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Mind, Brain, and Education: How Cognitive & Neuro Science Inform Educational Practice (By Kurt Fischer)

Our goal is to connect the knowledge base from cognitive development and neuroscience to practical knowledge about learning and teaching in educational environments. Grounding learning and teaching in research about learning, we have discovered a universal scale for learning – which greatly increases the power of assessments and makes possible the use of a common toolkit for learning sequences in any domain. In addition, we have been able to design on-line computer-based assessments that make assessment both less expensive and more convenient. The tests start with assessments that are connected to learning environments and can be used directly to promote and guide learning. Our goal is to move beyond using tests as sorting mechanisms and toward using them as powerful aids for education.

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Mind, Brain, and Education:
      How Cognitive & Neuro Science
       Inform Educational Practice.
          Kurt W. Fischer, Harvard G.S. Education

! Relating Mind, Brain, & Education (MBE)
 <   Need for Sound Science,
     Not Mere Brain Claims
 <   Brain Plasticity!
     Using Cognitive & Neuro Science To Inform
     Educational Practice.
 <   Different Pathways for Learning

! Research Schools:
  Studying Learning and Teaching in Schools


               Barcelona, 26 Nov 2012
Brain: Most Complex Object in Universe
       The Brain - is wider than the Sky -
       For - put them side by side -
       The one the other will contain
       With ease - and You - beside -
                                             Minister of
       The Brain is deeper than the sea -
       For - hold them - Blue to Blue        Education in a
       The one the other will absorb -       European
       As Sponges - Buckets - do -
                                             Country
       The Brain is just the weight of God -
       For - Heft them - Pound for Pound
       And they will differ - if they do -
       As syllable from Sound -

       Emily Dickinson 1862
Creating New Field of
          Mind, Brain, & Education
! International MBE Society & University Programs
 <   Harvard U., Cambridge U., U. Texas at Arlington,
     East China Normal University

! Journal & Books
 <   Wiley-Blackwell, Cambridge U. Press, Guilford.....
                                                          AAP Award




! Collaboration with
  Other International Groups
 <   OECD
 <   Pontifical Academy of Sciences 400th
 <   Learning & Brain
 <   Japanese Baby Science

! Beyond the Fad to Build a Field
 <   Building a Network of Research Schools
Neuroplasticity:
               The Adaptive Brain
  • Learning experiences literally shape how
  neurons in the brain connect with one another.
Learning a New Skill Requires Growing a New Neural Network.
  • Connectivity patterns influence how the brain
  processes new information.
       Dendrites


                     Cell body

                                 Axon




        OECD, 2007
But School Is [Students Fill in].

                                                           BORING!
                                                   C & M Suàrez-Orozco

                                                   Treating Students as
                                                   Disembodied Brains into Which
                                                   We Pump Knowledge!


Better Model: Active
Intelligence –
Grasping & Building
with the Mind
         XWorldPlugInBrainBucketVTS_05_1.VOB.lnk
Illegitimate Claims from Neuroscience
                                              XWorldPlugInBrainBucketVTS_05_1.VOB.lnk (Command Line)




! Learning Involves Filling Our Brains with
  Knowledge – NOT.

! There Are Left-Brain and Right-Brain People –
  NOT.

! We Only Use Half (or Less) of Our Brains – NOT.

! Boys & Girls Have Fundamentally Different Brains
  – NOT.

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Mind, Brain, and Education: How Cognitive & Neuro Science Inform Educational Practice (By Kurt Fischer)

