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New research has found that the cerebellum, the brain's movement-control center, actually contributes to creativity.
By Katy French Whether it’s electrical stimulation of the brain, taking a walk, or doing something boring, scientists are constantly looking for ways to help us be more creative. Neuroscientists are particularly interested in which areas of the brain contribute to or control creativity, and new research is giving us a little more insight. A new study by Stanford’s School of Medicine and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design has found an unexpected link between creativity and the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls movement.
This part of the brain has never been recognized as contributing to the creative process, but it turns out that it does play a part. For the study, researchers devised a method to test creativity—without explicitly telling participants that they were supposed to be creative—and monitored brainwave activity to identify what areas of the brain were being activated.
Participants were given two tasks: Visually depict certain words (a la Pictionary), such as “vote” or “salute,” and draw a zigzag line (a task that requires motor skills but not much creativity). While they performed the tasks, participants’ brains were monitored via MRI scans. Once the drawings were completed, participants were asked to rate how difficult the words they were given to draw were (to give researchers a sense of perceived difficulty). After the experiment, researchers analyzed and rated the drawings for creativity according to specific criteria, including accuracy of depiction, number of elements in the drawing, how elaborate or original the drawing was, etc."...
Neuroscientist Richard Davidson presents his research on how social and emotional learning can affect the brain. Read more about the topic, including how to use social and emotional learning to stop bullying, on the Edutopia website: http://www.edutopia.org/social-emotional-learning
By Mary Plummer[Picture caption: Music teacher and former principal Carl Schafer has logged about 1,700 miles during his three-year quest to get arts taught in California's public schools. Mary Plummer/KPCC]
"There’s a little-known law that requires California's public schools to teach dance, theater, visual arts and music. Most school districts ignore it. Carl Schafer is on a mission to change that.
Schafer has spent the last three years lobbying to get arts instruction to every student in the state.
"When I first started doing this and bringing it up, there were lots of people in very important positions in education who were not aware," he said.
Since then, Schafer has made it his personal crusade to ensure the law is enforced. He's had meetings with state Sen. Carol Liu; Rick Pratt, the chief consultant to the state Assembly Committee on Education; and California Congressman Ted Lieu.
Schafer's made some progress. State Sen. Ben Allen is considering calling for an informational hearing to tackle the subject of arts instruction in the education code. The California Arts Council has also agreed to discuss the education code at a September meeting in Santa Cruz.
Schafer thinks all schools can offer arts instruction as mandated by the state.
"I think it’s attainable," he said. "It’s really, I think, a matter of learning how to do it." ...
"Nationwide, 42 states require the arts be taught from elementary to high school. But in recent years, the recession and an emphasis on standardized testing led to arts funding cuts in many school districts."...
Much of this frenzy of access is facilitated by mobile devices. Nearly three-quarters of teens have or have access1 to a smartphone and 30% have a basic phone, while just 12% of teens 13 to 17 say they have no cell phone of any type. African-American teens are the most likely of any group of teens to have a smartphone, with 85% having access to one, compared with 71% of both white and Hispanic teens. These phones and other mobile devices have become a primary driver of teen internet use: Fully 91% of teens go online from mobile devices at least occasionally. Among these “mobile teens,” 94% go online daily or more often. By comparison, teens who don’t access the internet via mobile devices tend to go online less frequently. Some 68% go online at least daily.
"Yesterday, I stumbled onto the KQED YouTube video about making memes. I love memes! A meme is a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied–often with slight variations–and spread rapidly by Internet users. I decided I wanted to find a way to incorporate memes in my English class. The timing was perfect. We are just wrapping upThe Joy Luck Clu and I had the computer lab booked!
I decided to have students create an original meme focused on one of the major themes we discussed from the novel. I was clear to tell that the meme was not about the novel, but rather dealing with a similar theme. I wanted their memes to be clever commentaries on life.
