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The Science of “Chunking,” Working Memory, and How Pattern Recognition Fuels Creativity

The Science of “Chunking,” Working Memory, and How Pattern Recognition Fuels Creativity | Infotention | Scoop.it

"The process of combining more primitive pieces of information to create something more meaningful is a crucial aspect both of learning and of consciousness and is one of the defining features of human experience. Once we have reached adulthood, we have decades of intensive learning behind us, where the discovery of thousands of useful combinations of features, as well as combinations of combinations and so on, has collectively generated an amazingly rich, hierarchical model of the world. Inside us is also written a multitude of mini strategies about how to direct our attention in order to maximize further learning. We can allow our attention to roam anywhere around us and glean interesting new clues about any facet of our local environment, to compare and potentially add to our extensive internal model."

Howard Rheingold's insight:

I haven't read this, but it's on my short list. A close, empirical look at cognitive coping strategies, focused on the concept of "chunking."

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luiy's comment, January 30, 2013 11:49 AM
What makes the difference, Bor argues, is a concept called chunking, which allows us to hack the limits of our working memory — a kind of cognitive compression mechanism wherein we parse information into chunks that are more memorable and easier to process than the seemingly random bits of which they’re composed.
wayne_b's curator insight, February 6, 2013 10:58 AM

It is the process of combining various pieces of information to create something new and more meaningful - that is our learning process. As we combine information from one person or site, and add the thoughts of someone else, that we generate new ideas or expressions of those combined thoughts.

Anne Macdonell's curator insight, May 14, 2013 8:27 AM

Tech fuels chunking info and curation.

Infotention
Managing attention & information
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Using Communication Technologies Mindfully

Using Communication Technologies Mindfully | Infotention | Scoop.it
A burgeoning collection of communication technologies is often blamed for decreased empathy and attention spans. What if the problem lies not with the technology, but with the attitude of the user?
Howard Rheingold's insight:

I highly recommend the book this is excerpted from, In Real Life by Jon Mitchell. I read it in galleys. It was like drinking pure cool water after a long hot day. A very practical and unmystical approach to the spirituality and cognitive discipline necessary to use modern media mindfully.

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Peter Skillen's curator insight, March 28, 7:39 AM

Methinks I'll need to get this book. It fits with current thinking—the same thinking that got me called a luddite and digital immigrant—by my colleagues!—several years ago when I first mentioned the issue.

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Apple Watch Set To Revolutionise The Way People Ignore Each Other

Apple Watch Set To Revolutionise The Way People Ignore Each Other | Infotention | Scoop.it
INDUSTRY experts are predicting that the brand new smartwatch unveiled by Apple yesterday will totally change the way people ignore each other when it launches in April.
The device, known simply as the Apple Watch, will host a range of exciting features which will enable users to cocoon themselves in their own little world, avoiding interaction with fellow human beings.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

On the other hand...or should I say "on the other wrist?"

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Stephen Dale's curator insight, March 14, 12:03 PM

Waiting for that first case of RSI of the wrist!

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Content Curation Tools Supermap by Robin Good

Content Curation Tools Supermap by Robin Good | Infotention | Scoop.it
Pearltrees lets you organize all your interests
Howard Rheingold's insight:

Robin Good has taught me a great deal about RSS, news radars, filters, and curation, and is a master curator himself. I have not used Pearltrees recently, but it continues to evolve as a curation platform. Curation is an act of both personal and public infotention -- putting context and one's imprimatur on resources found to be useful, for one's own use and for the use of the commons.

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Create Custom News Streams Based on Your Specific Sources and Filters

Create Custom News Streams Based on Your Specific Sources and Filters | Infotention | Scoop.it
News defined by you.

Via Robin Good
Howard Rheingold's insight:

Robin Good is my mentor in using tools like RSS and filter apps to tune incoming information streams about specific subjects. He calls these combinations of streams and filters "news radars," and knowing how to put them together is important for journalists, researchers of all kinds, and any consumer of online information who wants to find relevant information without being overwhelmed.

