out this advice from Episode 32 to get what you need!

Episode | Transcript

The A&P Professor podcast (TAPP radio) episodes are made for listening, not reading. This transcript is provided for your convenience, but hey, it’s just not possible to capture the emphasis and dramatic delivery of the audio version. Or the cool theme music.  Or laughs and snorts. And because it’s generated by a combo of machine and human transcription, it may not be exactly right. So I strongly recommend listening by clicking the audio player provided.

AAA logoThis searchable transcript is supported by the
American Association for Anatomy.
I'm a member—maybe you should be one, too!

Kevin Patton: Stress scientists Hans Selye once stated, “adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.”

Aileen: Welcome to The A&P Professor, a few minutes to focus on teaching human anatomy and physiology with a veteran educator and teaching mentor, your host Kevin Patton.

Kevin Patton: In this episode, we finish our conversation about flashcards. I remind you about our survey. I toast to the stress expert Bruce McEwen, and we introduced a new sponsor.

Kevin Patton: You may have heard the news that Bruce McEwen recently passed away after a brief illness. As I mentioned in a post on social media, he was one of my biology heroes…

Read More

McEwen was widely known for his pioneering work and understanding stress, how it affects the body, especially the brain, and how best to understand the role of stress in human anatomy and physiology. My research topic in grad school was physiological stress, specifically stress in captive wild animals. I found that McEwen was one of those brilliant and creative scientists who continually tested the edges of what we think we know about things. In this case, what we know about stress and its effects in the body.

Kevin Patton: So I’ve had a long time appreciation of McEwen’s work. One of the ideas that McEwen pioneered is the concept of allostasis. Put simply, allostasis is a set of coping mechanisms that the body employs to maintain survival and when conditions are not normal as in stressful conditions, there’s more to it. Different kinds of allostatic states and all kinds of different physiological mechanisms that are involved in coping with maintaining an allostatic load. It’s McEwen and his colleagues that got us working out these puzzles and finding ways to use allostasis to help us better understand stress in health and disease.

Kevin Patton: Just a few years ago, I realized that the stress chapter in my anatomy and physiology text book was in need of some updating because I was especially concerned about accurately representing current ideas about stress including allostasis, I decided to reach out to Bruce McEwen for advice and I honestly didn’t think someone of his stature in the field would be interested in or really just have the time for helping me work this out for undergraduate A&P students. It’s kind of like asking Thomas Edison for help and revising a chapter on the electric light bulb for a beginning textbook. But you know what? I was wrong. It turns out that McEwen was enthusiastic about helping. He was just that sort of guy. He gave me a lot of advice and the truckload or two of resources and ideas.

Kevin Patton: Working with my colleague Peggie Williamson, we revise the stress chapter in ways that we think are very effective for learning, and that was mainly because of McEwen’s help. So I’d like to dedicate this episode to the memory of a brilliant, creative and generous biology hero. Cheers.

Kevin Patton: A searchable transcript and a caption audiogram of this episode are funded by AAA, the American association for Anatomy. I’ve mentioned before that the anatomy.org website has been completely redone. If you go to the home page, find this section called what’s new. It’s just below that big photo that you’ll see on the homepage when you enter it. And then right at the bottom of that, there’s a button that says, take a tour. Why don’t you press the button and take a tour. Let’s see what’s going on. Again, that’s anatomy.org.

Kevin Patton: Yep. I have more to say about flashcards and I’m determined to get a lot more ways to use them into this episode, so strap in and hold on, but wait, wait, wait. Before we start this wild ride, I strongly suggest that you listen to episodes 58 and 59 first if you haven’t listened to them yet because those episodes get us ready for this one. Just think of episodes 58 and 59 as required prerequisites to ensure your success in this episode. The first thing I want to talk about is what I sometimes call star cards and it’s time once again for a story from the olden days.

