Friday, February 5, 2010

Brain-Based Learning as a Problem to Be Solved

My task as I understood it was to create an activity that would incorporate active learning and include an educative assessment piece. This activity is not fully developed, but is suggestive. I will try to remove the rough edges in time. Let me begin with the resources I have in mind:

Resource 1: John Medina. Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School.Seattle: Pear, 2008.
This is a superb book recommended by one of our librarians who until joining us recently was a librarian at Microsoft where this book and the accompanying videos are, apparently, all the rage. I'm selecting it as a resource because it has the business angle, the author has impeccable credentials, and the video material is dynamite. The DVD with one 3-5 minute clip for each of the 12 "rules" comes free with purchase of the book and the free web site at is also quite good.

Resource 2: "Brain based education: Fad or breakthrough?" YouTube.
Professor Daniel Willingham looks at when and how neuroscience can inform education. The professor also has very good credentials. Some may not particularly like his demeanor. But that is beside the point. "

The problem for the class to work out is "Who shall we believe? Or "Is Dr. Medina's work in the 95% group of publications that Willingham says is garbage?"

I'm tempted to stop right here and simply put these rich materials into the hands of creative teachers and let them make a significant learning experience out of this. I've got some ideas on how to proceed but I probably won't be able to post them for a while. Until then, feel free to extend this activity stem with comments...

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