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Stephen Dale's curator insight, February 10, 11:55 AM

Another excellent personal information management tool, HT to Robin Good for spotting.

Marta Torán's curator insight, February 11, 8:27 AM

Para leer las noticias que te interesan

Len Ferrara's curator insight, February 14, 12:31 AM

This looks great!

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Attention: A Muscle to Strengthen

Attention: A Muscle to Strengthen | Infotention | Scoop.it

"We have multiple set exercises throughout the day where you basically bring intentionality to your attention," he told me over the phone. They involve no newfangled brain-training software, or really anything at all new to neuroscience or philosophy—which may be why it's easy to dismiss them. For example, he might tell a patient to take on little tasks like, when they wake up in the morning—instead of ruminating on the day ahead or idling on their phone—thinking about five people in their lives for whom they're grateful. Maybe even send those people a little note. That strengthens relationships and makes those people feel appreciated, sure, but the real point of it, Sood explained, is that "by choosing where to deploy your attention and what you're processing, you're basically strengthening your attention."

Theoretically a person could accomplish that same attention-building with other exercises—say, staring at a fish tank for a while, counting and naming the fish, and then introducing them aloud whenever one swims near another—but Sood likes to recommend practices that are more productive. 

Howard Rheingold's insight:

Mindfulness and attention training have become fashionable, which in my opinion is not a bad thing. The author is an MD and professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic. His approach does not specifically focus on training attention in the context of multiple screens and information input streams, but the basic exercises probably generalize -- particularly his emphasis on intention. He also has a popular video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZZ0zpUQhBQ

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The need for a sociology of thinking

The need for a sociology of thinking | Infotention | Scoop.it
How much time do you spend talking to yourself? If you put the question this way, it often makes people uncomfortable. An alternative phrasing: how much time do you spend engaged in “directed conscious thought”? This is what Tim Wilson et al investigated in a new paper published in Science. It’s exactly the sort of work I’m looking forward to engaging with when I start my sociology of thinking project later in the year:
Howard Rheingold's insight:

Can we train our attentional habits in the context of social media and enormous inflows of information? To what end? How? Is it efficacious? In what ways? These questions illustrate the relationship of infotention (attention to how we use attention online, and tools for managing information flows and attention) to studies of thinking. A "sociology of thinking" project sounds promising.

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A Student-Centred Conceptualisation of Critical Thinking

A Student-Centred Conceptualisation of Critical Thinking | Infotention | Scoop.it
One of the defining features of human evolution is the emergent capacity of human beings to think about thinking. The ability to think about thinking is often described as a metacognitive skill.  Cultural evolution is itself a metacognitive process, as each new generation thinks about the thinking of previous generations - the contents of thinking, the process of thinking, and the products of thinking - and modifies the culture of thinking in multifarious ways. 
Howard Rheingold's insight:

Thinking systematically about how you use information flows and your cognitive processes to gather, test, evaluate knowledge is key to the internal aspects of infotention. 

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Miloš Bajčetić's curator insight, January 5, 3:26 AM

"Understanding and influencing metacognitive skill development is essential for further cultural evolution, and ultimately, our survival, adaptation and flourishing as a species. Due to what can be considered an exponential increase in the creation of new information every year, higher-order, metacognitive skills are needed more than ever in order to aid individuals and groups in becoming more adaptable, flexible and better able to cope in the context of a rapidly evolving information society (Darling-Hammond, 2008; Jukes and McCain, 2002). It is widely recognized that the challenge of education implies more than a focus on developing domain-specific knowledge - also needed is metacognitive knowledge and skill, and approaches to enquiry that allow children and adults to approach problems, solutions, experiments, explanations, and simulated actions with a mindful, reflective, collaborative sensibility that facilitates adaptive action at individual and group levels."

