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Meghan Cureton

Grades Suffer When Class Time Doesn't Match Students' Biological Clocks - Inside School... - 1 views

  • "An important piece of the story is that it's not just about making the life of a teenager easier by saying maybe we can make classes later," said Benjamin Smarr, a postdoctoral psychologist at the University of California at Berkeley who studies circadian rhythm disruptions and learning.
  • As it turned out, taking a class schedule mismatched to your biological clock took a toll on students' grades, as the chart below shows. 
  • Early-rising "larks" had a grade advantage in morning classes, they found. Night owls performed better in afternoon and early evening classes, but the researchers also found these students tended to struggle more than those with earlier circadian rhythms in general. The researchers believe this was because their schedules were the farthest off "normal" class schedules, and the actual class times often varied significantly from day to day, making it difficult for these students to develop any consistency.
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  • Most high schools don't really have the option to make multiple sessions of the same class at different times, but Smarr said for those who use software that can track the timing of students' activity, it may be worth getting a sense of when different groups of students are likely to be most alert when scheduling core classes. Other forms of technology may also help, he said, allowing students to access classes or rewatch lectures at different times of the day.
Bo Adams

The 10 Biggest Breakthroughs in the Science of Learning | Brainscape Blog - 3 views

  • The brain is equipped to tackle a pretty hefty load of information and sensory input, but there is a point at which the brain becomes overwhelmed, an effect scientists call cognitive overload. While our brains do appreciate new and novel information (as we’ll discuss later), when there is too much of it we become overwhelmed. Our minds simply can’t divide our attention between all the different elements.
  • the brain’s wiring can change at any age and it can grow new neurons and adapt to new situations — though the rate at which this happens does slow with age. This phenomenon is called neuroplasticity, and it has had major ramifications in our understanding of how the brain works and how we can use that understanding to improve learning outcomes.
  • The ability to learn, retain, and use information isn’t just based on our raw IQ. Over the past few decades it has become increasingly clear that how we feel — our overall emotional state — can have a major impact on how well we can learn new things.
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  • Research is revealing why, as the emotional part of the brain, the limbic system has the ability to open up or shut off access to learning and memory. When under stress or anxiety, the brain blocks access to higher processing and stops forming new connections, making it difficult or impossible to learn.
  • research shows that failure is essential.
  • Information in the brain that isn’t used is often lost, as neural pathways weaken over time.
  • Researchers have found that novelty causes the dopamine system in the brain to become activated, sending the chemical throughout the brain.
  • Neuroscience research suggests that the best way to learn something new isn’t to focus on mistakes, but instead to concentrate on how to do a task correctly. Focusing on the error only reinforces the existing incorrect neural pathway, and will increase the chance that the mistake will be made again. A new pathway has to be built, which means abandoning the old one and letting go of that mistake.
  • cater to the emotional and social needs of students and improves their ability to learn, is more important than styles
  • Students may have preferences for how they learn, but when put to the test, students were found to have equivalent levels of learning regardless of how information is presented.
  • students who don’t get intellectual stimulation over the summer are much more likely to forget important skills in reading and math when they return to class.
  • Peer collaboration offers students access to a diverse array of experiences and requires the use of nearly all the body’s senses, which in turn creates greater activation throughout the brain and enhances long-term memory. Group work, especially when it capitalizes on the strengths of its members, may be more beneficial than many realize.
  • Aside from being able to see and hear patterns, the human mind has a number of innate abilities (the ability to learn a language, for instance) that when capitalized on in the right way, can help make learning any concept, even one that is abstract, much easier. Combining these innate abilities with structured practice, repetition, and training can help make new ideas and concepts “stick” and make more sense.
  • Learning can change brain structure.
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    HT @MeghanCureton
Meghan Cureton

How Exercise May Help the Memory Grow Stronger - The New York Times - 1 views

  • Exercise may help the brain to build durable memories, through good times and bad.
  • In general, the stronger the messages between neurons, the sturdier and more permanent the memories they hold.
  • It was immediately clear that three days of chronic stress had reduced the effectiveness of the synapses in the stressed-out, sedentary animals, compared to those from the control mice. Their intracellular connections were much weaker.
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  • The unstressed runners, on the other hand, now had the strongest, busiest synapses, suggesting that their ability to learn and remember would be higher than in the other animals.
  • Perhaps most interesting, the animals that had run and also experienced chronic stress had synapses that resembled those from the normal, unstressed control group.
  • It is not yet clear, though, she says, how exercise changed the animals’ synapses at a molecular level.
Meghan Cureton

Learning and the Brain Stories, #2 - Learning and the Brain blogLearning and the Brain ... - 1 views

  • the role of education is to help our children become who they are meant to be instead of  working towards an average which testing promotes.
  • We take this narrowed, biased model of success and try to replicate it in schools; yet these models further reduce diversity of thought, experience and creativity among our students.
  • If we are to support our children to become creative problem-solvers, then we need to move away from pursuing averages that are based on a single prescribed profile for all learners.
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  • By creating norms and averages we are drawn to comparison and rank–rather than to our children’s curiosities about what they want to learn, become or aspire to be.
  • If praise is tied to the child’s perception of success, and success is tied to narrow definitions of achievement, then children work towards that common standard against which Zhao cautioned us. If they are less likely to take risks then they will seek a single right answer rather than embrace both creativity and curiosity. The standardized test will always be the measure of success.
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    HT @kkelly
Meghan Cureton

Assessment, Choice, and the Learning Brain | Edutopia - 0 views

  • If you really want to see how innovative a school is, inquire about its thinking and practices regarding assessment.
  • students who develop mastery goals are motivated by the actual learning experiences. Their rewards arise from the challenges of acquiring and applying new knowledge and skills.
  • students who are motivated by mastery goals are more likely to persevere in the face of such challenges. Difficult tasks or setbacks do not diminish their motivation or self-esteem
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  • Timely feedback has been shown to deepen one's memory for the material assessed
  • Finally, studies suggest that marking answers right or wrong (as in multiple choice tests) has little effect on learning. However, providing the correct response only after a student has spent time "struggling" to find the correct answer significantly increases retention of the material
  • having students reconstruct what they know through alternative assessments leads to deeper understanding and consolidates learning in more powerful ways than traditional testing
  • While students manage to keep enough dates, facts, and formulas in their head to pass the test, this knowledge never made it to long-term declarative memory, it was never truly learned at all (only memorized in the short term).
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    Great read as we are in the throes of final exams...
Jim Tiffin Jr

The Backwards Brain Bicycle - Smarter Every Day 133 - YouTube - 0 views

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    "Knowledge does not equal understanding." How difficult it is for adults to unlearn something, but not as difficult for children to do so. Emphasis is on how our brain works for storing ideas, but there are a multitude of lessons here for educators to consider.
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