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.
In April, a PLAYlive Nation lounge in Tracy, Calif., hosted its first Fortnite tournament and sold out. Hundreds of players bought tickets to play against one another and win prizes.
Joost van Dreunen, the CEO of Superdata Research, a video game analytics firm, says most shooter games are serious and simulate violence. Fortnite, he says, is more like a friendly game of tag.
His company estimates the game has made about $223 million across all platforms in March alone. In lifetime sales, it had made about $614 million. The game is free to play, but Epic Games, the company that owns Fortnite, makes money through microtransactions. Players can spend real money to make cosmetic changes to their characters in the game. They can buy things like skins, which are like costumes, for their characters or emotes, which are celebratory dance moves their characters can do after winning or killing another player in the game.
Ninja, the gamer name taken by 26-year-old Tyler Blevins, is now a legend in the Fortnite world. He is a master at the game and rocketed into popularity after playing in an online battle with rap artists Drake and Travis Scott on March 14. That battle has been watched more than 9 million times.
Educators Battle ‘Fortnite’ for Students’ Attention
Many educators want to ban the game from their classrooms, but some are taking the opposite approach, attempting to weave students’ interest in Fortnite into class discussions and assignments.
Nick Fisher, a science teacher at Fort Zumwalt North High School in O’Fallon, Mo., said his students like to take screenshots of gameplay and send them to friends over Snapchat. Teenagers want to broadcast their victories, and because the game is on their phones, it’s easy to post updates to social media, making Fortnite “the perfect concoction of addiction,” said Fisher.
North High blocks all social media and gaming sites on its WiFi, said Fisher, but students tell him how they circumvent the restriction: They use virtual private networks, or VPNs, to establish independent internet connections. (Dozens of YouTube videos provide step-by-step tutorials for students looking to get around school WiFi controls.)
“Kids can’t multitask,” she said. “Even having a digital device within sight can cognitively distract the student enough that they can’t focus on the academics.”
Schools and teachers should be guiding parents when it comes to appropriate limits around screen time, said Kolb. Most parents will appreciate research-based recommendations, such as turning off all screens a set amount of time before bed, she said.
Games like Fortnite can even have social benefits, said John Velez, an assistant professor of journalism and electronic media at Texas Tech University. Velez, who studies the positive effects of video games, has found that playing violent games cooperatively with helpful teammates promotes pro-social behavior.
Chris Aviles, the coordinator of innovation, technology, and 21st century skills for the Fair Haven Public Schools in New Jersey, wrote “A Teacher’s Guide to Surviving Fortnite,” an exploration of ways the game can be used for instructional purposes. The guide, posted to his blog Teched Up Teacher, suggests how to integrate the game into writing prompts, math lessons on probability, and physics.
Aviles doesn’t advocate playing the game at school. There isn’t any educational value in letting students engage in virtual combat during a lesson, he said. Instead, teachers can build a lesson around one aspect of the game, such as having students calculate the best angle of approach as they jump from the “Battle Bus,” the floating bus that drops players onto the map at the beginning of each match.
Instagram, Snapchat, Fortnite: The distractions are endless. Here’s how to help kids cope.
In January, two of Apple’s shareholder groups asked the company to look at the addictive effects of iPhones on children. Google’s recent developer conference highlighted tools to help users better control smartphone usage.
A 2015 survey of more than 1,800 teachers and 400 principals in Alberta, B.C., found that nearly three-fourths of teachers frequently or very frequently observed students multitasking with technology, and 67 percent of teachers believed that the number of students negatively distracted by digital technologies in the classroom was growing.
The best approach is to use empathy, compassion and collaboration to help the young people in your life find ways to manage their digital workflow.
Encourage visualization for inspiration and motivation. The first step is getting students to buy in and to want to make behavioral changes.
Focus on compartmentalization. A 2009 study from Stanford researchers found that people who juggled several streams of electronic information were not able to pay attention, remember key information or switch tasks as effectively as those who completed one task at a time.
Using the Pomodoro technique of spending 25 minutes focused on one task followed by a five-minute break can be an easy way to have students begin to shift from a multitasking to a monotasking mind-set.