  • 1. Mind, Brain, and Education: How Cognitive & Neuro Science Inform Educational Practice. Kurt W. Fischer, Harvard G.S. Education ! Relating Mind, Brain, & Education (MBE) < Need for Sound Science, Not Mere Brain Claims < Brain Plasticity! Using Cognitive & Neuro Science To Inform Educational Practice. < Different Pathways for Learning ! Research Schools: Studying Learning and Teaching in Schools Barcelona, 26 Nov 2012
  • 2. Brain: Most Complex Object in Universe The Brain - is wider than the Sky - For - put them side by side - The one the other will contain With ease - and You - beside - Minister of The Brain is deeper than the sea - For - hold them - Blue to Blue Education in a The one the other will absorb - European As Sponges - Buckets - do - Country The Brain is just the weight of God - For - Heft them - Pound for Pound And they will differ - if they do - As syllable from Sound - Emily Dickinson 1862
  • 3. Creating New Field of Mind, Brain, & Education ! International MBE Society & University Programs < Harvard U., Cambridge U., U. Texas at Arlington, East China Normal University ! Journal & Books < Wiley-Blackwell, Cambridge U. Press, Guilford..... AAP Award ! Collaboration with Other International Groups < OECD < Pontifical Academy of Sciences 400th < Learning & Brain < Japanese Baby Science ! Beyond the Fad to Build a Field < Building a Network of Research Schools
  • 4. Neuroplasticity: The Adaptive Brain • Learning experiences literally shape how neurons in the brain connect with one another. Learning a New Skill Requires Growing a New Neural Network. • Connectivity patterns influence how the brain processes new information. Dendrites Cell body Axon OECD, 2007
  • 5. But School Is [Students Fill in]. BORING! C & M Suàrez-Orozco Treating Students as Disembodied Brains into Which We Pump Knowledge! Better Model: Active Intelligence – Grasping & Building with the Mind XWorldPlugInBrainBucketVTS_05_1.VOB.lnk
  • 6. Illegitimate Claims from Neuroscience XWorldPlugInBrainBucketVTS_05_1.VOB.lnk (Command Line) ! Learning Involves Filling Our Brains with Knowledge – NOT. ! There Are Left-Brain and Right-Brain People – NOT. ! We Only Use Half (or Less) of Our Brains – NOT. ! Boys & Girls Have Fundamentally Different Brains – NOT.
  • 7. Response to Seeing a Word Flashed What Other Regions Participate in Network for Seeing a Word? dog º Visual Area
  • 8. Speech: Broca’s Area & Wernicke’s Area Parietal lobe: Touch, Spatial, etc. Frontal lobe: Motor action, Executive, Occipital lobe: Emotion, Vision, etc. etc. Seeing Word Temporal lobe: Brain Stem, Hearing, etc. Cerebellum Front of Head
  • 9. Inflating the Brain Image (through Computer Processing) to Make More Areas Visible. Watch the Brain Activity Pattern Several Times. Duration: Less Than a Second (Halgren, Poldrack) Shortcut to meg_word_readingSld20PoldrackVideoEHalgren.mpeg.lnk (Command Line)
  • 10. Need for Research Schools: Research and Development for Schools ! Research and development are commonplace in most industries and fields. < Cosmetics, Chemicals, Agriculture.... < Traffic Safety: National Data Base < We Need Research and Development in Education! ! Educational theory should be tested by its consequences in action (Dewey, 1896, 1938). ! Research informs practice, and practice informs research.
  • 11. Prime Example Is Sesame Street: Research on Practice Every Day ! Ongoing Assessment of Practice ! Tool for Improving Learning and Teaching. ! Gerald Lesser, Children and television: Lessons from Sesame Street. Random House Doing Research in Schools: Establishing Partnership between Schools and Universities to Study Learning.
  • 12. Educating All Children: Many Different Pathways to Learning. Educating 25% of Our Students Successfully Is Not Good Enough! Tower of Babel: Different Languages, Different Learning Pieter Brughel the Elder
  • 13. Learning Pathways Involve Webs, Not Ladders. Standard Model of Reading With an Alphabetic System: 3 Domains to Integrate ! 1. Meaning of Words (Definition) ! 2. Sound Analysis, especially Rhyme ! 3. Visual-Graphic (Letters Spell Words) ! Standard Model: Child Must Integrate These Domains to Read Effectively.
  • 14. Developmental Webs, with Coordination of Separate Domains 3 Domains to Coordinate Meaning Sound Visual- Analysis Graphic
