SMILE room photo 1

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Diagrams of the Weighted Memory Theory

About the Project

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” - Albert Einstein

While teaching children facts and figures may give knowledge, imagination is more important, imagine a world without imagination, we wouldn’t have inventors, writers, scientists, artists and poets just to name a few. The SMILE room is designed to help nurture and inspire children’s imagination in the most amazing way possible enabling them to learn effectively.

When you visit a new place you are much more likely to remember your experiences because you “experienced” the place. This might sound strange but think when you go to the sea side, you remember how it LOOKED, the DEPTH of the ocean with boats far in the distance and all the SOUNDS you hear, you might also remember the SMELL of the salt in the air MOVING through your hair, the HEAT of the sun on your skin, the TASTE of fish and chips and the FEEL of the sand between your toes.

The idea of the SMILE room is to use all these senses to help build a better/stronger memory. Schools will try to give children a range of experiences including trips, but it is not practical to take them out all of the time and some experiences are just not possible. eg a trip to the International Space Station, is just not possible. This is where the SMILE room gives us something we cannot possibly do in real life, imagine the children all making space suits ready for a trip into space, they walk into the SMILE room which is set up as the inside of a space shuttle. They all put on their 3D glasses and sit down ready for launch, 3…2…1…. Lift Off!!! The engines fire (heard through the surround sound in the room) with the smell of rocket fuel in the air and they all boldly go where no child has gone before (ok maybe a bit too much Sci-Fi). During their flight to the space station the temperature drops (the air conditioning cools the room) to simulate the conditions in space. Upon docking with the space station they are taken on an interactive guided tour of the space station (3d blu-ray) and get to try some space food, before their journey back to earth.

This is only a small example of the uses of the SMILE room. We are developing an interactive wall to allow pupils to control and bring to life mathematics, science, art and more in an engaging, fun and creative way. We want to use a Wii in the room to help with co-ordination for children who need it, helping other children with team work and taking turns and to use games as inspirational tools for writing and creative projects. Games such as "Endless Ocean" and "Jambo! Safari" help teach children about animals and sea creatures in a fun and engaging way on the Wii and other titles on the PC can give starting points for literacy work or discussions.



Weighted Memory Theory (the science bit!)

A part of your brain called the hippocampus is vital for forming new memories. Scientists think that the experiences making up a memory are sent from our SENSES to the cortex, then on to areas surrounding the hippocampus. These 'glue' the memory together, before it is sent to the hippocampus itself, where information about context or location is added before it is saved. You could think of it as gathering information like photos, text, drawings etc for a project, then `gluing’ everything together then handing the completed project in (adding it to memory).

The theory behind weighted memory is based on scientific research showing that the more senses experienced during an event, or experience, the more likely it will be stored as a strong memory (strong memory meaning one we can easily remember in detail, rather than one where we struggle trying to remember).

The term “Weighted Memory” is used here to describe adding different senses, the more senses the "heavier" the memory and in theory the stronger the memory, helping children or adults remember more. The current approach for this is called multi-sensory learning which is already being utilised in schools, but we want to take it much further than is possible with current resources. Below is a list of different senses that can be used to add "weight" to a memory or fact you are trying to learn, plus how to add even more "weight" to each.

The idea is to help all children retain more information by combining these senses together. It has already been proven that adding just one of these elements can have huge improvements in knowledge retention.


"Interactive 3D solutions have been shown to increase students attention levels by 92% and increase test scores by 35% – while at the same time creating a new level of engagement for students and staff." - eon reality


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SMILE room Project - 27 Cresswell Drive, Hilperton, Trowbridge, Wiltshire BA14 7TN