Brain Plasticity Experiences are continually changing the physical form and organization of the human brain. Weinberger, 2008Learning causes growth of brain cells. Dendrites increase in size and number in response to learned skills, experience and information. New dendrites grow as branches from frequently activated neurons.Neurogenesis – growing brain cells.Neurons DO regenerate – a process called neurogenesisDiet and exercise are contributing factors to the growth of new neurons.
Each neuron may have thousands of branches that connect it to other neurons. The branches are called dendrites or axons . Dendrites carry messages toward the cell body; axons carry messages away from the cell body to another neuron. Axons extend for as long as four feet in humans. In some animals, axons are even longer. At first, we thought that axons and dendrites simply ran through the body continuously, like wires. Then we discovered a space between each axon and dendrite. We call this space a synaptic gap, or synapse. The synapse is the space between the axon of one neuron and the dendrites of the next neuron in a nerve pathway. That gap is extremely small-about one-millionth of an inch. Figure 2:1 The neuron,or nerve cell, is the functional unit of the nervous system. The neurons has proceses called dendrites that receive signals and an axon that transmits signals to another neuron.The cell body, also called the soma, is the metabolic center of the neuron. The nucleus is located in the cell body and most of the cell’s protein synthesis occurs in the cell body. A neuron usually has multiple processes, or fibers, called dendrites that extend from the cell body. These processes usually branch out somewhat like tree branches and serve as the main apparatus for receiving input into the neuron from other nerve cells. The cell body also gives rise to the axon. Axons can be very long processes; in some cases, they may be up to one meter in length. The axon is the part of the neuron that is specialized to carry messages away from the cell body and to relay messages to other cells. Some large axons are surrounded by a fatty insulating material called myelin, which enables the electrical signals to travel down the axon at higher speeds.The connection between neurons.Figure2.2 Neurons transmit information to other neurons. Information passes from the axon of the presynaptic neuron to the dendrites of the postsynaptic neuron.Near its end, the axon divides into many fine branches that have specialized swellings called presynaptic terminals. These presynaptic terminals end in close proximity to the dendrites of another neuron. The dendrite of one neuron receives the message sent from the presynaptic terminal of another neuron. The site where a presynaptic terminal ends in close proximity to a receiving dendrite is called the synapse. The cell that sends out information is called the presynaptic neuron, and the cell that receives the information is called the post-synaptic neuron. It is important to note that the synapse is not a physical connection between the two neurons; there is no cytoplasmic continuity between the two neurons. The intercellular space between the presynaptic and postsynaptic neurons is called the synaptic space or synaptic cleft.Researchers originally thought that electrical impulses jumped these gaps, like electricity jumps across the gap in a spark plug. Now we know this is not true. Chemicals-not electrical impulses- travel across the gap. An average neuron forms approximately 1,000 synapses with other neurons. It has been estimated that there are more synapses in the human brain than there are stars in our galaxy. Furthermore, synaptic connections are not static. Neurons form new synapses or strengthen synaptic connections in response to life experiences.
Patterns set up in our brain Conspiracy theories are set up in our brainConnected + Repeated and Rewarded (Dopamine) is learnedOnce learned physacal pathway is hard to undoStudy contrradictory evidence onlyHow to unlearn mis-learned information?A lot of teaching is uprooting, re-routing, and re-connecting – think about what that means for teachers. They grew up in one world but they are teaching in another world. Look how far we have come….
Imaging technology has revealed that the emotional areas of the brain are fully developed around the age of ten to twelve years.Unfortunately the regions responsible for rational thought and emotional control mature closer to twenty–two to twenty-four years of age.Strategy: Count to 10 before reactingStrategy: Spell your name backwards before reacting
Although the basic structure of the brain is the same, no two are identical, and each is organized differently.Thanks to the brain’s high plasticity, different brains can wire the same pieces together in different ways.Some learn faster than others and in different ways. Some students learn more slowly because they process information more deeply.
The processing is of limited capacity and involves building, taking apart or reworking ideas for eventual storage in long-term memory.The limited capacity explains why we must a song or a poem in stages. We start with the first group of lines by repeating them frequently. A process called rehearsal. Then we memorize the next lines and repeat them with the first group, and so on. In effect we increase the number of items within the functional capacity of working memory through a process called chunking.We group the items in a sequence and rehearse it mentally until it becomes one or a few chunks.
