Monday, 30 June 2008

Subliminal education

You've probably heard of subliminal advertising, but what about receiving a subliminal education? Well that seems to be the goal of video games developer Capcom and Nipan Maniar, a senior lecturer in creative technologies at the University of Portsmouth, who is described as a 'leading academic'.

The plan appears to be to embed subliminal lessons, which address subject areas that many students find hard to grasp such as maths and physics, into game play. According to Maniar, 'The power of games as a learning tool is the great untapped education resource of our time.'

But how do you feel about video games companies having the power to influence how children learn and what they learn? Do you agree with Maniar that this could be the next big thing in education, or do you have fears that this is just another example of technology being used irresponsibly, as was implied by this particular news item.

To read more about Capcom's plans, click here.

Match Wits is Book of the Month!

At least it is in W H Smith in Hammersmith.

If Smiths think Match Wits with the Kids is good enough to be non-fiction book of the month, don't you think it must be good enough for you too?

(Thanks to Catherine for the heads up on this one.)

Fun Learning

Part of the appeal of Match Wits with the Kids is that it promotes learning as a fun experience to be enjoyed by all.

Well how about this example of fun learning, as proposed by the rather appropriately named Mr Rolls, and witnessed recently on a school trip to Kew Gardens?

I don't know which part I found more amusing; the actual rolling down the hill or the laborious preparations beforehand.

But that's what I call fun learning!

Match Wits in Harrods

I happened to find myself in Harrods the other day (as you do from time to time when you live in London and it's your wife's birthday) and I happened across Match Wits with the Kids in the Waterstones store there.

I also happened to happen across a number of my other recent publications including my science fiction steampunk novel Leviathan Rising, my Doctor Who book The Horror of Howling Hill and several Fighting Fantasy gamebooks I had written.

As they say, there's only one Harrods, and there's only one Match Wits with the Kids too!

It pays to know your spellings

As reported in The Times newspaper, a GCSE student has gained marks in an exam for swearing on paper.

It just goes to show that a little accurate spelling can go a long way. It's just unfortunate for the expletive-expressing teenager that he didn't decide to write a little more on his exam paper or he might have earned himself more than just 2 marks out of 27.

Match Wits with the Kids has a whole section on spelling, including a number of useful spelling rules and a list of those words which are commonly misspelled.

So, if spelling isn't your strong suit you could do a lot worse than pick up a copy of the book here. We just wouldn't recommend resorting to the Anglo-Saxon vernacular when it comes to putting it into practice.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Win a copy of Match Wits With the Kids

Over at Parenting Without Tears they are offering 20 people the chance to win a copy of Match Wits With the Kids.

To enter their competition, just follow this link.

Love Reading loves Match Wits

I was very pleased to find Match Wits with the Kids at

As they say on their site, 'We don’t usually use Lovereading4kids to tell parents about a book that is perfect for you the parent this summer, but with this one we couldn’t resist.'

Go over there and check it out.

Match Wits in The Independent

So, you've read a few posts on the blog and you're intrigued by the idea of Match Wits with the Kids, but you're still not quite sure if it's the book for you.

Well, if that's the case, you could do a lot worse than read the review that appeared in The Independent's book section on Friday. If you missed it, you can read it online by following this link.

Go on, you know you want to!

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Match Wits on the 'Net

Match Wits with the Kids has now gained a fair Internet presence (just type the book title into Google to find out for yourself) but there are a couple of links that are worth following up in particular.

The first is at Just In Just Out, which has a very comprehensive review of the book.

And then over at the wonderfully named From Bump to Grump there is the opportunity to win a copy, courtesy of Icon Books.

So what are you waiting for?

Monday, 16 June 2008

Match Wits Google Search

I'm told by those people whose business it is to know such things that companies put a lot of effort and money into having their names at the top of the list when anybody puts the relevant search into Google.

However, I have also been told that with a little canny use of the Internet yourself, a writer can achieve the same results without having the big budget to back them up.

So, you can see why I'm understandably very happy that when you type 'Match Wits with the Kids' into Google UK, that the first ten items on the search results page are all to do with my book! This is thanks in part to an Amazon listing, my publisher Icon Books arranging for me to be filmed by the people at Meet the Author, and my own blogging efforts.

It just goes to show, that a little effort in the right place at the right time can work wonders! A lesson for us all, I feel.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Match Wits with the Kids from Icon Books

Match Wits with the Kids is now available to buy through the Icon Books website. And of course there are all sorts of other fascinating books that can be purchased from there. Why not check out Sean Connolly's Wholly Irresponsible Exploits! - 65 Ways to Muck About with Science, or 365: Great Stories from History for Every Day of the Year by W B Marsh and Bruce Carrick?

And then of course, there's Icon's children's imprint Wizard Books where you can find examples of the sort of books I wrote before Match Wits.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Match Wits on BBC London

Last night I was interviewed live on air on BBC London's the Late Show, by host Tessa Dunlop. As well as talking about my book Match Wits with the Kids we also got round to discussing the recent Children's Commissioners report.

You can listen to Monday's show at BBC London's own website any time today. Simply click on the link underneath 'On this site' labelled 'Listen Again: The Late Show with Jumoké Fashola' (don't worry, it really is the right one). You need to go to about one and three quarter hours in to hear the bit about Match Wits (as I was interviewed at 11.45pm).

I hope you find it illuminating.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Parents and teachers, working together

Being a teacher myself, I have known for a long time that children make the best progress at school when teachers and parents effectively work in partnership. This means more than simply helping with homework, and relies on teachers and parents creating the means to partake in an ongoing dialogue, between home and school.

An article in this week's Times Educational Supplement, specifically about The Compton School in Finchley, north London, makes the point that by involving their parents, pupils’ behaviour and results can be improved.

If you would like to read more about this topic yourself, click here.

Match Wits in the Sunday Times

Match Wits with the Kids got a mention in the Sunday Times, as part of an article about books aimed at adults to remind them of what they once learnt when they were at school.

If you missed it yourself, follow this link to read more at Times Online.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Match Wits in WHSmith

I popped into my local WHSmith today and was pleasantly surprised to not only find Match Wits with the Kids on sale there, but also a whole shelf of the books on display.

I still get a thrill when I see one of my books in print and in the shops, and seeing so many of them just made that thrill all the more exhilarating.

Coming soon

There are a couple of things coming soon that may interest readers of this blog.

On Sunday, all things being well, a major national newspaper will hopefully be running a feature about Match Wits with the Kids, while on Monday night (at around 11.40pm) I am going to be on BBC London radio, on The Late Show, talking about the book.

So why not pick up a copy or tune in to find out more?

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Match Wits with the Kids video

As promised, here is the video clip I recorded to accompany the release of Match Wits with the Kids.

Feelings of smug self-satisfaction to anyone who spots the 'deliberate' mistake ;-)

Monday, 2 June 2008

Wise Words

In my time as a teacher, I have come across the teachings of the renowned Chinese thinker and social philosopher Confucius (551-479 BC) time and time again. And so much of what he had to say, more than two thousand years ago, still rings very true to me today - as I thing it does for many. Just consider these famous quotes of his:

In all things, success depends upon previous preparation without which there is sure to be failure.

Learning without thought is labour lost; thought without learning is perilous.

I am not one who was born in the possession of knowledge; I am one who is fond of antiquity, and earnest in seeking it there.

Study the past if you would define the future.

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.

To learn and, from time to time, to apply what one has learned, isn't that a pleasure.

So, there you go; Chinese Philosophy 101. Class dismissed.