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Fascinating: Schools are using brain science to guide edtech decisions

E-School News – Leo Doran

“What happens when a school district uses the latest in brain science to inform its edtech purchasing decisions? Students become more engaged and test scores go up, according to school district officials who shared their experiences at a brain science conference. “Brain Futures” was a two-day event that attracted high-profile neurologists, psychiatrists, and researchers from all over the country. General sessions included presentations on the latest findings in brain health and the military’s ongoing battle with Traumatic Brain Injury. A series of breakout sessions on the conference’s second day, however, focused mainly on what brain science research has to offer for the education system.”(more)

Why Teenage Brains Are So Hard to Understand

Time – Alexandra Sifferlin

When Frances Jensen’s eldest son, Andrew, reached high school, he underwent a transformation. Frances’s calm, predictable child changed his hair color from brown to black and started wearing bolder clothing. It felt as if he turned into an angst-filled teenager overnight. Jensen, now the chair of the neurology department at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, wondered what happened and whether Andrew’s younger brother would undergo the same metamorphosis. So she decided to use her skills as a neuroscientist to explore what was happening under the hood. “I realized I had an experiment going on in my own home,” says Jensen, author of The Teenage Brain..”(more)

Boys more likely to hide a concussion than girls

Medical X-Press – Maureen Salamon

“When it comes to reporting a sports-related concussion, high school boys are less likely to speak up than high school girls, new research reveals. The findings, derived from surveying nearly 300 young Michigan athletes, highlight a “show-no-weakness” mentality that experts say needs to change to protect brain health. “Males are more worried about what their peers or coaches would think of them if they reported [their concussion],” said study author Jessica Wallace. She’s director of the master of athletic training program at Youngstown State University in Ohio.”(more)

Storytime a ‘turbocharger’ for a child’s brain

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“While reading to children has many benefits, simply speaking the words aloud may not be enough to improve cognitive development in preschoolers. A new international study, published in the journal PLOS ONE and led by researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, shows that engaging with children while reading books to them gives their brain a cognitive “boost.” Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) found significantly greater brain activation in 4-year-old children who were more highly engaged during story listening, suggesting a novel improvement mechanism of engagement and understanding. The study reinforces the value of “dialogic reading,” where the child is encouraged to actively participate.”(more)

Why Executive Function Skills Take So Long To Fully Develop

KQED News Mind/Shift – Jon Hamilton

“Impulsive children become thoughtful adults only after years of improvements to the brain’s information highways, a team reports in Current Biology. A study of nearly 900 young people ages 8 to 22 found that the ability to control impulses, stay on task and make good decisions increased steadily over that span as the brain remodeled its information pathways to become more efficient. The finding helps explain why these abilities, known collectively as executive function, take so long to develop fully, says Danielle Bassett, an author of the study and an associate professor of bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania.”(more)

You Still Need Your Brain

The New York Times – DANIEL T. WILLINGHAM

“Most adults recall memorizing the names of rivers or the Pythagorean theorem in school and wondering, “When am I ever gonna use this stuff?” Kids today have a high-profile spokesman. Jonathan Rochelle, the director of Google’s education apps group, said last year at an industry conference that he “cannot answer” why his children should learn the quadratic equation. He wonders why they cannot “ask Google.” If Mr. Rochelle cannot answer his children, I can.”(more)