In Carol Dweck’s book she talks about how we can fulfill our potential. It is about having a growth mindset instead of a fix mindset. It is not about getting the highest grade to prove your worth to your parents or others but it is about learning things and thinking about things in interesting ways. Many people think of the brain as a mystery. They don’t know much about intelligence and how it works. When they do think about what intelligence is, many people believe that a person is born either smart, average, or dumb and they stay that way for life. But new research shows that the brain is more like a muscle- it changes and gets stronger when you use it. And scientists have been able to show just how the brain grows and gets stronger when you learn.
We cannot underestimate the importance of a positive, challenging environmentStudent attention is influenced by teacher enthusiasm
The search for meaning is innate. In sense vs meaning sense is what we know because it makes sense but we need to help them make meaning because meaning is what sticks meaning = stickynessWhen processing new information, the brain tries to determine whether the information has meaning. It does this by trying to connect the new learning to past leanings that are already in long-term memory and also by looking for patterns.Students need to try to relate new learning to previous learning or real-life experiences.The search for meaning is innate.When processing new information, the brain tries to determine whether the information has meaning. It does this by trying to connect the new learning to past leanings that are already in long-term memory and also by looking for patterns.Students need to try to relate new learning to previous learning or real-life experiences.Thus what we already know acts as a filter, helping us to attend to those things that have meaning (or relevancy) and to discard those things that do not.
Most people study a second language and some people get to a third Language. I continue to hear that learning the 3rd language is much easier because you have already developed a better understanding of how grammars are organized and the rhythms of memorizing vocabulary and syntactic structures have become familiar. In learning the 2nd language…you learned something about how to learn languages.Learning to learn is much more general than learning a language. It has to do with many things: directing one’s attention, choosing time and place, relating new ideas and skills to what you already know. Actually it has much to do with the 6 principles above. The self-managed learner makes a point of practicing the hard parts, even when no teacher forces you to, the self-managed learner plays out of town or learns to transfer the learning that occurs in the classroom to situations outside of school in new arenas. Connecting ideas and skills with other contexts even when a coach or teacher is not present.
Researchers have found that during sleep the brain is incredibly active, carrying out processes that help the brain to learn, make connections, remember and clear out clutter.During certain stages of sleep called rapid eye movement or REM out brain encodes information that was in working memory into long-term memory. In an eight to nine hour sleep cycle, there are usually four to five REM stages. Loss of sleep can damage the hippocampus, leading to cognitive dysfunction and possible mood disorders
Eating a moderate portion of food containing glucose (fruits are an excellent source) can boost the performance and accuracy of working memory, attention and motor funciton (Korol and Gold 1998) Low concentrations of water diminish the rate and efficiency of these signals. Water keeps the lungs moist which allow for the transfer of oxygen into the bloodstream.
Movement turns on the brain: 7% more intelligent through standing. Nobody really understands why this is.Movement brings additional fuel-carrying blood to the brain (Ratey, 2008)Students need to be up and moving around while rehearsing or studying. This allows the brain to access more long-term memory areas (ancient-survival strategy), Makes greater connections between new and past leanings and increases retention.Our brain developed it amazing capabilities partly because of our ability to move. By staying in place on the savannah, we become some animal’s lunch. Movement helped to escape predatory animals and human enemies.
Movement brings additional fuel-carrying blood to the brain (Ratey, 2008)Students need to be up and moving around while rehearsing or studying. This allows the brain to access more long-term memory areas (ancient-survival strategy), Makes greater connections between new and past leanings and increases retention.Our brain developed its amazing capabilities partly because of our ability to move. By staying in place on the savannah, we become some animal’s lunch. Movement helped to escape predatory animals and human enemies. David A. Sousa – How the Brain Learns
One example of such an activity is to reserve the last 5 minutes for journal writing or end-of class reflections which also encourage higher-order thinking skills.Dr. Jane Healy said to Honor the talents but ease the learning process. All students need reflective teaching in order to become masters.
In practice, this means that teachers should resist the temptation to label students who don’t meet the standard developmental milestones. Rather they should provide remedial activities to help the student fill in the gaps in knowledge that may exist in order to help the student advance and fulfill his own potential.
Learning problems include academic skills, behaviour skills, sociology-emotional skills (Asperger’s).60% of the most popular educational apps for the iPhone are for preschoolers. Kids 8-18 spend 8.5-13.5 hrs/day with some sort of media, of which 1/2 are with books. New research shows that background TV in preschoolers’ homes impairs language development and attention skills. Interrupts their own inner speech, impeding frontal lobe development.A new and fast-growing diagnosis is executive function disorder (this includes ADHD).Questions we need to ask when bringing in technology: whose brain is in charge, and what part of the brain are we building?