I shared a few memes that deal with the power struggles between children and their parents, unrealistic parent expectations, and the challenges of growing up. https://www.facebook.com/MommyMemes
Here’s a progression you can follow to guide students:
Step 1: Decide on a Theme
Ask students to identify a theme they want to focus on when they create their memes.
Step 2: Complete an Advanced Google Search
Show your students how to do an Advanced Google Search to look for images that have been labeled for reuse. Most students probably haven’t ever done an advance image search looking for images labeled for reuse. Unfortunately, many teens grab images online and reuse them without permission, so this is an important life lesson.
Step 3: Decide on an Image
Once they’ve decided on an image, have them save the picture to their device or take a screenshot.
Step 4: Upload the Image to a Google Drawing
Ask students to log into their Google Drive and create a new Google Drawing and upload their image. If you are using Google Classroom or Doctopus, you can create a Drawing for your students. If your students create their own Google Drawings, remind them to use a standard naming convention (e.g. Class Name – Last Name – Theme Meme).
Step 5: Add Clever Text!
Ask student to add text to their image to create their memes. I reminded my students that their mix of media and text should send a clear and interesting message about their chosen theme."...
"Why do you do what you do? What is the engine that keeps you up late at night or gets you going in the morning? Where is your happy place? What stands between you and your ultimate dream?
Heavy questions. One researcher believes that writing down the answers can be decisive for students.
He co-authored a paper that demonstrates a startling effect: nearly erasing the gender and ethnic minority achievement gap for 700 students over the course of two years with a short written exercise in setting goals.
Jordan Peterson teaches in the department of psychology at the University of Toronto. For decades, he has been fascinated by the effects of writing on organizing thoughts and emotions.
Experiments going back to the 1980s have shown that "therapeutic" or "expressive" writing can reduce depression, increase productivity and even cut down on visits to the doctor.
"The act of writing is more powerful than people think," Peterson says.
Most people grapple at some time or another with free-floating anxiety that saps energy and increases stress. Through written reflection, you may realize that a certain unpleasant feeling ties back to, say, a difficult interaction with your mother. That type of insight, research has shown, can help locate, ground and ultimately resolve the emotion and the associated stress.
At the same time, "goal-setting theory" holds that writing down concrete, specific goals and strategies can help people overcome obstacles and achieve.
'It Turned My Life Around'
Recently, researchers have been getting more and more interested in the role that mental motivation plays in academic achievement — sometimes conceptualized as "grit" or "growth mindset" or "executive functioning."
Peterson wondered whether writing could be shown to affect student motivation. He created an undergraduate course called Maps of Meaning. In it, students complete a set of writing exercises that combine expressive writing with goal-setting.
Students reflect on important moments in their past, identify key personal motivations and create plans for the future, including specific goals and strategies to overcome obstacles. Peterson calls the two parts "past authoring" and "future authoring."
"It completely turned my life around," says Christine Brophy, who, as an undergraduate several years ago, was battling drug abuse and health problems and was on the verge of dropping out. After taking Peterson's course at the University of Toronto, she changed her major. Today she is a doctoral student and one of Peterson's main research assistants."...
"See Mrs. Jones. She has a fantastic idea for a new assignment. It’s going to be challenging and engaging and fun. Before she can give this assignment to her students, Mrs. Jones needs to get a few things on paper. She starts by writing up a prompt. See Mrs. Jones smile as her fingers fly across the keyboard, crafting the language that describes what students will do.
Then it’s time to build a rubric. Watch as Mrs. Jones creates an empty table with four columns – one for each level of proficiency – and five rows that break down the areas that will be assessed. Four rows, five columns. Mrs. Jones prepares to fill all twenty cells.
See Mrs. Jones slump down in her chair.
If you’re like Mrs. Jones, you rely on densely packed analytic rubrics to assess student work. But creating these rubrics – trying to imagine every possible scenario that will result in an assignment being labeled as a 1, 2, 3 or 4, or whatever terminology might stand for those numbers – can be both soul-crushing and time-consuming.
Then, when it comes time to assess student work, you’re likely to find many assignments that don’t fit neatly into any one column.