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Use Your Mac’s Services Menu to Perform Quick Actions

Use Your Mac’s Services Menu to Perform Quick Actions | Infotention | Scoop.it
our Mac’s Services menu can be very useful. The Services menu has become a hidden feature used mostly be power-users, but it’s very easy to use. It’s a bit like the Share features on Android or iOS.

The Services menu is present in practically every application on your Mac, although it is easy to miss. Applications you install can add quick actions to this menu.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

On the info-tool side of infotention, there is the issue of exploring computer tools that have been staring you in the face forever, but which you haven't explored. Maintaining a strong sense of focus usually includes knowing what NOT to pay attention to, so many of us probably haven't used features like Mac's Smart Folders (want to try it? Make a smart folder from the file menu, then search for files over 250 megabytes. Delete files if you'd like, delete the folder if you'd like.) or the "Services" menu that is visible with most applications. This article gives a good introduction. However, you can see it in action by simply selecting some text in an app or on a web page, then holding down the services menu. Add to Evernote, add to iTunes as a Spoken Track, Make New Sticky Note, and more become instantly available.

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Benefits of Breathing: The Scientific Benefits of Breathing INFOGRAPHIC - Emma Seppälä, Ph.D.

Benefits of Breathing: The Scientific Benefits of Breathing INFOGRAPHIC - Emma Seppälä, Ph.D. | Infotention | Scoop.it
The mind has a terrible time telling itself what to do. But this is where the breath comes in. I’ve summarized research on breathing techniques and the many ways in which they can impact our health and our well-being in one simple infographic.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

Yes, infographics are overdone and a little cheesy, but the internal aspect of infotention involves mindful seeking and processing of information -- and breathe is a key to mindfulness. Especially online! Take a few seconds to breathe deeply and consciously a couple of times an hour when you are sitting or standing in front of your computer screeen.

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Create an RSS Feed Reader Using Google Spreadsheet

Create an RSS Feed Reader Using Google Spreadsheet | Infotention | Scoop.it
I’ve tried various feed readers through the years, but I’ve honestly never been able to settle on one that I want to use every single day. However, I figure if I can create a stream of my favorite websites and news sources right inside Google Spreadsheet — where I go every single day anyway — then it’ll be far more likely that I’ll actually check out the feeds and read some of the updates. So, with that motivation in mind, let me show you how I pieced together my very own home-grown feed reader, and how you can too.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

This is toward the geeky end of the spectrum, but for those who are comfortable playing with information tools, this is really an ingenious combination of RSS and spreadsheets.

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15 Twitter Hacks That Will Turn You Into a Twitter Ninja

15 Twitter Hacks That Will Turn You Into a Twitter Ninja | Infotention | Scoop.it
You learn these 15 Twitter hacks.

Once you pick up on these power user features, you’ll become a Twitter ninja in no time.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

OK, the title is cheesy. "Ninja" is up there with "awesome" as words not to use for a few decades. Knowing how to use Twitter is one of the top two or three tool-oriented infotention skills. This list of 15 Twitter hacks is powerful, from lists to advanced search.

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Stephen Dale's curator insight, November 22, 2014 10:31 PM
They're not hacks, and they won't turn you into a "ninja", but they do provide some useful info on how to use Twitter search. #socmed
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The Secret Powers of Chrome's Address Bar

The Secret Powers of Chrome's Address Bar | Infotention | Scoop.it
Chrome's address bar doesn't do much at a glance. Type in a URL and you're taken to a web site. But it can do a lot more if you know how to use it.

We've covered plenty of great Chrome tricks over the years, but the address bar has always been a bit neglected. You can actually do a ton with it though, so let's dig into some of the better tricks.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

The web browser is our most frequently used information tool, yet few users tap into all the power build into browsers. On the info-tool side of infotention, knowledge of how to use Chrome's Address Bar definitely qualifies as a power tool.

