NeuroEducation: Myths and Facts

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Information about NeuroEducation: Myths and Facts

Published on March 18, 2014

Author: Tracy_King



As educators we are in the business of changing brains. But does our course design take into consideration how the brain learns? The emerging field of NeuroEducation addresses the intersection of mind, brain, and education. This session debunks a few common NeuroMyths and identifies key NeuroFacts critical to education design.

NeuroEducation Myths and Facts Tracy King, MA, CFD

How do you know what you know?

How do you know what you know?

How do you know what you know?

Emerging Field Que? What?


Key Points  NeuroMyths / NeuroFacts / NeuroFuture

Your Turn  Pick a partner  Table talk topics: ◦ Introduce your self & where you are from ◦ Identify which of the main points is most interesting to you and your work  2 minutes

NeuroMyths Myth 1: We only use 10% of our brains

NeuroMyths Myth 2: The brain’s structure & potential is determined by age 3 Photo credit: Flickr / Hopefuldz9er

NeuroMyths Myth 3: We are capable of multitasking

Your Turn  Pick a partner  Table talk topics: ◦ Which additional Neuromyths do you know about? ◦ What approaches might you use to address myths in course design?  3 minutes

NeuroFacts: Stress Fact: Learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by threat. Photo credit: Flickr / Rebecca-Lee • If a learner feels threatened or unsafe (whether physically or emotionally), the stress response inhibits learning. • If a learner feels challenged, relaxed and alert – they are primed for learning.

NeuroFacts: Attention Photo credit: Flickr / Capt. Tim Fact: Attention sharpens focus – what the learner focuses upon is encoded. • Attention is the cognitive process that determines what to focus upon and what to ignore. • Attention hooks • Emotional appeal • Novel stimuli • Personal relevance • Hands on experience • Patterns

NeuroFacts: Model Building Fact: Learning is a constructivist process – we scaffold new concepts onto existing models. Photo credit: Flickr / atsitra • Knowledge structures in the brain relate new information to what is known. • Assessment is key to discovering misconceptions and customizing new learning.

NeuroFacts: Repetition Fact: What’s repeated is remembered. Photo credit: Flickr / dkilim • Repeated access and application of new learning forms physical pathways in the brain improving retrieval and recall. • Spaced learning vs. massed learning • Deliberate practice leads to mastery.

NeuroFacts: Visual Bias Fact: Pictorial superiority effect (PSE) is a reality – not a learning style. Photo credit: Flickr / doobybrain • The more visual the input, the more reliable the retrieval. • The brain easily stores images; text is processed both as images (letter forms) and interpreted semantically requiring a complex encoding process.

NeuroFacts: Reflection Fact: Reflection is required for long term integration of concepts. Photo credit: Flickr / gfpeck • Reflection moves info from the sensory brain to the integrative brain center. • The reflective brain searches for connections and deepens comprehension. • Reflection is required for developing complex thinking and understanding. • Reflection takes time!

NeuroFacts  Stress (challenge vs. threat)  Attention (attention  long-term memory)  Model Building (scaffold learning)  Repetition (well used pathways)  Visual Bias (we remember images)  Reflection (activating the integrative brain)

Your Turn  Table discussion  Table talk topics: ◦ Which of these Neurofacts has the greatest impact on your work? ◦ How can you seize this as an opportunity in course design?  5 minutes

NeuroFuture: Disruptive Tech Photo credit: Flickr / HawkinsSteven

Thank You! Twitter: @TracyInspired LinkedIn: Scoopit:

Resources  Clark, Ruth Clovin; Mayer, Richard E. (2008) e-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning, Second Ed. Pfeiffer: San Francisco, CA.  Ericsson, K Anders, et al, (1993) The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance. Psychological Review 100:3. ratePractice(PsychologicalReview).pdf  Deckker, Sanne; Lee, Nikki; Howard-Jones, Paul; Jolles, Jelle. (2012) Neuromyths in education: Prevalence of predictors of misconceptions among teachers. Frontiers in Educational Psychology. 12.00429/full  Medina, John. (2008) Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School. Pear Press: Seattle Washington.  Sousa, David, A., ED. (2010) Mind, Brain, & Education: Neuroscience Implications for the Classroom. Solution Tree Press: Bloomington, IN.

Resources  Tokuhama-Espinosa, Tracey, PhD. (2011) Mind, Brain and Education Science: A Comprehensive Guide to the New Brain-Based Teaching. WW Norton & Company, Inc.: New York.  Zull, James E. (2002) The Art of Changing the Brain: Enriching the practice of teaching by exploring the biology of learning. Stylus Publishing, LLC: Sterling, VA.  Zull, James E. (2011) From Brain to Mind: Using Neuroscience to Guide Change in Education. Stylus Publishing, LLC: Sterling, VA. Links  Brain Rules:  Learning Landscapes Journal, Autumn 2011: 2.pdf  OECD Report: Understanding the Brain: The Birth of a Learning Science:  Tracey Tokuhama-Espinoza book excerpt: ama1

Resources Organizations  Centre for Educational Neuroscience:  Dana Foundation:  Johns Hopkins Neuro Education Initiative:  Society for Neuroscience:

Brain Facts The average human brain weighs about 3 lbs & is the size of a medium head of cauliflower 20% of your energy is dedicated to maintaining your brain Your brain is comprised of 100 billion neurons – the same number of stars in the known universe The energy used by the brain is enough to power a 25 watt bulb! There are no pain receptors in the brain The old adage we only use 10% of our brains is not true. There is a known function for each part of the brain Neurons are social and make an average of 10,000 connections (synapses) – take that Facebook! Laughing requires activity in 5 different areas of the brain Photo credit: Shutterstock

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