What’s worse, others demonstrate qualities you didn’t even anticipate, like the student who spelled everything perfectly but was lax on punctuation. Your “mechanics” section doesn’t have a place for that.
And do students even read these rubrics? Having been on the receiving end of multi-page, multi-cell rubrics stuffed to the gills with 9-point font, I would say no. I did not read all of those cells. I looked at the third and fourth columns, where expectations met and exceeded expectations were described, and I did everything I could to make my work satisfy those criteria. The other two columns got little more than a glance."...
"This project began as an independent study with Dr. Ruth Small, School of Information Studies, Syracuse University: Develop a bibliography of theories of motivation along with citable notes for selected articles. For each theory, 8-10+ resources in the field of education and information studies were identified. A culminating project will be a synthesis or summary of what was learned and how it might apply to my research and dissertation.
Mind maps (Ability & Achievement and Task Value) for different aspects of the theories are in process. During the course of the study we enlisted the help of ExecDoc student Pat McKenna who concentrated her efforts on several theories including interest and curiosity. One of Dr. Ruth's students, Kristen Link, MSLIS, contributed her work for the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy Theory of Motivation. Dr. Ruth will invite her IST 617 graduate students to contribute to the site as part of their course work. Per Dr. Ruth's suggestion, we are building a data collection which will be used to interview theory experts. My own work on the site will continue beyond the completion of this independent study as part of my research focus. 88 theories have been identified."...
"Premieres Wednesdays, October 14-November 18, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET on PBS.
Neuroscientist David Eagleman explores the human brain in an epic series that reveals the ultimate story of us, why we feel and think the things we do. This ambitious project blends science with innovative visual effects and compelling personal stories, and addresses some big questions. By understanding the human brain, we can come close to understanding humanity."
"Amplify, the education division of Rupert Murdoch's company, is deeply in the red and on the auction block after its ambitious vision failed to materialize.
The global media giant News Corp. sought to push its way into the K-12 marketplace five years ago by betting big on technology. Now, despite a $1 billion investment and a steady stream of brash promises to radically disrupt the way public schools do business, the company's education division, known as Amplify, is deeply in the red and on the auction block.
Veteran observers of the fickle K-12 ed-tech market say they aren't surprised.
"There's a long history of education entrepreneurs who have crashed on the rocks because the market was not what they thought it would be," said Douglas A. Levin, a consultant on the ed-tech market and the recent head of the State Educational Technology Directors Association.
Inside schools, meanwhile, the ripple effects of Amplify's striking demise promised to be minimal. A majority of the 30,000 or so tablet computers sold by the company went to a single district, and Amplify fell far short of its modest goal of getting its no-expense-spared digital curriculum into the hands of 30,000 students by the 2015-16 school year.
Experts attributed the company's lack of impact on the K-12 market to a series of miscalculations."...
By Jesse Stommel "The digital humanities is as much about reading humanities texts with digital tools as it is about using human tools to read digital text. We are better users of technology when we are thinking critically about the nature and effects of that technology. What we must do is work to encourage students and ourselves to think critically about new tools (and, more importantly, the tools we already use). Far too much work in educational technology starts with tools, when what we need to start with is humans."
Objectives: To study the associations of screen time (Internet / video games / television) with health-related behaviors and outcomes in adolescents.
Methods: Regression analyses were performed to assess the associations of screen time with several health-related behaviors and outcomes in 2425 Dutch adolescents.
Results: Screen time was associated with bullying, being bullied, less physical activity, skipping school, alcohol use and unhealthy eating habits. Compulsive and excessive screen times were associated respectively with several psychosocial problems and being overweight.
Conclusions: Screen time was of significant importance to adolescent health. Behavioral interrelatedness caused significant confounding in the studied relations when behaviors were analyzed separately compared to a multi-behavioral approach, which speaks for more multi-behavioral analyses in future studies.