Evolution may have preserved neurological difference for reasons that are yet unknown. Our challenge: honor the talents but ease the learning process. All students need reflective teaching in order to become masters.“Cerebrodiversity”: No two brains are alike. No brain is perfect.60% of the most popular educational apps for the iPhone are for preschoolers. Kids 8-18 spend 8.5-13.5 hrs/day with some sort of media, of which 1/2 are with books. New research shows that background TV in preschoolers’ homes impairs language development and attention skills. Interrupts their own inner speech, impeding frontal lobe development.A new and fast-growing diagnosis is executive function disorder (this includes ADHD).
550 million Facebook usersWe need to teach the way students will be most receptive to our content not the way that works best for us as teachers. Kids are extremely bored when we do not make it engaging
Less fear and respect for authority – accustomed to learning from peers; want coaching, but only from adults who do not “talk down” to them. ,
Engagement Strategies – Attention not a voluntary choice- input must be selected by sensory filter. If it does not reach pre frontal cortex, does not make it to long term memory. Must be selected to make it to the reticular Activating System RAS. Survival skill for animals. Whatever is new or different will get priority. Curiosity alerts the RAS. Sound (voice volume, pitch, cadence), color, movement, placement of objects, your appearance (costumes, hats), do something unusual. Novelty and curiosity…predictions are great (which one1 penny doubled or 100,000). Grumpy faces do not allow passage to pre frontal cortex. Optical illusions to
Humor surprise problem solving
Children are sometimes misdiagnosed when the brain is not the problem. Kids are bored. Children want the dopamine pleasure that games and technology brings.
Rote rehearsal is used when the learner needs to remember and store information exactly as it is entered into working memory. We use rote memory to remember a poem, multiplication tables, telephone numbers, and steps in a procedure.Elaborative Rehearsal is used when it is more important to associate the new leanings with prior learning to detect relationships. This is more of a complex thinking process in that the learner reprocesses the information several times to make connections to previous leanings and assign meaning. Students may use rote rehearsal to remember a poem but elaborative rehearsal to assign its meaning.Too often students use rote rehearsal to memorize important terms and facts in a lesson but are unable to use the information to solve problems or use the information to solve new problems that require them to apply their knowledge to new situations.The goal must be to use that knowledge in a variety of settings. To do this the students need a deeper understanding of the concepts involved in the learning. We spend too much time memorizing and not understanding and this boring. Massed practice can be called “cramming” or practice over a short period of time. Distributive practice involves practice over a longer period of time which is the key to retention.
Dr. Gary Small, MD- iBrain• Digital technology is changing the brain.• Kids spending 1/3 of day engaged in video and digital media.• Neuroscientists tell us that the brain is a use it or lose it organ. Parts of the brain that are no longer used are withering away.• Brain Plasticity – Neural circuits grow and rewire as they are worked• Neurogenesis – Neurons do regenerate!
What Does Learning Look Like?From a Brain’s Perspective• Experience• Repetition• Physical Changes
Learned Physical Pathways/Structures in the Brain• Multiplication Tables• Vocabulary Recognition• Balancing Equations• Stress Reduction• Addictions – Once learned information is hard to undo
Brain Development• Emotional areas of the brain are fully developed around the age of 10-12 yrs.• Regions responsible for rational thought and emotional control mature closer to 22-24 yrs. – Strategy: Count to 10 before reacting – Strategy: Spell your name backwards before reacting • (Giedd, Molloy, & Blumenthal, 2003; Johnson, B.lum & Giedd, 2009)
Brain Structure• No two are identical, and each is organized differently.• Different brains can wire the same pieces together in different ways.• Some learn faster than others and in different ways.• Some students learn more slowly because they process information more deeply. • David Sousa- The Basics of Creating a Brain Compatible Classroom
Memory Capacity• When students learn something new, they process it in the temporary memory called working memory. (frontal lobe)• Newer studies tell us that the capacity is much less than previously thought …closer to 4 items. • (Cowan, Morey, Chen, Gilchrist, & Saults, 2008)• CHUNKING
Mind, Brain, and Education Science • Research based information in the areas of: • Neuroscience • Psychology • Education What we know as fact (not a lot!) What is probably true What is “believed” passed on, sold but unhelpful, misguided, wrong (“Neuro-myths”)
Instructional Guidelines for Teachers By: Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa1: Environments2: Sense, Meaning and Transfer3: Different Types of Memory Pathways4: Attention Spans5: The Social Nature of Learning6: The Mind-Body Connection7: Orchestration and “Midwifing”8: Active Processes9: Metacognition and Self-Reflection10: Learning Throughout the Life Span
Instructional Guideline 1: Environments• Good learning environments in education are those with physical and mental security, respect, intellectual freedom, self-regulation, paced challenges, feedback, and active learning (Billington 1997) By: Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa
Teachers must convey: • Like • BelieveCarol S. Dweck, Ph.D.
• Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa Donna Walker Tileston
Instructional Guideline 2: Sense, Meaning and Transfer• Students learn best when what they learn makes sense, has a logical order, and has some meaning in their lives. (Sousa 2000) By: Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa
Learning to Learn 1. Play the whole game. 2. Make the game worth playing. 3. Work on the hard parts. 4. Play out of town. 5. Uncover the hidden game. 6. Learn from the team…and the other team. 7. Learn the game of Learning.
Instructional Guideline 3: Different Types of Memory Pathways• Teachers should teach to auditory, visual, and kinesthetic pathways as well as allow for both individual and group work in order to improve the chances of recall. By: Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa
Instructional Guideline 4: Attention Spans• The average student has an attention span between 10 and 20 minutes. Students learn best when there is a change of person, place or topic every 10 to 20 minutes. Interest impacts attention spans and, consequently, the motivation for learning. “Time flies when you are having fun”. By: Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa
Myth of Multitasking• The brain cannot carry out two cognitive processes at the same time.• What we refer to multitasking is actually task switching. - – Dr. Larry Rosen, PhD – “Understanding the iGeneration”
Instructional Guideline 5: The Social Nature of Learning• Debate is one of the most effective teaching methods. It forces students to think critically and to interact with each other; it also prepares them to deal with countering opinions. By: Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa
Instructional Guideline 6: The Mind- Body Connection• This includes active learning techniques and serves as a reminder of the importance of sleep, nutrition and physical exercise. By: Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa
Sleep• REM - In 8 to 9 hour sleep cycle there are usually 4-5 REM stages.• HS students typically get between five and six hours of sleep on a school night (Carskadon, Acebo, & Jenni, 2004)• Preadolescents need 9-10 hrs. and 8-9 hours for adolescents. » stewickie
Sleep• A brain deprived of sleep has diminished attention, executive functions, working memory, mood, logical reasoning, quantitative skills, and motor dexterity.• Poor grades and depression increases with loss of sleep.• Loss of sleep can damage the hippocampus, leading to cognitive dysfunction and possible mood disorders• During sleep is when the brain establishes long term memory circuits needed for remembering new information and skills.
Brain Fuel• The brain cells consume oxygen and glucose (a form of sugar) for fuel. The more challenging the brain’s task, the more fuel it consumes.• Low amounts of oxygen and glucose in the blood can produce sleepiness.• Just 50 grams of glucose increased long-term memory recall in a group of young adults by 35%.• Water is essential for healthy brain activity is required to move neuron signals through the brain.
Instructional Guideline 7: Orchestration and “Midwifing”• Similar to an orchestra director a teacher immerse students in complex experiences that support learning by calling on individuals one by one to bring out their voices and then weaving them into a single class experience. Successful teachers will integrate the strengths and weakness of all learners. By: Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa
Instructional Guideline 8: Active Processes• Human brains learn best when they are active.• (i.e., “I hear and I forget. I listen and I understand. I do and I remember – Confucius”)• ). By: Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa
Importance of Movement (David Sousa)• Movement turns on the brain: 7% more intelligent through standing. Nobody really understands why this is.• The species with the biggest brains play the most. So many advantages to play.• Play and exercise: a way to develop resilience. By: CC: Redjar
Instructional Guideline 9: Metacognition and Self-Reflection• Teaches allow time for reflection about the concepts being taught and create spaces to “think about thinking.” By: Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa– Journal writing,– Electronic Flashcards • Quizlet• what if …. By: Lee Haywood
Instructional Guideline 10: Learning Throughout the Life Span• Wider windows of learning than previously thought. – Resist the temptation to label students who don’t meet the standard developmental milestones. – Provide remedial activities to help the student fill in the gaps in knowledge that may exist By: Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa
Different Brains, Different Learners:Rethinking “Intelligence” for the 21st Century Dr. Jane M. Healy, PhD• A child born today in the US has a 30% chance of being diagnosed with some type of learning problem.• New research suggests 1/3 of US kids meet clinical criteria for anxiety disorders.