Kevin Patton: When I was a college freshman, I was asked to join an accelerated chemistry class that was being offered for the first time. The professor was really excited about this new course he designed and maybe that contributed to the eagerness and enthusiasm he showed in class, but the thing is in the first couple of weeks of class, everything he covered, I had already aced in my high school chemistry class. There didn’t seem to be anything new and some of my classmates were finding it to be the same for them and we just kind of leaned back and sort of turned on the cruise control. But then we had our first test. We were all confident, but on the test I really struggled to solve problems that I’d solved easily when I was in high school and I kicked myself for not studying more. I was too confident. I also noticed that there were a few tricky problems and remembered specifically that our professor had walked us through how to solve them. I could remember that he walked us through them, I just couldn’t remember how he walked us through them because, well, I hadn’t studied enough.

Kevin Patton: So the next class period, this guy, this professor who had been all smiles, walked in and through the stack of graded exams on the desk, he was not smiling. He was glaring. Okay, maybe he was glaring at us and maybe he wasn’t. This is a story from the olden days told from a memory bank that has had a lot of time to polish certain aspects of what happened that day. So even though this is a true story, it may not have happened exactly this way. With that in mind, I’ll tell you that I swear I saw the blood vessels in his neck and forehead pulsing. I could see that even from my spot halfway back in the classroom. Once we’d all picked our graded tests off the front desk and saw that our extreme confidence had done us in and we’d not scored very well on this test. The professor seemed to be about to address us and then he stopped himself and spit on the floor and collected his thoughts a little bit longer.

Kevin Patton: Okay. I don’t think that actually happened in real life, but that was the kind of vibe I recall him giving off at that moment. When he did finally address us, he did tell us that he was upset and disappointed. Well, duh. It was pretty obvious. He too had been confident going into the first test and he too had been surprised at how badly we’d done. And yeah, he did seem boiling mad. In my head, I can see steam coming out of his ears, but I’m sure that didn’t really happen. Well, I’m pretty sure that didn’t really happen. Now remember that this was the olden days when teachers were not only allowed to hit students, they were encouraged to hit students. So we didn’t know what was going to happen next. He told us to get our notebooks. Some students hesitated or at least were kind of slow and he raised his voice and said, get them out now. So we did.

Kevin Patton: I prepared myself to duck, in case he started throwing chalkboard erasers at us. Remember this was the olden days when we use chalkboards and throwing erasers at students was indeed a possibility. So he showed us that in our notebooks, many of us had some of the exact same problems in our notes. Examples that we’d worked through together as a class. Other problems in our notebooks were very similar to other items on the test. And then he said, I knew what I was going to throw at you on the test and I helped you figure out how to solve each one of these, but none of you seem to take none of that.

Kevin Patton: What he said to us was, when I say when you see something like this on the test, I mean, it’s likely to be on the test. Literally a test item, or at least just like a test item. And so he told us from now on, anytime I say something like that in class, I want each of you to draw a star in your notebook next to that item. And then he drew a five sided star and said like this one, not another kind of star and not another kind of symbol. I want you to draw this. And he glared at us, I think, I don’t know. I feel as glare in my memory. Whether he gave one or not is I guess beside the point. So he seemed to have regained his composure and carried on with that day’s lesson.

Kevin Patton: He’d just finished helping us sort out the solution to a chemistry problem when he put down his chalk firmly and turned to face the class and said, put your pencils down. Not everyone did. So he raised his voice and said, “Now!” Again, I can’t testify wholeheartedly that steam was again spewing from his ears, but we were certainly back to that harsh demeanor he’d showed us earlier and he started looking at notebooks and he said, “Where’s your star? Hey and you over there. What about your star? And what? You don’t have a star either”. I just said, “You’d see something like this again and so you were supposed to mark that with a star and none of you did”. Then he addressed the whole class and said, “Pick up your pencils and draw a star. Now!”. So we all drew a five-sided star. You know what? It’s over 40 years later and I still draw a five-sided star next to items that are especially important.

Kevin Patton: I tell this story to my students to get them to listen for those cues about what they really need to know or to be able to demonstrate on a test and sometimes when I think that they may not have caught my drift, I stop and I look at them and I raise my eyebrows or I wink dramatically and walk over to the corner of the whiteboard, which in these modern times we use instead of a chalkboard, and I draw a five-sided star and then they get it and they chuckle and they draw a five-sided star and their notebook. I’m telling you this because, well I like to tell stories, you know that about me, but it also helps us with flashcards. We can use a five-sided star to denote a flashcard or some content within a flashcard as being particularly important. Maybe it’s something that the teacher told us or hinted at possibly being on an upcoming test.

