Saturday, May 31, 2008

Teaching to the Brain

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I've long held a ravenous appetite for learning how the brain works and how those capacities can be leveraged to help kids (and me) learn. I recently bought the owners manual. A few days back Jeff Utecht tweeted about a Google Talk by John Medina, authour of the book Brain Rules. John is blogging and sharing some great stuff.

Garr Renolds adapted some of the Brain Rules for presentations. As I've blogged earlier presenting information is something teachers do every day and we need to learn a lot more about how to do it more effectively. So, for my own future reference, and yours if you like, here is John Medina's Google talk, Garr's presentation, and a seemingly unrelated presentation by Dean Shareski whose K12 Online presentation on Design Matters continues to push my thinking every day. Look at how this presentation of Dean's adheres to many of John Medina's Brain Rules; and Dean hasn't even read John's book yet.

In future posts I hope to share how what I'm learning from all this is making it's way into my classroom. I'd love to hear how others incorporate these ideas into their work as well; in education or elsewhere. When we share these ideas and applications, whether they work or not, it helps us all learn.

UPDATE

Dean referenced this video at the end of his presentation; it's well wortht the 4 minute look:

7 comments:

Tracy said...
31/5/08 15:11  

Glad I found this - conversations around brain research always intrigue me. I will be back to read and comment more closely soon.
tracy

Darren said...
31/5/08 16:11  

Glad you dropped by Tracy. The door is always open around these parts. ;-)

Jan Smith said...
1/6/08 19:40  

Darren,

You are so right about the power of Dean's K-12 presentation. I just listened to it again while walking to school last week, and was struck (again) by his references to the classroom as studio (Clarence Fischer via David Warlick via...it's kinda like those burrs that stick to your jeans when you walk through a field).

I was inspired to look at my classroom design differently. My students are great experimenters, so when I proposed we come up with a design that would promote learning and be good for our brains they were interested in giving it a whirl. We wanted a space that allowed more conversation, more movement,gives us room to use and view action (enactment or drama) strategies, while still giving room for quiet, personal spaces to work,and preserving our reading corner. We came up with a plan that has the desks on the outside edge of the room, with a large gathering space in the centre.

It is too early to assess what this physical change will do to our little community, but it is exciting to try. I want to show them the Garr Reynolds slides as a way of checking our design against research. Too bad it's June.

I enjoy reading Dean's stuff, and am looking forward to another burr-filled K-12 Online conference this Fall.

Mr. Kimmi said...
3/7/08 13:14  

As a first time commenter on your blog, let me say that I really enjoyed your k12 On;ine presentation last year. I download and listen as audio first. Your's I think was the first one to have me running back to my computer to see the visuals.

Speaking of visuals, the Garr Reynolds preso is great. I just picked up a copy of the book and we read it this month, right before we head back to school. I was thinking though, that a number of Reynolds slides find themselves on the wordy side of things. I don't know, it just seems that one of the big themes was to dump current presentation habits, so he might aviod these things.

Questions about you k12 preso last year: Do you require students to use blogs, for example, to reflect on their learning? Or do they have a choice in what they use for a certain project. For example, would it be acceptable for them to keep a traditional paper-journal?

Darren said...
3/7/08 22:40  

Hi Mr. Kimmi,

I hope this is the first of many visits to my blog.

First, I have never presented at K12 Online. I'm one of the conveners/organizers. It would be a conflict of interest for me to present. Dean Shareski is the one who made the presentation on Design Matters.

About my students using blogs. I do require them to use our clas blog to publish reflections on what they are learning. They also must submit one major project that must be published online. They also do a number of paper and pencil assignments in class. I guess the short answer is: I require that they do both; paper and digital.

Mr. Kimmi said...
8/7/08 15:41  

Wow, I'm not really sure where I got the idea that you did the k12 session, but the one I am referringto is "Release the Hounds." However, actually checking it out I see that it was Chris Harbeck. I apologize, but I don't know how I ended up on your name is reference to that presentation.

Darren said...
8/7/08 15:55  

No problem. Chris is a friend of mine and he's done some really amazing work. Here's his latest. He deserves all the credit and more. ;-)

Cheers!

Learning about learning ...

While walking ...
Best viewed "full screen." (Click on bottom right corner of any video when playing.)

With pictures ...
Best viewed "full screen." (Click on bottom right corner of any image when playing.)

Curating discoveries ...


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