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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)

Students’ self-concepts of ability in math, reading predict later math, reading attainment

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Educational and developmental psychologists have tried to understand how skills and motivation are linked to academic achievement. While research supports ties between individuals’ concepts of their abilities and their achievement, we lack a complete picture of how these relations develop from childhood to adolescence. A new longitudinal study looked at how youths’ self-concepts are linked to their actual academic achievement in math and reading from middle childhood to adolescence. The study found that students’ self-concepts of their abilities in these two academic domains play an important role in motivating their achievements over time and across levels of achievement.”(more)

​Brain Science and Education: How Much Should Teachers Know?

Ed Surge – Sydney Johnson

“Jasselle Cirino’s classroom might surprise those accustomed to traditional lectures. Instead of being told to sit quietly and listen, her first graders absorb material through physical movement, vocal exercises and group activities meant to indulge in students’ tendencies to socialize, move and speak. “We’re teaching to use multiple parts of the brain to better engage students and retain more information,” says Cirino, a former classroom teacher now training for Reading Recovery, a nonprofit tutoring program for first-grade students. The approach is something Cirino and other educators refer to as “Whole Brain Teaching.” It involves techniques—like assigning arm gestures to instructional content to engage students’ motor cortex, or call and response phrases that grab attention and tap into students’ prefrontal cortex—specifically designed to tickle different parts of the brain while learning. And it’s becoming more popular among scientists and educators alike, who believe teachers—and therefore students—can benefit from a better understanding of how the brain works.”(more)

Four neuromyths that are still prevalent in schools – debunked

The Guardian – Bradley Busch

“It is no surprise that many teachers have an interest in neuroscience and psychology since areas such as memory, motivation, curiosity, intelligence and determination are highly important in education. But neuroscience and psychology are complex, nuanced subjects that come with many caveats. Although progress is being made towards understanding what helps and hinders students, there is still a disconnect between the research in labs and what happens in many schools. Many “neuromyths” are rampant in our classrooms, and research suggests that people are often seduced by neuroscientific explanations, even if these are not accurate or even relevant…So which popular neuromyths exist in schools and how did they catch on?”(more)

The brain science behind Britain’s new parenting classes

The Washington Post – Danielle Paquette

“British Prime Minister David Cameron thinks parents need government-approved advice on raising kids. British parents aren’t exactly thrilled with this recent proclamation. One of Cameron’s new policy prescriptions, unveiled Monday with an announcement that England will pour £70 million over the next five years into “relationship support,” was state-backed parenting classes. Vouchers, he said, would help cover the enrollment of low-income families. Behind the controversial new family agenda was a deceptively simple lesson from neuroscience…Scientists say our IQ, attention span, memory and impulse control, among a raft of other mental traits, are largely determined before age 3. So, Cameron said, new parents could use extra guidance on how to prime kids for success in the classroom and beyond.”(more)

A neuroscientist says there’s a powerful benefit to exercise that is rarely discussed

Quartz – Wendy A. Suzuki

“…my favorite neuroscience-based motivation for exercise relates to its effects on the hippocampus—a key brain structure that’s critical for long-term memory…Exercise encourages the long-term growth of hippocampal cells by immediately increasing levels of a key growth factor in the hippocampus…Just consider how the educational system might be altered if we acknowledge exercise’s ability to brighten our mood, decrease stress, and improve our attention span and memory. The growing evidence that exercise improves these key brain functions should encourage schools around the world to increase—not decrease—students’ physical activity. Not only would this help students to better absorb everything from history lessons to chemistry experiments, they’d be a lot happier too…neuroscience gives us a framework to understand exercise as a tool for better education, increased productivity in the workforce and combating cognitive decline.”(more)