Kevin Patton: There was an article in the British Medical Journal not long ago proposing that we start using emojis in the biomedical literature. Really that’s what it was about. I think it was tongue in cheek, but it was written like a serious journal article. I have a link to it in the show notes and episode page at theAPprofessor.org/60. In that article, they point out that symbols are powerful when it comes to representing complex concepts in a simple, easy to remember way. They just stick. So maybe using emojis is a way of extending my chemistry professors star system into a more extensive and even more powerful tool for learning.

Kevin Patton: Besides the obvious utility of using stars or other symbols to add meaning to our flashcard content, the act of using such a system is a way of prioritizing learning tasks. That is, it transforms this essential learning process of figuring out what we should spend most of our learning time and energy on into a concrete task. What was an abstract metacognitive notion, it’s now a simple task because it soon becomes a habit, meaning that prioritizing learning tasks is now a habit. Now, that fire hose of information that students have to deal with in the typical A&P course is more manageable. That’s important. So important that I expect you to draw a five-sided star next to this idea.

Kevin Patton: As we approach a new year of this podcast, I’m thinking, wow, this is fun. I enjoy sharing news and ideas. It’s kind of an extension of my other teaching and mentoring activities and I love, love, love the fact that you’re contributing to, I know you’ve got some things to share, so maybe the new year is a good time to get around to doing that. Part of what we’re sharing with each other in this podcast is opportunities and that’s part of what I’m doing with sponsorships. Yeah. Sponsorships do help defray some of my podcasting expenses. More importantly though, these are resources that I believe in. Resources that I think we should all be aware of as A&P teachers because they make up a treasure trove of things we can use to make the learning experiences of our students richer and more effective. With that in mind, I want to welcome a new sponsor to the A&P professor podcast.

Kevin Patton: Now, if you listened to the preview episode that preceded this full episode, you already know who the new sponsor is. It’s a company called ADInstruments. You may already know that ADInstruments is widely recognized as a source for top notch data acquisition equipment and software used in both research and education. As far as A&P education goes, ADInstruments has some powerful and easy to use solutions to help students explore the structure and function of the human body in real-time. I got to tell you, when I hear the name ADInstruments, I always smile inwardly. The first thing that always comes to mind is a demo of a heart rate module that they did for us on our campus many, many years ago. Even though we faculty had all been around this sort of thing forever, we had a blast with an activity involving the diving reflex. Besides that, I marveled at how easy it was to set up and use, which in my mind is a necessary quality and learning activities.

Kevin Patton: If it’s complicated, it’s just not going to work well for learning and most teachers are just going to stop bothering to even use it anymore. Me included. But what still gets me is that after all these years, after that demo, I still remember it vividly. What we did and what we learned. All these years later. Isn’t that how we want all our learning activities to go, to produce vivid, lasting memories of important concepts in a positive, even fun context. If you want to check out, there are many resources for A&P teaching. Just hand over to go.ADInstruments.com/podcast. That’s G-O go.ADInstruments.com/podcast or use the link in the show notes or episode page at theAPprofessor.org/60. ADInstruments, welcome to the A&P professor family.

Kevin Patton: Hold on, I forgot one of the best parts of this and that is that ADInstruments is offering 10% off select solutions for listeners to the A&P Professor podcast. Yeah, that’s right. 10% off and this goes through March. Just go to their website at the go.ADInstruments.com/podcast and then use their lab solution builder and remember to mention this podcast on any web form in order to get your 10% off.

Kevin Patton: Hey, don’t worry. I have lots more flashcard ideas to share. One that I’ll share now is that it’s an effective practice to have more than one flashcard for the same term or concept. For example, one could be a basic definition. Another flashcard on the same topic could be more detailed perhaps yet another flashcard on the same topic could be a diagram version. Another example of applying this strategy is having a multiple cards for different modes of representing concepts. For example, textual versus visual or for different aspects or applications of the term or concept. So it’s not only, okay, it’s probably preferable if three cards on ATP come up in our stack. One might be about how ATP is structured and how it transfers energy in cells. Another flashcard could focus instead on how ATP is generated by way of phosphorylation, and yet another card could be about a case of ATP transferring energy to, I don’t know, let’s say the myosin head or some other mechanism in the cell that needs the energy from that ATP.