"Psychological science has much to contribute to enhancing teaching and learning in the everyday classroom by providing key insights on:
* Effective instruction
* Classroom environments that promote learning
* Appropriate use of assessment — including data, tests, measurement and research methods that inform practice.
We present here the most important principles from psychology — the Top 20 — that would be of greatest use in the context of pre-K to 12 classroom teaching and learning. We encourage consideration and practice of the Top 20 throughout all teacher preparation programs to ensure a solid foundation of psychological knowledge in pre-K to 12 instruction."
"As someone wiser than us once said, “You don’t get anything in this life for free…”
Certainly not when it comes to finding half-decent stock photos to use to spice up your Teachmeet or Edcamp presentation, to make inspiring classroom posters out of or spruce up your blog posts. There are two problems with using stock photos — firstly, the good ones aren’t free and, secondly, the free ones aren’t very good!"...
..."Thankfully, the design community and teachers such as Jane Hewitt are doing their best to provide alternatives to the cheesy and the costly — stylish and high-resolution stock photos that are completely free to do what you like with. Gone are the days of doing a quick Google Image search and cut and pasting an image without really considering who it belongs to. On the back of our post on digital citizenship, we’ve been meaning to write this as a follow-up. What good is an encouragement to cite your sources, respect copyright and give credit where it’s due without any help to do so? Here, then, is your help…
Half-decent stock photos are not always easy to locate, but here are the best we’ve found. What’s great about this list is that for the vast majority, you don’t need to include attribution — the photographer has provided them for you to do what you like with — whether that be the background for your TED talk (!), a story-starter for your English lesson or for your students to use in their project work."...
Ed. Note: Today we present a guest post from Josh Cuevas, a cognitive psychologist and assistant professor in the College of Education at the University of North Georgia. Enjoy!
"Since early on in graduate school when I began studying cognition, I’ve followed the learning styles movement because it was such a powerful phenomenon. It took hold rapidly, seemingly overnight, at all levels of education. And, like so many fads in education and science, it created a big-money industry involving conferences, training seminars, paid speakers, how-to manuals, and a variety of other mediums, inevitably linked to a profit in some way. Yet in the peer reviewed studies I was sifting through, evidence for learning styles was nowhere to be found. And more than a decade later I’m still looking for it.
Today when I suggest to students that learning styles are no more than a myth, I can hear their collective jaws drop, regardless of whether they’re undergraduates or graduate students, because learning styles have been preached to them the entire time they’ve been in school. The graduate students concern me the most because they’re supposed to know the research. And I used the term “preached” because these students have been convinced via no more than word of mouth, are asked to accept the information based on faith, and many come to hold a strange religious-like fervor for the concept. That’s not how science works and it shouldn’t be how education works.
It has been no easy task combating this common misconception in college classrooms, particularly when it is reinforced in textbooks, by other professors (who are also supposed to know the research), and in public schools where students do their internships. The research we’re doing at the University of North Georgia on learning styles has two purposes – it allows us to collect data on the effects of learning styles and contrast it to a stronger model, dual coding, but it also lets us demonstrate, in real time, to students who will one day be teachers how what they’ve long believed to be true simply does not work when put to the test."...
"Up to 400,000 dyslexic children may be hampered in learning
to read by the Government’s insistence on the use of synthetic phonics to teach them, says a report to be published today.
A poll of more than 500 literacy teachers reveals that more than half (52 per cent) believe that the Government’s approach is either “ineffective” or “not very effective” in helping dyslexic pupils.
They believe that children with other disabilities and the most able pupils could also be held back. The poll, carried out by ReadingWise UK – designers of online literacy materials – casts doubt on the Government’s favoured strategy for improving reading.
“Literacy support needs to be tailored to the learning pace, experience and needs of the individual child – delivered by teachers with the appropriate specialist training to identify those who might struggle,” said Dr Tilly Mortimore, senior lecturer at Bath Spa University’s School of Education
"Neither children who are fluent readers, nor those at risk of Special Learning Difficulties/dyslexia or other reading disabilities are likely to find a ‘one size fits all’ intensive synthetic phonics programme helpful. Furthermore, the Government’s punitive testing regime risks undermining both teachers and learners."...