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Study Proves Why We Need Digital Literacy Education | DMLcentral

Study Proves Why We Need Digital Literacy Education | DMLcentral | Infotention | Scoop.it
Laptops do not make students take notes in a particular way. Rather, they are tools that enable a wide range of note-taking practices, including both summary and synthesis as well as verbatim transcription. Like any other tool, however, students need to be trained how to use them effectively. As this study suggests, when students are not provided this training, they may develop habits that may not be beneficial to their learning. 

It is our job as instructors to identify beneficial habits and teach students how (and when) to apply them. That we do not do so is not a failure of laptops or students, but a failure of their education in an increasingly digital society.

I am not criticizing Mueller and Oppenheimer's research, only the implications they draw from it. The correlation between laptop use and verbatim note taking is incredibly useful information for it allows educators to address how students use their tools. It certainly does not suggest that laptops are "harm[ful]" or should be restricted. The "pen" is not "mightier than the keyboard."

Rather, it demonstrates the need for explicit instruction in how to most effectively take notes, either by pen or laptop. In other words, it points to the need for digital literacy instruction. Indeed, because text can be input into laptops faster than by hand, these tools actually provide a potential benefit to note-takers: the ability to take more notes. This feature of laptops, combined with instruction in how to take notes, could make these tools more effective than pen and paper for learning, not less.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

Knowing how to use a laptop to take notes is an important element of infotention literacy -- as is knowing why this is so.

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Registration

Registration | Infotention | Scoop.it
This webinar is all about leveraging the power of visual thinking and organization for design and project planning.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

I've used The Brain for projects and for teaching. It's an infotention tool in terms of advancing the way one transforms information into knowledge in a personally and visually organized form. If you haven't seen The Brain, check out Jerry's Brain.

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Apple doesn't want to talk about the real use for the Apple Watch

The thing is, the watch does have a use case, it's just one that’s hard for Apple to talk about. Last week Matthew Panzarino at TechCrunch wrote that the best thing about the watch, according to the Apple employees who’ve been demoing it, was that it let them basically stop using their phone. Instead of fishing their phones out of their pockets every couple minutes, they could check incoming notifications on the watch and choose to ignore or respond to them. Panzarino
Howard Rheingold's insight:

Could this be true? The next year will be a mass experiment in the intersection of technology and attention. Let's check back on this.

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A Dashboard That Lets You Easily Connect Web Services, From Email to Twitter | WIRED

A Dashboard That Lets You Easily Connect Web Services, From Email to Twitter | WIRED | Infotention | Scoop.it

Netvibes is known for a website that lets you pull all your favorite internet services onto a single page, from news sites to email to weather. But now it’s taking a different turn.

The Paris-based company will soon offer a new service dubbed Dashboard of Things, which aims to provide a single place you can not only consume all sorts of internet content, but also automate your digital life. With this new tool—which is being previewed now and will be widely available later this year—you could program Instagram to automatically backup your photos to Dropbox, or tell Twitter to send out a tweet every time you update your website.

For Netvibes CEO Freddy Mini, Dashboard of Things aims to help the average consumer do things they typically couldn’t pull off without some serious computer coding skills. “We need to make everyone a programmer,” he says. “We want you to be a wizard of the Internet of Things and to do magical things.”

Howard Rheingold's insight:

I've used Netvibes as an RSS reader for years. I particularly how easy it is to sync my attentional priorities to my on-screen info-flow by dragging higher priority tabs to the left and positioning the most important feeds at the top of their tab pages. If I am more pressed for time, I can just skim the headlines in the leftmost tab and/or topmost row of feeds (of course the actual way one positions feeds and tabs is arbitrary -- the point is to pay attention to your priorities and go through the actions of rearranging your information flows to match. It's a tool for taking control of both the screen-side and mind-side aspects of infotention. This new service appears to be an expansion of the dashboard capabilities to include something similar to (and Netvibes claims more powerful than) IFTTT -- which I confess I have not done more than dabbled in.