Kevin Patton: One could end up with dozens of ATP cards by the end of the course, maybe all with an ATP icon or ATP emoji. Is there an ATP emoji? There ought to be if there’s not so you can have these little icons or emojis to identify which ones are the ATP cards. Another approach to generating more than one flashcard for the same term or concept is to make a card just for pronunciations to gain practice. When we study, we often don’t get the practice in spoken language we need because we’re doing it silently.

Kevin Patton: I’m not sure where she got this, but a friend of mine who’s a longtime foreign language professor used to tell me that in language learning we need to say new terms 18 times before it really sinks in. There’s probably nothing magic about the number 18. What’s important is that it takes a lot more than just a couple of repetitions out loud. Another reason to make more than one flashcard about a concept is that maybe we make another card, a copy to put into a different stack later in the course. Maybe make note of the fact that it’s a copy that is a tiny note or symbol on each copy to market as a copy of another card or cards.

Kevin Patton: Another option is to, I don’t know, maybe list all the related cards in each topic deck. In other words, kind of an index or table of contents. For example, have a card at the top of each topics deck that lists all the cards in all the other decks that relate to the topic of this deck. One could then go and pull all those other cards from their decks to review while studying the current deck. Yeah, I know that takes a lot more time and trouble when you’re going through and pulling all these cards from other decks, but it’s not just paperwork or busy work when you’re spending all that time doing that, it’s an active way to work through and consider how this new topic builds on previously learned concepts. It’s real learning when you’re doing all that. It seems like just a housekeeping chore, but it’s real learning. It’s deep learning that’s going on when we make our list of connected concepts and go find them and pull them into the new deck.

Kevin Patton: As long time listeners know, one of my favorite retrieval practice strategies is testing, testing, and more testing. Every time we grapple with a test item, we are doing retrieval practice that reinforces learning. If we miss it, then we know where our weak spot is and we try it again until we get it right. Then do a similar test item on that concept and get it right again. Thus reinforcing our learning for the long term. So it’s not surprising that I recommend that my students make a deck of cards with practice questions. These practice question cards could make up a new deck separate from the main study deck with content names and their descriptions and related information or the practice question cards could just be cards added to that original study deck or they could be shuffled together. Then separated, then shuffled together again, whatever works for that learner.

Kevin Patton: If you give your students practice tests, that could be a source of questions for these test item flashcards. Another source of test items for their flashcards could be textbook chapter questions or questions from their printed or online study guide or adaptive learning module. Practice questions for flashcards could come from previous tests. If students are preparing for a cumulative test. In episode four, I stated that all my tests are cumulative. So for my students this is a great strategy. Even if your tests are not cumulative, mixing in old test questions that relate to the current topic in some way is a great review. Something that will provide additional space to retrieval practice and thus strengthen learning.

Kevin Patton: Another great source of practice questions is to make up practice questions. Students can do this on their own or as an activity within a study group and as the course goes on, most students start to get a good feel for the kinds of questions you ask on tests and so they become more and more accurate in predicting what kinds of challenges they’re likely to encounter on an upcoming test. And they have those star cards anyway, where they made a little note of something that you told them was going to be on a test. So that’ll help them make up their practice test items for their flashcards.

Kevin Patton: Another flashcard technique is using the flashcard learning cycle, and what I mean by that is literally a cycle that is using stationary cycling, a type of exercise that makes learning flashcards more effective. Really, there’s research to prove it. I have a link in the show notes and the episode page at theAPprofessor.org/60 if you want to know more about that, but make sure your students are doing stationary spinning and that studying flashcards while biking on a road or trail or across the campus. That’s not safe, but I think it’s okay if you’re on a stationary cycle.

Kevin Patton: Yet another trick to improve learning with flashcards is to take an occasional break or a dump. No, no, no, no, not that kind of dumb. This is where a student sets aside their flashcard deck and simply starts writing down or drawing everything they know about the topic they’re studying. It’s a sort of a brain dump or concept dump onto a blank sheet of paper. This kind of dumping kind of shakes things up. It gets a student out of the flashcard routine and gives an effective way to do more retrieval practice.