Make focus fun. There are now numerous ways to use technology to help us be more productive with technology, and it doesn’t have to be arduous. Students in my office use apps such as Forest or Flipd to motivate them to stay off their phones during class or when doing homework. Forest has a simple interface that will build a digital tree for users who stay off their phones. Flipd allows users to hide certain apps, allot time off their phone based on their schedule and, for a premium, track their progress over time.
Provide structured support as needed. A middle school student with whom I worked recently was relieved when his mother used the Mac OS app SelfControl to block YouTube and ESPN while he was doing his homework (Cold Turkey is a similar PC-based app).
Allow opportunities for regrouping. Even the best plans can go awry (for adults and kids alike). It’s important to focus on progress rather than perfection. Create time daily or weekly for students to think about what went well in terms of managing distractions and improving productivity, and what they would like to do better. Ask open-ended questions without judgment or expectation
Research continues to emerge that pro-vides us with information about the cognitive skills and strategies relevant to the proficient use of the new literacies of the Internet, but conclusions regarding dispositions and affective variables are notably limited. For this reason, it is important that researchers begin to focus concurrently on both areas to inform the educational community regarding how to meet the rapidly changing needs of our current and future students.
Coiro, J. (2011). Talking About Reading as Thinking: Modeling the Hidden Complexities of Online Reading Comprehension. Theory Into Practice, 50(2), 107-115. doi:10.1080/00405841.2011.558435
Hutchison, A. C., Woodward, L., & Colwell, J. (2016). What Are Preadolescent Readers Doing Online? An Examination of Upper Elementary Students’ Reading, Writing, and Communication in Digital Spaces. Reading Research Quarterly, 51(4), 435-454. doi:10.1002/rrq.146
My note: this may seem peripheral study to the request in terms of age, but the cross-cultural study can help the Bulgarian research
Due to the impact of the Internet on reading resources, students’ reading patterns today are different from how they were in the past. College students’ reading practices have moved to different venues with the advent of Internet technology, and the modality has migrated to online reading.
Naumann, J. (2015). A model of online reading engagement: Linking engagement, navigation, and performance in digital reading. Computers In Human Behavior, 53263-277. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2015.06.051
model of online reading engagement is outlined. This model proposes that online reading engagement predicts dedication in digital reading. Dedication in digital reading according to the model is reflected in task-adaptive navigation, and task-adaptive navigation predicts digital reading performance over and above print reading skill. Information engagement is assumed to positively predict task-adaptive navigation, while social engagement is assumed to negatively predict task-adaptive navigation. These hypotheses were tested using OECD PISA 2009 Digital Reading Assessment data from 17 countries and economies ( N = 29,395).
Alvermann, D. E., & Harrison, C. (2016). Are Computers, Smartphones, and the Internet a Boon or a Barrier for the Weaker Reader?. Journal Of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 60(2), 221-225. doi:10.1002/jaal.569
If boys are spending nine hours a day media multitasking and prefer computers to books, shouldn’t they be successful at online learning? Online learning requires online reading, which means that boys, who are significantly poorer readers than girls in every nation in the world, may well be struggling to keep up. an online student may not have access to the learning that can come from group interaction, nor to the social and emotional support that can come from peers or a teacher, and the online reader could be heading for a learning apocalypse
Park, H., & Kim, D. (2017). English language learners’ strategies for reading online texts: Influential factors and patterns of use at home and in school. International Journal Of Educational Research, 8263-74. doi:10.1016/j.ijer.2017.01.002
five fourth and fifth-grade English language learners’ (ELLs) strategy use when they read online texts at home and in school. We also identify factors that play a role when these learners read online texts, as well as similar and different patterns in reading strategies at home and in school. The findings show that three factors influence the ELLs’ selection of online texts and use of reading strategies. In addition, the ELLs used nine reading strategies to enhance their reading online texts. Based on these findings, we discuss (a) the ELLs’ online reading strategies in different contexts, (b) the multidimensional zone of proximal development, and (c) collaboration between parents and teachers.
Leu, D. J., Forzani, E., Timbrell, N., & Maykel, C. (2015). Seeing the Forest, Not the Trees. Reading Teacher, 69(2), 139-145. doi:10.1002/trtr.1406
a primary goal is to develop the ability to read in order to learn with online information. Technologies that support this goal, especially the Internet, and instructional practices that support the development of online reading should be our primary consideration for reading and literacy education, beginning in the primary grades.
