Almost no one who is involved in creating learning materials or large-scale educational experiences relies on the evidence from learning science.
We are missing a job category: Where are our talented, creative, user-centric "learning engineers" — professionals who understand the research about learning, test it, and apply it to help more students learn more effectively?
Scientific progression is underpinned by incremental and seemingly small discoveries; however, the claims of the brain-based learning industry are anything but that. Although an effort has been made by the scientific community in recent years to raise awareness about these issues, a lot more work needs to be done in particular to raise awareness amongst the educators as well as the broader community. The role of science communicators could be useful in bridging the current gap between the real neuroscience of learning and the pervasive propaganda of the commercial “brain-based” programs.
"...the traditional quiet, somewhat isolated, distraction-free learning environment is not actually the best place for students to learn. Students would be better served, he said, by a learning ecosystem, which he described as a multilayered, interconnected, interdependent, social space."
“Work that matters” has significance beyond classroom walls; it’s work that is created for an authentic audience who might enjoy it or benefit from it even in a small way. It’s work that isn’t simply passed to the teacher for a grade, or shared with peers for review. It’s work that potentially makes a difference in the world.
What are some of the most encouraging known facts about learning? From taking a walk to learning a new language, there are countless things we can do to improve the way we learn. Below we list fifteen steps toward a better brain:
There are all kinds of "brain-training" programs out there that promise to help you stay smart even as you age. The problem is that there's little evidence that they work — but a lot of evidence that they are a waste of money.
As time goes by, science provides more and more evidence that your brain is malleable and continually changing in response to your lifestyle, physiology, and environment.
This concept is called neuroplasticity, or brain plasticity—meaning, you are literally reforming your brain with each passing day. It used to be thought that your brain was static, except during some critical developmental periods, but today, we know this isn’t true.
One way to promote engagement and learning is to consciously create pauses throughout the day. We can create a sense of spaciousness in our classroom by slowing down the pace of our speech and punctuating our lessons with silence. Introduced well, this practice can improve classroom discourse.
We now know that certain areas of the brain never stop changing, that new neurons grow with astounding frequency, and that thought itself affects change in brain structure to an extent that few researchers, even 20 years ago, believed possible.
A new study by a UT Dallas researcher challenges a long-accepted scientific theory about the role the hippocampus plays in our unconscious memory.
For decades, scientists have theorized that this part of the brain is not involved in processing unconscious memory, the type that allows us to do things like button a shirt without having to think about it.
But research by Dr. Richard Addante, a senior lecturer in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, raises doubts about that theory.
There is also accumulating evidence (the article below references seven studies) that giving students teacher-prepared notes or PowerPoint slides does not improve their performance. Students need to take notes in ways that are meaningful to them. It also helps when notes are restructured. The material presented in class is usually ordered in a linear fashion.
On the left side of your brain there's a special region called Broca's Area, also known as the speech center of the brain. Now a group of neuroscientists have discovered something strange about it. Even though this brain region supposedly controls speech, it shuts down when you are speaking.
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