"Tom Wartenberg and Julie Akeret began working together in 2010 on Picture Book Philosophy, a short film introducing Professor Wartenberg’s work with second graders using children’s picture books to spark philosophical discussions. Tom Wartenberg and Julie Akeret began developing What’s the Big Idea? because of a shared belief in the crucial role of education in our lives.
In his book Big Ideas for Little Kids, Wartenberg says,
“In his famous dialogue The Republic, Plato boldly asserted that there would be no justice in the world until philosophers became kings. Just as Plato’s social vision depended upon having rulers who possessed the truth, so our own democratic society requires a citizenry of independent, critical thinkers that only a philosophical education can produce.”
This program is for students and teachers everywhere."...
"The U.S. education system isn't adequately preparing students to use technology for problem-solving, according to a newly released analysis, which recommends what public schools and businesses can do to address that problem.
Change the Equation, a Washington-based organization promoting science, technology, engineering, and math, or "STEM" studies, looked at how American millennials—the first "digital natives" because they were born after the Internet—fared in an international study of adult skills in 19 countries.
To do so, the organization conducted an original analysis of data from the 2012 Program for International Assessment of Adult Competencies, which tested the key cognitive and workplace skills needed to participate in society.
"Yes, [millennials] can take selfies," said Linda Rosen, CEO of Change the Equation, in a presentation announcing the organization's findings this week. "Yes, they can use social media."
What they are not so capable of doing is solving high-level problems with technology, she said. In fact, 58 percent of millennials struggle to use digital tools and networks to solve relatively simple problems that involve skills like sorting, searching for, and emailing information from a spreadsheet, the study found."...
"A high stakes experiment in educational collaboration is unfolding in the state of California, and I have a feeling of foreboding. I am afraid teachers and students in my state are like frogs in a pot that is slowly heating, and before we know it we will be cooked.
Though State Superintendent Tom Torlakson issued a statement in May renaming the state standards the “California Standards,” the state remains wedded to the Common Core. At the end of this month, there will be a full day of events bringing teachers to California State Universities to celebrate the Common Core, funded by a $1.25 million Gates Foundation grant. (You can join in the conversations around the event on Twitter using the hashtag #CATeachersSummit). The state has also approved half a billion dollars to promote teacher effectiveness, much of which will be aimed at supporting implementation of the Common Core."
California has a lot of things going for it. In Jerry Brown we have a governor who seems to understand the dangers of reliance on high stakes tests, as evidenced by his eloquent 2009 letter to Arne Duncan criticizing Race to the Top. We have Tom Torlakson, a former teacher, as our state superintendent of schools. We have a state legislature controlled by a Democratic Party supermajority, and a powerful California Teachers Association that has influence with all three. In addition to this, Linda Darling-Hammond is the chair of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, and has been quite active at the state level. As a result, the state has held off from the worst elements of the corporate reform policies, and is implementing some new approaches that could shift us away from the heavy-handed test-and-punish practices of No Child Left Behind."...
"Three-quarters of AP and NWP teachers say that the internet and digital search tools have had a “mostly positive” impact on their students’ research habits, but 87% say these technologies are creating an “easily distracted generation with short attention spans” and 64% say today’s digital technologies “do more to distract students than to help them academically.
These complex and at times contradictory judgments emerge from 1) an online survey of more than 2,000 middle and high school teachers drawn from the Advanced Placement (AP) and National Writing Project (NWP) communities; and 2) a series of online and offline focus groups with middle and high school teachers and some of their students. The study was designed to explore teachers’ views of the ways today’s digital environment is shaping the research and writing habits of middle and high school students. Building on the Pew Internet Project’s prior work about how people use the internet and, especially, the information-saturated digital lives of teens, this research looks at teachers’ experiences and observations about how the rise of digital material affects the research skills of today’s students."...
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