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Paperless Productivity With Evernote & Pocket

Paperless Productivity With Evernote & Pocket | Infotention | Scoop.it
I needed a better way of getting what I wanted to keep in Evernote, but at the same time, keep Evernote clutter-free. Eventually, I came up with a process that has been working very well for me. It involves using Pocket, a “save for later” service like Instapaper. With Pocket, you can grab links, images, and videos and save them for later. Pocket also removes the clutter from the articles and presents them in an easy-to read format. Lots of applications integrate with Pocket, making it easy to send articles and other items. Best of all, you can send items from Pocket to Evernote.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

Yes, I Scoop more than a few tips from Evernote -- because Evernote is a great infotention-tool, a smart, personalized, short-to-long-term memory augmenter. And because they are smart enough to show people how to use Evernote to streamline their finding, filtering, storing, and retrieving key bits from the info-flow.

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Crystal Renfro's curator insight, February 9, 10:27 AM

I liked this workflow using Pocket and Evernote.  Nice thing about Pocket is that it is both iPhone, iPad, Android and web browser compatible.

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Smartphones Don’t Make Us Dumb

Smartphones Don’t Make Us Dumb | Infotention | Scoop.it
AS much as we love our digital devices, many of us have an uneasy sense that they are destroying our attention spans. We skitter from app to app, seldom alighting for long. Our ability to concentrate is shot, right?

Research shows that our intuition is wrong. We can focus. But our sense that we can’t may not be a phantom. Paying attention requires not just ability but desire. Technology may snuff out our desire to focus.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

A big part of infotention is simply recognizing the need to think about where your attention is going while you are online, and why, and how you can exert more control over it.

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How to Use Tags to Organize Evernote

How to Use Tags to Organize Evernote | Infotention | Scoop.it
Thomas Honeyman is a student at the University of Southern California and co-founder of a music collaboration platform. Recently, he found that focusing on tags gave him the most flexibility by associating the notes he creates to his tags.

Much like author Michael Hyatt, tags have become the engine that helps power the organizational success with how Thomas manages content in Evernote.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

Evernote is an infotention tool that enables me to keep track of stuff without spending much time retrieving it. I can email and forward emails to Evernote notebooks (for example, when I get an email confirming an online order, I forward to my Evernote and by adding the term "@Orders" to the Subject line of the email, it automatically stashes it in my Orders notebook), send snapshots from my phone (and Evernote will OCR pix of text to make them into searchable PDFs). Tagging is an important tool for organizing Evernote. This post describes one student's tagging strategy.

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Teaching with Inoreader

Teaching with Inoreader | Infotention | Scoop.it
*THIS IS A NEW WEBSITE* Consult the left-hand navigation panel to see what pages are actually complete! In addition, you will see many new pages here in December 2014 and January 2015 as I prepare my classes for the Spring semester. More information here about How to Follow my Spring 2015 Inoreader Adventure.

Inoreader is one of the most powerful tools that I use for teaching online. In this website, I'll be sharing examples of how I use Inoreader to keep up with my students' blogs and also to connect with other educators online. THANK YOU, Inoreader, for helping me so much in my work!
Howard Rheingold's insight:

Laura Gibbs uses Inoreader, an RSS reader, as "a powerful tool for education" -- which it is -- but is also a useful general pupose RSS reader. She has many resources and good advice.

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Saving-Enhanced Memory

Saving-Enhanced Memory | Infotention | Scoop.it
With the continued integration of technology into people’s lives, saving digital information has become an everyday facet of human behavior. In the present research, we examined the consequences of saving certain information on the ability to learn and remember other information. Results from three experiments showed that saving one file before studying a new file significantly improved memory for the contents of the new file. Notably, this effect was not observed when the saving process was deemed unreliable or when the contents of the to-be-saved file were not substantial enough to interfere with memory for the new file. These results suggest that saving provides a means to strategically off-load memory onto the environment in order to reduce the extent to which currently unneeded to-be-remembered information interferes with the learning and remembering of other information.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

Curation tools, especially Diigo, Delicious, and Scoop.it, are an essential part of my daily practice. This study offers evidence confirming my hypothesis that curation/saving resources has cognitive benefits.