Kevin Patton: The free distribution of this podcast is sponsored by the Master of Science in Human Anatomy & Physiology Instruction. The HAPI degree. I’m on the faculty of this program so I know the incredible value it is for A&P teachers. When’s the last time you had a thorough review of all the core concepts of both anatomy and physiology or comprehensive training in contemporary teaching practice? Check out this online graduate program at nycc.edu/HAPI. That’s H-A-P-I or click the link in the show notes or episode page.

Kevin Patton: I know what you’re thinking. He’s got to be done talking about flashcards. You know what? You’re wrong, there’s more. You may recall back in episode eight, I introduced the learning strategy called running concept lists. Put simply, this is where a student keeps a running list of core concepts that keep coming up again and again and again in the course. For example, we’ve already talked about the fact that ATP comes up again and again and again. So a student could keep a running ATP list where they add new information about ATP every time they encounter it. That’s kind of what I was talking about in that story about how my ecology professor, Dr Dina, taught me how to use flashcards for learning science back in episode 58.

Kevin Patton: He suggested updating old flashcards when I learned something new about that concept. So another way to use flashcards is to use them as running concept lists. By doing so, it’s helping us see connections between ideas and to build a solid multidimensional conceptual framework as we learn. If you want to know more about running concept lists, and there’s a lot more to think about with running concept lists, watch the bonus video. It’s a video seminar in the free TAPP app, so just click on videos when you get to the free TAPP app. Check the show notes or theAPprofessor.org/60 for a link to download that app.

Kevin Patton: Back in episode five, I talked about concept maps, which some people call them mind maps. A classic sort of concept map is where a student draws out a web with lines connecting little boxes or bubbles showing how related concepts connect to each other. For example, one could arrange all the types of blood cells into some sort of web that shows categories in relationships. It could get even more complex by adding details of functions and perhaps connecting to other related concepts such as immunity or gas transport or blood clotting.

Kevin Patton: With flashcards, a student could place flashcards out on a table or desk and then arrange them as a concept map, showing connections in the same sort of way. One advantage of using flashcards in concept mapping is that the cards can be moved around very easily as connections are considered. So yeah, I think it goes here. No, I think it fits better over here. No, maybe over there again. And so you move it all around without, having to erase or white something out or base something over. So yeah, it’s an easy way to at least set up and design your concept map. Not only that, but one set of relationships could be gathered up and reshuffle and a different set of connections could be built with the same flashcards.

Kevin Patton: Whether once that’s up one flashcard concept map or several, a student could snap a picture with their mobile device. Once a concept map is complete, that picture then could be used to study and to share with other students. It might also be used when seeking help or asking questions of a tutor or of the instructor or when they’re asking their study buddies about something that confuses them and pull out that picture of a concept map and say, “Look, here’s what I’m thinking”. And maybe it’ll help that other person, the instructor, for example, figure out where their thinking went wrong or maybe point out that they really do understand it. Maybe they shouldn’t be confused.

Kevin Patton: Another advanced way of using flashcards relates to helping students understand or learn things in a proper order. For example, students need to understand the order of layers of the skin or the layers of the heart wall or the structures through which blood flows through the heart or through the entire circulatory system. By using a small deck of flashcards with the layers of the skin, a student could do retrieval practice by laying them all out on the table and then arranging them into the correct anatomical order. Let’s say from superficial to deep. That student could then gather them all up, shuffle the cards, and then do it again, only this time start with deep and go to the superficial. So they’re literally learning. It forwards them backwards in a way. And another thing they could do is like with the layers of the skin, they could take out the couple layers of the epidermis that aren’t found in thin skin and then try to put them in order again, what happens when I’m missing a couple of them here, can I still do it?

Kevin Patton: Similarly, students could make some flashcards with the major phases of physiological processes. For example, the steps of muscle contraction or the steps of synaptic transmission or signal transduction or with hormones or with neurotransmitters or something. There’s just all kinds of important processes that students need to know in a process, a stepwise way. And whether it’s anatomical order or physiological order. The ability to put things in the correct order is a very important skill that I think students don’t study and I think we forget to test on sometimes. And it is a higher order application of basic knowledge and it’s one that will really serve the student well is they move further along in their applications of anatomy and physiology. So I’m a big, big believer in put an order items on a test and therefore in helping students learn how to learn things in the correct order.