Brynge, E., Case, H., Forsyth, E., Green, G., & Hölke, U. (2015). Libraries: Sustaining the Digital Reader Experience. Scholarly & Research Communication, 1-10.
Children who use smartphones, tablets, and video games for more than seven hours a day are more likely to experience premature thinning of the cortex, the outermost layer of the brain that processes thought and action, a 2018 study found. https://t.co/OJe6ZTBVkx
But others say banning laptops can be counterproductive, arguing these devices can create opportunity for students to discover more information during class or collaborate. And that certain tools and technologies are necessary for learners who struggle in a traditional lecture format.
Flanigan, who studies self-regulation, or the processes students use to achieve their learning goals, began researching digital distraction after confronting it in the classroom as a graduate instructor.
Digital distraction tempts all of us, almost everywhere. That’s the premise of Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport, an associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University.
The professor is upset. The professor has taken action, by banning laptops.
Bruff, whose next book, Intentional Tech: Principles to Guide the Use of Educational Technology in College Teaching, is set to be published this fall, is among the experts who think that’s a mistake. Why? Well, for one thing, he said, students are “going to have to graduate and get jobs and use laptops without being on Facebook all day.” The classroom should help prepare them for that.
When Volk teaches a course with 50 or 60 students, he said, “the idea is to keep them moving.”Shifting the focal point away from the professor can help, too. “If they are in a small group with their colleagues,” Volk said, “very rarely will I see them on their laptops doing things they shouldn’t be.”
Professors may not see themselves as performers, but if they can’t get students’ attention, nothing else they do matters. “Learning doesn’t happen without attention,” said Lang, who is writing a book about digital distraction, Teaching Distracted Minds.
One aspect of distraction Lang plans to cover in his book is its history. It’s possible, he said, to regard our smartphones as either too similar or dissimilar from the distractions of the past. And it’s important, he said, to remember how new this technology really is, and how much we still don’t know about it.
Study: Use of digital devices in class affects students’ long-term retention of information
A new study conducted by researchers at Rutgers University reveals that students who are distracted by texts, games, or videos while taking lecture notes on digital devices are far more likely to have their long-term memory affected and to perform more poorly on exams, even if short-term memory is not impacted, EdSurge reports.
Exam performance was not only poorer for students using the devices, but also for other students in classes that permitted the devices because of the distraction factor, the study found.
After conducting the study, Arnold Glass, the lead researcher, changed his own policy and no longer allows his students to take notes on digital devices.
A nationally representative Gallup poll conducted in March showed that 42% of K-12 teachers feel that the use of digital devices in the classroom are “mostly helpful” for students, while only 28% feel they are “mostly harmful.” Yet 69% of those same teachers feel the devices have a harmful impact on student mental health and 55% feel they negatively affect student physical health.
findings, published in the journal Economics of Education Review in a paper, based on an analysis of the grades of about 5,600 students at a private US liberal arts college, found that using a laptop appeared to harm the grades of male and low-performing students most significantly.
While the authors were unable to definitively say why laptop use caused a “significant negative effect in grades”, the authors believe that classroom “cyber-slacking” plays a major role in lower achievement, with wi-fi-enabled computers providing numerous distractions for students.
High schoolers assigned a laptop or a Chromebook were more likely to take notes in class, do internet research, create documents to share, collaborate with their peers on projects, check their grades and get reminders about tests or homework due dates.
enerally speaking, Google has very limited interest in making hardware in the first place. The cost of building things is high, the margins are low, and Google’s real specialty is in web services like Gmail and search anyway.
the real business opportunity for Google is to compel a broad range of companies to create gadgets and home appliances using its software. The hardware is secondary. In fact, building its own hardware can even work against Google: The more successful Google is at selling its own hardware, the less likely other hardware makers want to use its software, since they view Google as a competitor.
Putting all its efforts behind expanding and extending Android has made Google a top player in the smartphone market, even after its late start against Apple and the iPhone.
