“Playing music is the brain’s equivalent of a full body workout,” says educator Anita Collins in a TED-Ed video on how playing music benefits the brain. Playing music requires the visual, auditory, and motor cortices all at once
hip-hop “cypher,” participants stand in a circle and take turns rapping, often supporting or playing off one another’s rhymes.
“All of those things that are happening in the hip-hop cypher are what should happen in an ideal classroom.”
Students analyze rap lyrics with code in digital humanities class
Some teachers are finding a place for coding in English, music, science, math and social studies, too
by TARA GARCÍA MATHEWSON October 18, 2018
Fifteen states now require all high schools to offer computer science courses. Twenty-three states have created K-12 computer science standards. And 40 states plus the District of Columbia allow students to count computer science courses toward high school math or science graduation requirements. That’s up from 12 states in 2013, when Code.org launched, aiming to expand access to computer science in U.S. schools and increase participation among girls and underrepresented minorities in particular.
An, Donggun, and Martha Carr. “Learning styles theory fails to explain learning and achievement: Recommendations for alternative approaches.” Personality and Individual Differences 116 (2017): 410-416.
To assist time-strapped instructional faculty and staff, we offer a consolidated summary of key cognitive science principles, in the form of an easy-to-remember acronym: ANSWER.
Attention: Learning requires memory, and memory requires focused attention. Multitasking is a myth, and even the more scientifically-accurate term “task-switching” yields errors compared to focused attention. The brain is quite adept at filtering out dozens of simultaneous stimuli, as it does every second of wakefulness. Attention is a required ingredient for learning. This has ramifications for syllabus policies on the use of electronic devices for note-taking, which have been shown to be irresistible and therefore lead to distraction and lower scores (Ravizza, Uitvlugt, and Fenn). Even when students are not distracted, laptops are used primarily for dictation, which does little for long-term memory; writing by hand does more to stimulate attention and build neural networks than typing (Mueller and Oppenheimer).
Novelty: variety into lesson plans, activities, and opportunities for practice, instructors amplify potential learning for their students. Further, the use of metaphors in teaching enhances transfer, hemispheric integration, and retention, so using picture prompts and images can further solidify student learning (Sousa).
Spacing: Sometimes called “distributed practice,”the spacing effect refers to the jump in performance when students study a subject and then practice with gaps of time, ideally over one or more nights (sleep helps with memory consolidation), as compared to studying all at once, as if cramming the night before a test. Cramming, or massed practice, is successful for temporary test performance, since information is loaded into working memory. But the practices that work well for short-term memory do not work well for long-term memory. The spacing effect is particularly effective when combined with interleaving, the intentional practice of mixing in older learning tasks/skills with the new ones (Roedeiger, et al.). An ideal example of this would be regular quizzes in the semester that are cumulative (think “tiny final exams”).
Why: Memory is associative; when new memories are formed, neurons wire together (and later fire together), so the context can lead to the information, and vice versa. A teaching strategy of comprised of questions to guide lesson plans (perhaps even beginning with mystery) can pique student interest and learning potential. If you use PowerPoint, Haiku Deck, or Prezi, do your slides consist primarily of answers or questions?
Emotions: Short-term memories are stored in the hippocampus, a portion of the brain associated with emotions; the same area where we consolidate short-term into long-term memories overnight.
As instructors, we create the conditions in which students will motivate themselves (Ryan & Deci, 2000) by infusing our interactions with the positive emptions of curiosity, discovery, and fun. Simple gamification (quizzes with immediate feedback, for instance) can help.
Repetition: The creation of a new memory really means the formation of synapses across neurons and new neural pathways. These pathways and bridges degrade over time unless the synapse fires again. Consider the days before smartphones, when the way to remember a phone number was to repeat it several times mentally. Repetition, in all its forms, enables more effective recall later. This is why quizzing, practice testing, flashcards, and instructor-driven questioning and challenges are so effective.
Purpose Games is a free service for creating and or playing simple educational games. The service currently gives users the ability to create seven types of games. Those game types are image quizzes, text quizzes, matching games, fill-in-the-blank games, multiple choice games, shape games, and slide games.
In his book, “Experience on Demand,” Jeremy Bailenson, the founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, writes, “No medium, of course can fully capture the subjective experience of another person, but by richly evoking a real-seeming, first-person experience, virtual reality does seem to promise to offer new, empathy-enhancing qualities.” Bailenson contrasts experiencing virtual reality with reading news accounts and watching documentaries. Those latter activities, he writes, require “a lot of imaginative work,” whereas virtual reality can “convey the feeling” of, say, a refugee camp’s environment, and the “smallness of the living quarters, the size of the camp.”
Caldwell—who used Google Expeditions to deliver a virtual reality experience set in the Holocaust—says that when his students first put on the goggles, they viewed them as a novelty. But within a minute or two, the students became quiet, absorbed in what they were seeing; they realized the “reality of the horror of what was in front of them.” Questions ensued.
Ron Berger, the Chief Academic Officer of EL Education, points to another factor schools should consider. He thinks virtual reality can be a powerful way to introduce kids to situations that require empathy or adopting different perspectives. However, he thinks no one tool or experience will bring results unless it is “nested in a broader framework of a vision and goals and relationships.”