Kevin Patton: One other thing I recommend that students do a lot of times, like let’s say they’re learning the steps of muscle contraction, they’ll copy those steps from whatever resource they have in the text book for example, there may be a table or a text description or maybe even a list and they’ll just copy down the elements of that list and put them on flashcards and learn it that way, and that’s just fine. But what I recommend to my students is once you’ve got that down, now make another doc and put them in your own words, maybe even divide up the steps in a different way, maybe group a couple or split a couple so that it’s the same story, but it’s not told them exactly the same words and see if you can get the scenes of that story put into the correct order. So another advanced way to use flashcards.

Kevin Patton: Now in all of these various learning strategies involving flashcards, an essential step is to check accuracy. I know I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. Students just are not in the habit of taking that extra, but important step of checking accuracy. They often think that if they find a deck of cards in use by another student in Quizlet or Anki or some other virtual flashcard platform, that it must be accurate. Otherwise it wouldn’t be there. Well, it’s often not accurate. So because there’s no mechanism in those systems to do editing and check and see. So they need to check the content against their course material such as their textbook before they use it because they might possibly be learning the wrong information if they don’t take that step. And it’s a good habit to get into professionally to always double check your information. I know as a teacher I do that. I’m always double checking to make sure that what I’m providing to the students is accurate.

Kevin Patton: Now, as mentioned before, flashcards, no matter which combination of flashcard techniques and media a student uses is a form of retrieval practice and learning science is very clear that retrieval practice is the most powerful approach to longterm learning that we have. My view is that if students do nothing but use flashcards for learning and I mean really use them and no other special study technique beyond the basic assignments of the course, they can be very, very successful in the A&P course. And beyond that our students will get the practice they need with flashcards to help them be successful in their other basic sciences, in their clinical and professional courses and in their careers and they all lived happily ever after.

Kevin Patton: Marketing support for this podcast is provided by HAPS, the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society promoting excellence in the teaching of human anatomy and physiology for over 30 years. If you’re thinking about doing a poster or workshop for the HAPS annual conferences, May, that deadline is starting to creep up on us. It’s February 21st and it’ll be here before you know it. That’s also the deadline for the early bird registration rate. Just go visit HAPS at theAPprofessor.org/haps that’s HAPS to find all the forms and instructions that you’ll need.

Kevin Patton: As I’ve been mentioning recently, as we wind up the second full year of the A&P Professor podcast, it’s a good time for reflection. Remember that in episode 17, I advocated that we all do debriefings or reflections at the end of each academic year, and that’s what I’m doing now with this podcast. Part of that process for me this year is gathering feedback from you. So I’m asking you for about five minutes of your time to fill out a survey. It’s put together by a team of podcast analysts at Podtrac to see who’s listening and to help figure out what’s working and what’s not. Have you ever had the experience of surveying your students in an online course and only a few of them respond? That’s not very helpful, is it? As scientists, we know that sample size is important. So please, please, please take just a few minutes of your time to respond to the anonymous survey because it’s your experience as an individual listener that’s important to me. Okay. Yes, I will give you extra credit. If you fill it out. Just go to theAPprofessor.org/survey.

Kevin Patton: Well, don’t forget that I always put links in the show notes at the episode page at theAPprofessor.org/60. In case, you want to further explore it any ideas mentioned in this podcast or if you want to visit our sponsors and you’re always encouraged to call in with your questions, comments and ideas at the podcast hotline at 1-833-LION-DEN. That’s 1-833-546-6336 or send a recording or a written message to podcast@theAPprofessor.org. I’ll see you down the road.

Aileen: The A&P Professor is hosted by Dr. Kevin Patton, an award-winning professor and textbook author in human anatomy and physiology.

Kevin Patton: Calorie values for each episode are estimates only. Individual weight loss may vary.

Kevin Patton: Support for this episode comes from the American Association for Anatomy, ADInstruments, the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society, and the Master of Science in Human Anatomy & Physiology Instruction.

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