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Turn Google Docs Into an RSS Reader with ImportFeed

Turn Google Docs Into an RSS Reader with ImportFeed | Infotention | Scoop.it
This tutorial shows how to use a Google Docs spreadsheet as an RSS Feed reader (see example). You can aggregate news feeds from different sources into one spreadsheet (similar to alltop, popurls or addictomatic) and then publish it as a web page.

If you have a blog, you can use the same trick to embed RSS feeds in web pages. The Google Docs approach is preferred over Flash or Javascript widgets because here you have complete control over the presentation layout and formatting of content.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

Another slightly geeky but potentially useful approach to rolling your own RSS feed aggregator (like the previous entry, this one came as a tip from one of my Stanford students, Fang Li).

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Stephen Dale's curator insight, December 11, 2014 5:16 AM

How to roll your own RSS reader!

 

Reading time: 10mins

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What It's Like To Get A Master's Degree In Mindfulness

What It's Like To Get A Master's Degree In Mindfulness | Infotention | Scoop.it
To master mindfulness, you do not need a master's in mindfulness. But starting this year, those who want a professional degree in the meditative practice can get one.

In a first-of-its-kind program in the U.S., Cambridge, Mass.-based Lesley University this year began offering a Master of Arts in Mindfulness Studies. The degree requires two years of study and 36 credits at $925 a pop (that's $33,300 if you're counting). Course work is a mixture of theory and practice. Readings include books published by the forefather of mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn, and studies about the effects of meditation on health, education, and business. Other requirements include an internship, capstone project (thesis), and attending a week-long silent retreat.

But, beyond adding an M.A. to one's accolades, what are the applications for a degree in mindfulness?
Howard Rheingold's insight:

I have no problem with mindfulness becoming trendy on campuses, from preschools to master's degree programs. As the article notes, you don't have to study for a master's in order to benefit from mindfulness -- the cognitive element of infotention -- but why not?

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T5 - Top Tools for Communication PROs

T5 - Top Tools for Communication PROs | Infotention | Scoop.it

Tools for managing social media practices.

Howard Rheingold's insight:

This is definitely on the tool side of infotention, although the cognitive and tool aspects of infotention practices are intertwingled. Robin Good is astute and tireless finder, user, and curator of media tools. The tools in this collection at this moment for example: "Advanced custom multi-language search engine for Twitter, Schedule your best content across all of your favorite social media channels, Create customized picture quotes to share on social media, find relevant content to schedule and share on Twitter, create your customizable embeddable official Twitter stream..." 

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Metacognition: The Gift That Keeps Giving

Metacognition: The Gift That Keeps Giving | Infotention | Scoop.it
Many teachers we know enjoy teaching students how to wield one of the most powerful thinking tools: metacognition, or the ability to think about your thoughts with the aim of improving learning. A metaphor that resonates with many students is that learning cognitive and metacognitive strategies offers them tools to "drive their brains." The good news for teachers and their students is that metacognition can be learned when it is explicitly taught and practiced across content and social contexts.

A student who is excited about being in the driver's seat and steering toward learning success may well be destined to become an independent thinker on the way to charting a responsible course for school, career, and life. Being metacognitive can be likened to being more conscious, reflective, and aware of one's progress along the learning path. Teachers have told us how they feel an extraordinary sense of pleasure teaching their students useful strategies that can be applied to all aspects of their lives in and outside of school.
Howard Rheingold's insight:

Short, informed article, free of neurobollocks, with 5 practical steps for teaching metacognition -- withlinks to  useful resources

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