Berger says virtual reality experiences have to be accompanied by work beforehand and follow-up afterwards. Kids, he says, need to be reflective and think critically.
immersion experiences like virtual reality should be “embedded in positive” adult and peer relationships. He adds that ideally, there’s also a resulting action where kids do something productive with the information they’ve learned, to help their own growth and to help others. He mentions an example where students interviewed local immigrants and refugees, then wrote the stories they heard. They published the stories in a book, and the profits went to legal fees for local refugees.
saving virtual reality for “very special experiences,” keeping it “relatively short” and not getting students dizzy or disoriented. A report Bailenson co-authored for Common Sense Media highlights the research that has—and has not—explored the effects of virtual reality on children. It states that the “potentially negative outcomes of VR include impacts on children’s sensory systems and vision, aggression, and unhealthy amounts of escapism and distraction from the physical world.”
The Brain Science Is In: Students’ Emotional Needs Matter
What the neuro-, cognitive, and behavioral research says about social-emotional learning
• Malleability: Genes are not destiny. Our developing brains are largely shaped by our environments and relationships—a process that continues into adulthood.
• Context: Family, relationships, and lived experiences shape the physiological structure of our brains over time. Healthy amounts of challenge and adversity promote growth, but toxic stress takes a toll on the connections between the hemispheres of our brain.
• Continuum: While we’ve become familiar with the exponential development of the brain for young children, it continues throughout life. The explosion of brain growth into adolescence and early adulthood, in particular, requires putting serious work into much more intentional approaches to supporting that development than is common today.
In a soon-to-be published study, Jennings and her co-authors provided an extended version of CARE training to 224 teachers in high-poverty schools in New York City, with several two-day sessions spaced over the course of a year.
CARE TECHNIQUES TO TRY IN THE CLASSROOM Mindfulness for students and teachers
Cai, Y., Chiew, R., Nay, Z. T., Indhumathi, C., & Huang, L. (2017). Design and development of VR learning environments for children with ASD. Interactive Learning Environments, 25(8), 1098-1109. doi:10.1080/10494820.2017.1282877
Collins, J., Hoermann, S., & Regenbrecht, H. (2016). Comparing a finger dexterity assessment in virtual, video-mediated, and unmediated reality. International Journal Of Child Health And Human Development, 9(3), 333-341.
Epure, P., Gheorghe, C., Nissen, T., Toader, L. O., Macovei, A. N., Nielsen, S. M., & … Brooks, E. P. (2016). Effect of the Oculus Rift head mounted display on postural stability. International Journal Of Child Health And Human Development, 9(3), 343-350.
Sánchez, J., & Espinoza, M. (2016). Usability and redesign of a university entrance test based on audio for learners who are blind. International Journal Of Child Health And Human Development, 9(3), 379-387.
Eden, S. (2008). The effect of 3D virtual reality on sequential time perception among deaf and hard-of-hearing children. European Journal Of Special Needs Education, 23(4), 349-363. doi:10.1080/08856250802387315
Eden, S., & Bezer, M. (2011). Three-dimensions vs. two-dimensions intervention programs: the effect on the mediation level and behavioural aspects of children with intellectual disability. European Journal Of Special Needs Education, 26(3), 337-353. doi:10.1080/08856257.2011.593827
Lorenzo, G., Lledó, A., Roig, R., Lorenzo, A., & Pomares, J. (2016). New Educational Challenges and Innovations: Students with Disability in Immersive Learning Environments. In Virtual Learning. InTech. https://doi.org/10.5772/65219
The proliferation of mobile devices and the adoption of learning applications in higher education simplifies formative assessment. Professors can, for example, quickly create a multi-modal performance that requires students to write, draw, read, and watch video within the same assessment. Other tools allow for automatic grade responses, question-embedded documents, and video-based discussion.
Multi-Modal Assessments – create multiple-choice and open-ended items that are distributed digitally and assessed automatically. Student responses can be viewed instantaneously and downloaded to a spreadsheet for later use.
Formative (http://www.goformative.com) allows professors to upload charts or graphic organizers that students can draw on with a stylus. Formative also allows professors to upload document “worksheets” which can then be augmented with multiple-choice and open-ended questions.
Nearpod (http://www.nearpod.com) allows professors to upload their digital presentations and create digital quizzes to accompany them. Nearpod also allows professors to share three-dimensional field trips and models to help communicate ideas.
Video-Based Assessments – Question-embedded videos are an outstanding way to improve student engagement in blended or flipped instructional contexts. Using these tools allows professors to identify if the videos they use or create are being viewed by students.
Playposit (http://www.playposit.com) are two leaders in this application category. A second type of video-based assessment allows professors to sustain discussion-board like conversation with brief videos.
Flipgrid (http://www.flipgrid.com), for example, allows professors to posit a video question to which students may respond with their own video responses.
Quizzing Assessments – ools that utilize close-ended questions that provide a quick check of student understanding are also available.
Kahoot (http://www.kahoot.com) are relatively quick and convenient to use as a wrap up to instruction or a review of concepts taught.
Integration of technology is aligned to sound formative assessment design. Formative assessment is most valuable when it addresses student understanding, progress toward competencies or standards, and indicates concepts that need further attention for mastery. Additionally, formative assessment provides the instructor with valuable information on gaps in their students’ learning which can imply instructional changes or additional coverage of key concepts. The use of tech tools can make the creation, administration, and grading of formative assessment more efficient and can enhance reliability of assessments when used consistently in the classroom. Selecting one that effectively addresses your assessment needs and enhances your teaching style is critical.