Sunday, May 11, 2014

LOEX 2014 Conference

Keynote 1: Terry Doyle,
  • Help students to understand how their brains work & how to learn--making neural connections & networks. Brain only engages when one pays attention!
  • Learning /complex mental tasks involve multiple regions & sides of the brain simultaneously. Little evidence for learning styles (!); long-term memories are formed visually & auditorily (auditorially or aurally). 
  • Multitasking - texting & social media - are habit-forming (addictive), not deep learning. Habit= short-term attention span, values all stimuli, distractedness increases.
  • Learning is a change in neuron patterns in the brain - new cellular growth; if not repeated/practices/reinforced, the cells get re-absorbed. Learning takes a lot of practice & time.
  • Learning is the ability to use information after significant periods of disuse & to solve problems in a different context. Application & transfer (extrapolation).
  • The one who does the work does the learning. E.g., students should create test review questions themselves & collaborate.
  • We need to prepare ourselves to learn: hydration, diet, exercise, sleep, oxygen. 
  • Brain cells store water - communication system. Mild dehydration influences mood, energy, ability to think clearly, short-term memory, recall of long-term memory. 
  • The brain uses 22% more energy than physical exercise. Diet: saturated fat reduces cognitive processing; refined sugar reduces neuroplasticity & learning.
  • Exercise - brains solve problems while in motion outdoors. Movement sharpens brain & learning - protein FNDC5 & BDNF - more cellular growth & connections, & memory - neurotransmitters noradrenaline, serotonin, dopamine improve focus, attention, mood, motivation, resilience, patience, & time on task! Exercise reduces toxins/stress. (Sitting on an exercise ball in class = "on the ball"!) Have walking discussion groups, strolling collaboration groups. Walking in woods helps but in the city doesn't - too much stimulation.
  • Sleep affects moral judgment, attention, irritability, immune system, reaction time. Sheds neurotoxins in brain! 7 1/2 - 9 hours are good. Memories are made during sleep - transfer to long-term memory - cortex. Sleep cleans hippocampus (short-term memories & visual stimulation move to long-term memory or get deleted/cleansed). Takes place in 2nd half of night. Sleep reorganizes memories, extracts emotional content, & improves/produces creativity. Sleeping directly after learning something new is beneficial for memory. 27-minute afternoon nap improves performance 34%.
  • Oxygen: breathe properly!
  • Procrastination exercise: write down the thing that you're best at, then tell me when you started to learn it, how often you did it, any coaching? How many years have you done it? If apply to learning intellectual content - takes time, practice, coaching/guiding. Is it instant? No. 10,000-50,000 hours over 10 years = expertise.
  • Metacognition - ask what skill students just learned/used & have them describe it (create pattern in own words).
  • Brain stops paying attention when it thinks it has the answer! Brain loves novelty! Helps attention & creativity.


Pixie the dog said...

Whoa, so no evidence for learning styles? That is interesting!

Kim Ranger said...

Yes, it's true, Pixie. There is no evidence that pretty dogs learn better with pinecones in their mouths.