How brain research might affect instruction

Brain research could help improve teaching and learning.

The 32nd annual International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference kicked off June 26 with a lesson relating brain function to teaching and learning, and attendees explored how brain sciences might influence how educators deliver instruction.

Educators must “help today’s students prepare for tomorrow’s complexities,” said new ISTE President Holly Jobe in opening remarks. This includes helping students learn to love learning, and simply helping students learn how to learn.

“Technology does, and can, provide a gateway” to a vast array of learning experiences, Jobe said. “The walls of the classrooms are coming down.”

And technology can help students see other ways of thinking, but also helps them to identify commonalities when it comes to learning in different countries and cultures.

For more information on brain research and education, see:

The Science of Learning: How Current Brain Research Can Improve Education

Jobe challenged ISTE 2011 attendees and said that educators are not tapping technology’s potential in classrooms because they are not engaging students.

“[We must] meet them in their world,” she said, so that they can become “involved and engaged in their learning,” she said.

The opening keynote featured Dr. John J. Medina, who wrote Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School. Medina presented a perspective on how different physiological factors of the human brain embrace and shape student potential.

Medina told the audience that certain brain myths, such as the oft-quoted adage that humans only use 10 percent of their brains, are not true. In fact, scientists and researchers don’t know very much about how the brain actually works, but what they do know might help to inform instruction.

Laura Ascione

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