“There is a long history of people worrying and complaining about new technologies and also putting them up on a pedestal as the answer…
As a society, I think we’re beginning to recognize this imbalance, and we’re in a position to ask questions like “How do we live a more balanced life in the fast world? How do we achieve adequate forms of slow practice?”
xiv. fast world and slow world practices. always-on lifestyle.
p. 3. our devices have vastly extended our attentional choices, but the human attentional capacity remains unchanged. how to make wise choices and figure out what constitutes a wise choice, so we can use our digital tools to their best advantage and to ours.
by paying attention how you use your cellphone, how you handle email, how you feel when you are on FB or Pinterest, or when you multitask, you will be able to see which aspects of your current online practices are working well and which aren’t. seeing these will clearly will allow you to make constructive changes.
premise: we function more effectively and more healthfully online when we are more attentive, relaxed, and emotionally balanced. Also stated as negative: we function less effectively and less healthfully online when we are distracted, physically uncomfortable, and emotionally upset. that happens often when we are online. Good news – we can do something about it.
P. 4 engage and strengthen two forms of attention : 1. the ability to stay focused on what you are doing at the moment. 2. self-observation / self-awareness
p. 24. each excercise follows the same six-part structure
step 1: perform primary practice (email, FB etc)
step 2: observe what are you doing and feelig, paying special atention to what is happening in your mind and body as you engage in your primary practicestep 3: log your observation, in written form
step 4: consolidate observations by summarizing
step 5: formulate personal guidelines based on consolidated observatins
step 6: share and discuss with others
p. 25-26. mindfulness: the ability to direct your attention where you want it to go – to have a choice. in a world, where we are surrounded by advertisements, sales pitches, the biggest, best, and brightest promised of happiness and fulfillment that money can buy, not to mention the clear constant information overload of emails, status updates, tweets, photo albums, Netflix queues, RSS feeds, playin whack-a-mole with phone notifications. I wish I could say that we, could get away, but i don’t think that as a society we can, or even that we should (this is where Turkle cannot help).
p. 27 two modes of attention
p. 27 one is like a flash light in a dark room: you see a chair; move to the left, you see something else.
p. 28 the other mode is to go beyond focusing on a single object, but opening up to the surrounding environment. like the same flash beam, but instead intense narrowed one, this is a diffused allowing to cover more, but with less visual acuity.
p. 29 both modes can exclude each other
p. 30 attentional shift, attentional choice
how to deploy our task focus (focused attention) to our self-awareness (open attention)
the brain has two different attentional systems: one is top-down and is under conscious control. the bottom-up system, an earlier evolutionary development, is completely automated. scanning the enthronement for potential threats, alerting us to them whether we want or not, since it is hard wired.
p. 31-32 interruption have two varieties: external ones: sounds, smells, movements, physical contact. internal interruptions are: hunger, mental activity (remembering late appointment).
we cannot turn alerting mechanisms, but we can minimize distractions.
we cannot turn everything off and eliminate all interruptions. what we can do is to notice them as they arise and make a decision how to proceed and face them – whether to respond in the moment or ignore them.
it is now clearly established that we can mainly focus on only one thing at the a time. thus we have the ability to prioritize and focus on only one task.
34. emotions and the stress response
p. 40 strengthening task focus
mindful breathing – optional
simplest and most widespread form of attention training uses the breath as the object of focus. when mind wanders, bring back focus on your in- and out-breath: focusing, opening (noticing) and choosing. focus on your breath, notice when you have strayed and choose to come back to the breath
p. 41 strengthening self-observation / awareness
p. 42 Exercise 1. Observing email
Berg, M., & Seeber, B. (2016). Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy. University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division.
“Distractedness and fragmentation characterize contemporary academic life”
A number of factors. Over the last two decades, we’ve seen increases in class sizes, the casualization of academic labour, administrative bloating, the shift toward quantification of our time and our output. Pressures to publish, new technology, the downloading of tasks and the confusion it creates – these all have led to a situation where we spend less time talking face-to-face with each other and more time multitasking. There seems to be less sense of community and collegiality.
It seems that the perils of social media spill back to previous medias. The migration of TV content from TV to streaming (Neflix, Hulu etc) enables the trend of binge watching, which in addictiveness resembles greatly concerns typical for social media such as : addictiveness, poor concentration (AKA multitasking) etc.
The questions is: how to make GG applicable for our daily tasks at work?
GG can be very useful for training students: by having a live, streaming G Hangout session with the supervisor. The latter can be in his/her office multitasking, while also monitoring the work of the student. E.g., shelving books for the Circulation supervisor.