  • 15. Study of Children Reading Single Words Knight & Fischer, 1992 ! Grades 1-3 ! Full Range from Good to Poor Readers frog ! N = 120 boat cake ! Words were from school curriculum. fish (16 words) train string ......
  • 16. 6 Tasks for Each Word ! Word Definition (Meaning) ! Letter Identification (Visual-graphic) ! Rhyme Recognition (Sound) ! Rhyme Production (Sound) ! Reading Recognition (Integration) ! Reading Production (Integration)
  • 17. Modal Standard Simple and Model of Reading Developmental Pathway: WORD DEFINITION Integration of Read & Rhyme LETTER RHYME IDENTIFICATION RECOGNITION READING RECOGNITION Integration of Domains Leads to Single Sequence of Tasks instead of RHYME Branching. PRODUCTION READING PRODUCTION
  • 18. Dendrogram for Tasks For Entire Sample, including High & Low Readers ! Based on Partially Ordered Scaling technique (POSI) ! which does Guttman Scaling that allows Branching. ! Many studies use techniques analyzing orderings of all pairs of items. < Today Rasch scaling is widely used.
  • 19. Profiles of 6 Tasks for Main Developmental Pathway Step Word Letter Rhyme Reading Rhyme Reading Definition Identification Recognition Recognition Production Production 0 - - - - - - 1 + - - - - - 2a + + - - - - 2b + - + - - - 3 + + + - - - 4 + + + + - - 5 + + + + + - 6 + + + + + +
  • 20. Modal Developmental WORD DEFINITION Pathway .11 .17 RHYME LETTER RECOGNITION IDENTIFICATION .11 .17 READING RECOGNITION What about Poor Readers? What about Hard Words? .44 Does This Integration Model Capture the Whole Story? RHYME Dendrogram PRODUCTION from POSI Total Sample = .28 120 Children in Grades 1-3 READING PRODUCTION
  • 21. Are There Several Pathways Hidden Here? ! Based on Pattern Analysis of Profiles of 6 Tasks for Each of 16 Words, ! There Are Two Additional Pathways Besides the Modal One. < Every Student Fit One of These Pathways! P It Is Rare to Successfully Characterize All Subjects in a Study.
  • 22. Second Developmental WORD DEFINITION Pathway: Read & Rhyme LETTER Independent IDENTIFICATION READING RECOGNITION RHYME RECOGNITION READING PRODUCTION RHYME PRODUCTION
  • 23. Third Developmental WORD DEFINITION Pathway: Read, Rhyme, & Letter Identification Independent READING RHYME RECOGNITION RECOGNITION LETTER IDENTIFICATION READING RHYME PRODUCTION PRODUCTION
  • 24. The Centrality of Culture Cultural Assumptions: Which Direction Do You Read? Right to Left, or Left to Right? Assumption by Advertiser Bruno della Chiesa
  • 25. Cultural Assumptions: Right to Left
  • 26. Differences in Pathways for Visual Talents in People with Dyslexia ! New Research on Visual Talents in Dyslexic Scientists < Matt Schneps, Todd Rose, and Kurt Fischer, in journal Mind, Brain, and Education: P Plus 7 new articles in press or submitted. ! Development of Visual Fields in Dyslexics and Normal Readers < Escher Figures < Geiger & Lettvin, Winner & von Karolyi < Visual Scanning Fields
  • 27. Distribution of Sensitivity in Visual Field Differs in Dyslexics. Development: More Sensitivity in Periphery, Less in Fovea. Result: Greater Capacity for Detecting Patterns across Wide Areas of Visual Fields, e.g. Astronomers (But More Distractability) Task for the Future: Describing These Talents & Limits.
  • 28. •l vl dyslexia linked to visual talents? dyslexia over- represented in art schools by a factor of 2 chuck close Wolff, U. and I. Lundberg (2002). "The prevalence of dyslexia among art students." Dyslexia 8(1): 34-42.
  • 29. •l vl impossible figures People with dyslexia are 50% faster at distinguishing possible and impossible figures.
  • 30. Talents for Holistic Integration across the Visual Field Example: Star Fields and Astrophysicists
  • 31. •l vl enhanced peripheral ability d w vary eccentricity very quick flash ~15 ms Geiger, G. and J. Y. Lettvin (1987). New England Journal of Medicine 316(20): 1238-1243.
  • 32. •l vl Geiger, G. and J. Y. Lettvin (1987). New England Journal of Medicine 316(20): 1238-1243.
  • 33. •l vl Geiger, G. and J. Y. Lettvin (1987). New England Journal of Medicine 316(20): 1238-1243.
  • 34. •l vl black hole detection
  • 35. Scientists Dyslexia at with Excel Peripheral •l Detection. vl finding black holes detection is often difficult
  • 36. Dyslexia Advantage in Black Hole Detection
  • 37. Compare Normal? Students (Harvard) with Landmark College Students (Dyslexic)
  • 38. With Image Blurred, Harvard Students Not Able to Detect Letters in Photos. Landmark Students Did Learn! Memory Target Is Letter on Tire.