12 Oct, 2013
This write-up will give you all the information that you have been looking for about Abacus. You will get a glimpse into the journey of the Abacus from a simple calculator to a modern-day Brain development tool.
Abacus is a calculating device invented about 3000 years ago primarily in China, which later spread through countries like Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, etc. in ancient days. Abacus involves the Basic Arithmetic System for calculating numbers. It has now been used majorly as a ‘Whole Brain Development’ tool over the last two decades in addition to making Math learning easy and effective.
The word Abacus is derived from the Greek word ‘abax’ or ‘abakon’ meaning ‘tabular form’. The Abacus Tool in its journey of 3000 tears has gone through several changes to ease its use by the masses. The Suanpan, the Chinese abacus with 2/5 decks, got replaced by Soroban abacus, a Japanese abacus to cut down on the complexities in calculations. This modification is credited to the Japanese mathematician Seki Kowa. This has an upper and lower deck to make with 1/4 decks. This gained popularity worldwide as Globalization happened.
Scientific studies support the claim that the Abacus enhances the comprehension of Math and promotes accurate and faster calculation in addition to augmenting problem-solving abilities.
It is a simplistic kind of calculating device that lasted through generations and millennia, the Abacus, became an instrument of study for both educationists and scientists. The topic of interest and research in the 20th century was the speed and accuracy that Abacus users showed while doing mathematical calculations.
It was observed that the students who had attended a reasonable number of Abacus Classes under well-trained experts showed great skills of mental calculation. The scientific studies and neurological documents further proved that the use of the Abacus is effective in the development of the right brain.
The above was only a hypothesis that got adequate support from the data generated after the research was done with the help of hi-tech equipment. The major study on the effects of Abacus training on the human Brain was done by 3 eminent scholars and scientists Dr. Toshio Hayashi, Prof. Shizuko Amaiwa and Ms. Kimiko Kawano.
Development Of The Right Brain By The Abacus Method Of Mental Calculation
The human brain has a left hemisphere or the Left Brain and the right hemisphere or the Right Brain. Although both the parts function in tandem, yet they have certain individual functions to be performed.
The Left Brain or the digital brain controls reading and writing, calculation, and logical thinking. It is also responsible for our three-dimensional sense, creativity, and our artistic sense.
Dementia is a problem attributed to marginalized development of the Right Brain. The experts are of the opinion that our education system should adequately focus on training the Right Brain of the kids to reduce the possibilities of dementia.
During the process of Abacus training, the students learn to visualize the Abacus instrument. This is the beginning of learning to do Mental Math with an Abacus. The students move the Abacus beads in their heads on the imaginary Abacus instrument and carry out the calculations. This is one of the major reasons attributed by the scientists that they conclude could be responsible for effectively training the right brain.
The super-advanced medical equipment helps in accurately measuring the developments in cerebral physiology indicating the blood flow to the brain. The studies done on Abacus users who can do Mental Math indicate that it is highly effective in activating the Right Brain.
The students who complete all the 8 levels of Abacus training become a master in Mental Calculation.
The improvement of numerical memory
Students trained with efficient use of the Abacus are seen to be having a far superior and accurate memory and recall as compared to non-abacus learners of similar age. They are able to memorize and retain a large number of digits. This becomes possible because of their ability to visualize the Abacus and manipulate the beads and decipher bead position into numeric values.
Speed and accuracy in solving simple mathematical problems is the greatest advantage of learning Abacus. The ability to visualize aids in doing mental math without actually using the physical Abacus Tool.
Abacus method of calculation does not bind a student to a fixed process, they have the liberty to innovate while calculating, unlike the non-abacus students where their process lacks flexibility.
Verbal thinking and image processing (visualization)
When any person does a mental calculation he/she uses the inner voice, like in 55 minus 5 is 50.
But a child who has learnt to use Abacus also learns visualization. The important thing is that this ability can also be used for other subjects. Not only for that this ability developed in an Abacus class can also be used effectively in different ways.
While for the beginners, abacus helps to easily grasp images in addition and subtraction problems as the beads move in front of their eyes. The child also can learn the decimal system.
Glimpses of improvisations in Abacus and its developments
To enable students to get the best from Abacus education and also the learning is eased out for the students, a popular Abacus promoting company Mastermind Abacus has developed a hi-tech Abacus program but has made sure the sanctity of the ancient Abacus learning method is kept intact. The program is developed to give the children a joyful experience through the 2 years of Abacus training. It is the flaws in the existing Abacus Training Systems.
1. The calculating system adapted is School Curriculum Based:
The majority of the Abacus programs follow the pattern of calculating from left to right, but the schools teach calculations from right to left. This interferes with the understanding and adaptation to the varying patterns. Mastermind Abacus follows the school method of calculating from right to left.
Before the lockdown due to the Covid pandemic i.e. until the advent of 2020, Abacus learning was thought of being an exclusive offline program that can be conducted in an Abacus class where teachers take physical classes. They both have to move out of their homes. Starting an Abacus Class required infrastructure and monthly overhead rental. The students were always limited to surrounding areas.
In the year 2020, all schools and education institutes had their shutters down. These restrictions forced the promoters to develop an online Abacus learning and teaching system. Creating a virtual classroom accessible from the comfort of the homes.
Mastermind Abacus now has a conventional Abacus teaching and Learning program and also a Hi-tech hybrid Abacus E–Learning Platform. It enables the teacher to teach from remote, undoing the geographical limitations. It also offers a multilingual option.
The system meets all the parameters of an Abacus conventional teaching system like teaching correct finger movement. Mental Math, assigning Homework, conducting online exams, real-time evaluation, certification etc. All this is done through a well developed and easy to operate Teachers Panel.
The students learn on their system on their student"s panel.
Abacus Math Game-Based Learning
The learning happens through pre-recorded learning videos under the guidance of a certified Abacus teacher. Class work, homework and practice are all done by playing Abacus Math based game videos.
The system has a video conferencing window that allows the teacher to keep a vigil on the students and also the students can converse with the teacher if need be.
Mastermind Abacus Virtual Abacus:
A virtual online Abacus like a ready assistant is available as and when required to help the students as well as the teachers. This tool is very helpful for assisting both the students and teachers when no one is around to physically guide them.
Mastermind E-Learning Platform- A boon for Students and Trainers
Mastermind Abacus E-learning Platform has user-friendly features that make learning as effective as in any conventional Abacus classroom. It is a convenient option for those who had to either discontinue or want to learn Abacus in the present situation when educational institutes are yet to open. Location is also no more a hindrance.
If you are looking to enroll your child at an Abacus learning center, go ahead without any hesitation. It is going to benefit your child in improving his/her level of concentration, ability to visualize, memory and recall ability and obviously enhance the level of performance in overall studies. This is going to add to the confidence of the child. It could be one of the best academic gifts that you would be giving to your child.