Feeling like the world is becoming less friendly? Social theorist Jonathan Zittrain begs to difffer. The Internet, he suggests, is made up of millions of disinterested acts of kindness, curiosity and trust.
Read Montague is interested in the human dopamine system — or, as he puts it in this illuminating talk from TEDGlobal 2012, that which makes us “chase sex, food and salt” and therefore survive.
Specifically, Montague and his team at the Roanoke Brain Study are interested in how dopamine and valuation systems work when two human beings interact with each other. Twenty years ago, studying a topic like this was all but impossible because scientists relied on worms and rodents for insight into the brain. But today, in addition to animal research, neurobiologists have at their disposal functional MRI (fMRI), which allows them to make “microscopic blood flow movies” and map the activity of human brains in action.
“We have a behavioral superpower in our brain and it at least in part involves dopamine,” says Montague in this talk. “We can deny any instinct we have for survival for an idea. No other species can do that.”
So how do we assign value to ideas, process the gestures of those around us, make complicated decisions, and create informed judgments about each other? Montague’s lab hopes to discover much more about how these processes work by “eavesdropping” on the brains of 5,000 to 6,000 participants all over the world as they play negotiation games. It’s fascinating research that could tell us more about our social nature. Because as Montague says, “You often don’t know who you are until you see yourself in interaction with people who are close to you, people who are enemies to you, and people who are agnostic to you.”
To hear much more about Montague’s work, watch this talk. Below, hear insights from 12 others who are working hard to give a clearer picture of how our brains work.
A conversation with David Thornburg about designing a better classroom
“Of all the places I remember from my childhood,” David Thornburg writes, “school was the most depressing.” The now award-winning educational futurist and creator of the “educational holodeck,” Thornburg’s early experience in the classroom prompted him to help others rethink traditional classroom design. In his latest book, From the Campfire to the Holodeck: Creating Engaging and Powerful 21st Century Learning Environments, Thornburg outlines four learning models: the traditional “campfire,” or lecture-based design; the “watering hole,” or social learning; the “cave,” a place to quietly reflect; and “life”—where ideas are tested.
Recent trends show that people increasingly value material goods over relationships—but neuroscience and evolution say this goes against our nature.
Lieberman’s new book Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect hits the shelves this month. It’s a book about relationships and why relationships are a central—though increasingly absent—part of a flourishing life. Lieberman draws on psychology and neuroscience research to confirm what Aristotle asserted long ago in his Politics: “Man is by nature a social animal … Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god.”
Steal these ideas! We invited anyone who has ever blogged for The Learning Network to post an example of “connected teaching” or “connected learning.” Read their wonderful responses, then tell us how you’d answer the question.
"Are you looking for a way to promote geography in your school in a way that involves students, parents, other teachers and administrators? A Family Geography can absolutely help. Here are some guidelines to run a Family Geography night at a school or an Alliance function."
Learning to create, manage and promote a professional learning network (PLN) will soon become, if it’s not already, one of the most necessary and sought after skills for a global citizen, and as such, must become a prominent feature of any school curriculum.
Few progressive educationalists would argue that a personal learning network (PLN) is not incredibly valuable and important. Passionate advocates including Murray, Whitby, and Sheninger lead with clarity in such discussions. The wealth of professional development that stems from such a network is quickly defining it as an essential tool for teachers, and will, I believe, replace organised costly professional development undertaken by organisations.
However presently, few discussions and promotions of PLN’s venture further than lauding specific benefits for teachers. But why just teachers, and not students? Could students benefit from a network of learners? Considering the importance of exams in determining futures, it seems that professional development for students not only has unbounded potential, but must be taught as a matter of urgency.
Establishing a PLN seems simple enough on the surface, but to do it successfully and optimize its potential contains within in it a challenging and vigorous set of learning opportunities. Curating, managing, and promoting a PLN develops critical, creative, 21st century, and an increasingly important set of socio-emotional capabilities. Integration into modern curriculums would be seamless. Of course the best way to teach is to show, not tell, so here is a list, but by no means a definitive list, of the skills that are learned:
The 2013 Australian School Library Survey, conducted by Softlink on behalf of the Australian School Library industry, examines key trends and issues impacting school libraries. Key analysis includes annual school library budgets, staffing...
There is a new digital divide on the horizon. It is not based around who has devices and who does not, but instead the new digital divide will be based around students who know how to effectively find and curate information and those who do not.