Environment of Childhood has Changed Dr. Jane Healy, Ph.D.• A recent study of highly successful entrepreneurs found that close to 50% of them were dyslexic.• Michael Barry, financial whiz who read the financial statements and who sold short on the sub-prime mortgage market has Asperger’s.• Dyslexia: talent or liability? Picasso was dyslexic- global spatial awareness. Dyslexics have better recognition of impossible figures, better quality of peripheral vision.• Are ADHD kids distracted by clearer objects in the periphery of their vision?
Dr. Larry Rosen, PhD – Understanding the iGeneration• Communicate differently – Nielsen 3705 text messages per month. (share everything)• Auditory, visual and tactile/kinesthetic learners• Social connections are everything.• They want constant reinforcement• Spend hours creating content By: jerrycharlotte
What Motivates the “Net” Generation? Tony Wagner – Ed.DInstant gratification…always on connection, use theweb for1) extending friendships2) interest driven, self-directed learning3) as a tool for self-expression,• Less fear and respect for authority• They want to make a difference and do interesting/worthwhile work.
What Motivates the “Net” Generation? Tony Wagner – Ed.DThe Global Achievement Gap is the gap between what even our best schools are teaching and testing. VersusThe skills all students will need for careers, college, and citizenship in the 21st centuryWhat gets tested is what gets taught: having the wrong metric is worse than having none at all.
Judy Willis, M.D. Engagement Strategies• Attention Is Not Voluntary Choice• Whatever is new or different will get priority.
Judy Willis, M.D. Engagement Strategies• The more ways • Examples: something is • Multiple forms of learned, the more review memory pathways are • Visual imagery built • Personal relevance• Multiple stimulation mean better memory • Role-play • Produce product or models
Engagement Strategies• Attention is not a voluntary choice – input must be selected by sensory filter. If it does not reach per-frontal cortex, it does not make it to long term memory.• Must be selected to make it to the Reticular Activating System (RAS). Survival skills for animals.
The RAS – Judy Willis• Curiosity alerts the RAS• Sound (voice volume, pitch, cadence)• Color, placement of objects• Your appearance (costumes, hats) do something unusual• Novelty and curiosity• Predictions are great (which one do you want 1 penny doubled for a year or $1000,000?)• Optical Illusions http://www.michaelbach.de/ot/• Grumpy faces do not allow passage to pre-frontal cortex
Stress Management• Boredom is stressful. – The lower reactive brain is in control.• Behavior – Fight (Disruptive) – Oppositional Defiant – Flight (Withdrawal) – ADHD and ADD – Freeze (Zone Out) social anxiety syndrome, seizures, OCD – Children are misdiagnosed when the brain is not the problem. Kids are bored. Children want the dopamine pleasure that games and technology brings.
Learning Retention – Harold Pashler, PhD• Longer time frames between study sessions provides greater long term retention.• If you want to remember for years….need to space 2nd study session at least 6 months away.• For best test performance – 1 day spacing• Closed book quizzes between initial exposure and final assessment.
Working Memory Retention• Learners can hold items in working memory longer than previously thought - up to several weeks. Then discard when they serve no further purpose – like after a test – (Lewandowsky & Oberauer, 2009)• Rote and Elaborative Rehearsal – Memorize Poem – Assign Meaning• Massed and Distributive Practice• CLOSURE
Connecting Emotions to Content• It helps to make emotional connections to curriculum in order to achieve long term retention.• For example by considering the emotional toll of the US Civil War may connect learning much more than isolated battles, and persons involved. The two structures in the brain responsible for long- term remembering arelocated in the emotional area of the brain. By Mc Knoell - http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/deed.en
Laugh• Humor has many benefits for increased retention.• Provides more oxygen to the brain• Laughter causes the release of endorphins in the blood. Endorphins stimulate the brain’s frontal lobes, thereby increasing the degree of focus and amount of attention time.• Humor also decreases stress, pain and blood pressure.• Humor boosts immune defenses.• Be Happy!
Intelligence for a Digital Age: Dr. Jane M. Healy - PhD• Symbolic analysis, creative imagination, self- regulation, moral reflection.• Consider that difference may be an asset.• Teach students to be masters of their tools.