Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Brain, Learning and Education

This week in class, we are asked to learn about the brain, it's biology and how understanding the brain can help us in education and instructional design. The following websites are great references on the topic and have led to a deeper understanding for me. I hope that you check them out!

Understanding How the Brain Learns
I found one main website that I was very much impressed with. The website is put out by the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities but walks the reader through the biology of the brain, how learning affects your brain, how this changes education and even advances into how the brain is different when a student has a disability. The site provides great, reliable links for reader to refer to. The two links I have chosen to review actually came off of this website.

Education World- Brain Friendly Teaching
As a hopeful future Instructional Designer and a current high school teacher, I wanted to find some resources that would help me in the classroom. I wanted to find out not only more information on how the brain works but also, how I can use this to help my current students. Marilee Sprenger wrote this article and it takes you through the anatomy of a great lesson plan and why it works based on what we know about the brain. Some of the information I already knew and already use in my classroom but it was good to read about the reason behind the methodology and reinforce the concepts. She emphasizes differentiation which seems to be one of the keys to this week's lessons. We learn in multiple methods, therefore we need to be taught in multiple methods to be successful. Something that hadn't been mentioned this week but is mentioned in Sprenger's article is that not all learners will be on the same page after something is taught or presented. She offers a way to fix this issue and cater to the needs of the brain. She also suggests that it is a known that if assessment takes place in the area that the learner learned the information will be easier recalled. I thought that this concept is very interesting and a great application to what we know about the brain.

Brain Based Research Prompts Innovative Teaching Techniques in the Classroom
This website is a great application for how we can use what we know about how students learn and turn it into success in the classroom. The article talks about a school that uses technology in order to capture the student's attention and create learning situations for students that might not be possible without the technology. Many students learn by doing. This has caused a problem for teachers because the "doing" wasn't always an option either because of finances or location, etc. Technology allows for the kinesthetic learners to be engaged where they never could be before. The article includes great ideas for the classroom and explains how and why those ideas are great ways to reach the students because of the way they learn and ultimately the way their brain works. It was especially interesting to me because it mentions lessons in GPS units and I am currently working on lessons for GPS. Hopefully I can engage my student's brains, engage them and help them retain the information!

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