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Why the modern world is bad for your brain

Why the modern world is bad for your brain
Our brains are busier than ever before. We’re assaulted with facts, pseudo facts, jibber-jabber, and rumour, all posing as information. Trying to figure out what you need to know and what you can ignore is exhausting. At the same time, we are all doing more. Thirty years ago, travel agents made our airline and rail reservations, salespeople helped us find what we were looking for in shops, and professional typists or secretaries helped busy people with their correspondence. Our smartphones have become Swiss army knife–like appliances that include a dictionary, calculator, web browser, email, Game Boy, appointment calendar, voice recorder, guitar tuner, weather forecaster, GPS, texter, tweeter, Facebook updater, and flashlight. But there’s a fly in the ointment. Multitasking has been found to increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol as well as the fight-or-flight hormone adrenaline, which can overstimulate your brain and cause mental fog or scrambled thinking. © Daniel J. Related:  # Understanding Learning Online Environment 2015

Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others Individual intelligence, as psychologists measure it, is defined by its generality: People with good vocabularies, for instance, also tend to have good math skills, even though we often think of those abilities as distinct. The results of our studies showed that this same kind of general intelligence also exists for teams. On average, the groups that did well on one task did well on the others, too. In other words, some teams were simply smarter than others. We next tried to define what characteristics distinguished the smarter teams from the rest, and we were a bit surprised by the answers we got. Instead, the smartest teams were distinguished by three characteristics. First, their members contributed more equally to the team’s discussions, rather than letting one or two people dominate the group. Finally, teams with more women outperformed teams with more men. In a new study that we published with David Engel and Lisa X. And they did. This last finding was another surprise.

Assessing and Developing Metacognitive Skills Faculty Focus January 21, 2011 By: Maryellen Weimer, PhD in Learning Styles Metacognition is easily defined: “[It] refers to the ability to reflect upon, understand and control one’s learning,” (Schraw and Dennison, p. 460) or, even more simply, “thinking about one’s thinking.” Despite straightforward definitions, metacognition is a complicated construct that has been the object of research for more than 30 years. Research supports theories that separate metacognition into two major components: knowledge of cognition and regulation of cognition. Knowledge of cognition “describes an individual’s awareness of cognition at three different levels: declarative (knowing about things), procedural (knowing about how to do things), and conditional (knowing why and when to do things).” Metacognition has been studied in students from grade school through college, and it has produced a number of interesting and important findings. References: Cooper, M. Schraw, G. (1998). Recent Trackbacks [...]

8 Strategies for Teaching Academic Language "Change your language and you change your thoughts." -- Karl Albrecht Understanding Academic Language Academic language is a meta-language that helps learners acquire the 50,000 words that they are expected to have internalized by the end of high school and includes everything from illustration and chart literacy to speaking, grammar and genres within fields. Think of academic language as the verbal clothing that we don in classrooms and other formal contexts to demonstrate cognition within cultures and to signal college readiness. There are two major kinds: instructional language ("What textual clues support your analysis?") and language of the discipline (examples include alliteration in language arts, axioms in math, class struggle in social studies and atoms in science). Where to Start It would be a mistake to think that academic language is a garbage pail category involving any word, depending on the context. Teaching Academic Language 8 Specific Strategies 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

No place for introverts in the academy? | Features | Times Higher Education In today’s brave new world of university learning, students aren’t allowed to be shy, says Bruce Macfarlane It is estimated that anything between a third and a half of people are introverts. This must logically include the students we teach at university When I was an undergraduate in the early 1980s I said very little in class. But this is hardly a unique personal revelation. However, university students are no longer allowed to be shy. There is simply no place any more for the introvert. Student talk is equated with evidence of learning. I recently sat in on a master’s degree class at one of China’s leading universities. Asking questions or speaking in class have become performative expectations. Such subtlety is not understood in the brave new performative world of university learning. As teachers we are quick to think of silence in class as a problem. The virtues of being shy are, in fact, well suited to many of the central values of higher education. Click to rate 0 out of 5 stars

The best book clubs are on Twitter and Facebook Like many people, Zuckerberg has made a New Year’s resolution to read more – in his case, a book a fortnight. His Facebook group A Year of Books already has more than 140,000 members poised to post their thoughts (so it’s probably a good thing that his book club will take place on the internet, rather than in someone’s kitchen), which is a colossal figure for a club that didn’t exist until January 3, and indicative of how social media has changed the way that many people now choose what they read. As the social media editor for The Telegraph’s arts desk, I have seen first-hand how the internet has changed reading habits – and for the better. I no longer have to wait for my book group to be in the same city to meet: I have fellow book-lovers online who are available 24 hours a day. To get started, join a book group or explore a reading hashtag such as #fridayreads, a trove of recommendations from around the world, while #amreading shows which book people are currently nose-deep in.

What Will the Learning Device of the Future Look Like? -- THE Journal Mobile Computing What Will the Learning Device of the Future Look Like? We asked a young innovator, a futurist and the CEO of the One-to-One Institute to imagine what students will be using for learning one day. Here are their predictions, from the fantastical to the practical. By Dian Schaffhauser01/05/15 Sahil Doshi is a 14-year-old freshman at Upper Sinclair High School in Pittsburgh. When asked to imagine the learning device of the future, he suggested imagining a baseball cap connected directly to a student's brain. The search capacity would go way beyond what Google and Bing index. To prevent the technology built into the device from putting too much physical pressure on the wearer’s head, the cap would be made of "lightweight material that could take away the weight." If a student needed to communicate with a remote person, a screen would fold out from the brim, allowing the wearer to interact through a “Google Glass kind of design.” Connecting to People and Things About the Author

Lego Crosses The Digital Divide With licensing agreements with Hollywood’s biggest franchises, a wildly successful film series of its own, and original product lines that have spawned television and Internet tie-ins, Lego is experiencing a boom that makes its brush with bankruptcy over a decade ago seem like an alternate reality. Plus, it still lacks any real competition in the interlocking-building-toy field. The company does what it does, and it does it really well. There's a lot of that at the 2015 New York Toy Fair. "You put the toy industry under one roof and you hear, ‘This is what kids want,’" says senior director of brand relations for Lego Michael McNally, referring to the tech-saturated toys. The company has been cautious about jumping on the tech bandwagon ever since focusing too much energy on non-toy gambles in the late '90s—the Lego video games and theme parks—that almost undid the company. But the company hasn’t turned its back on digital. A History Of Tech Tinkering The Gaming Connection It was magical.

theconversation Being stuck in bed, waiting for the flu to run its course, is pretty unpleasant. And it’s also really boring. What else is there to do but search for symptoms online, and read entries about the flu on Wikipedia or WebMD or post messages on Facebook and Twitter about how sick you are? A lot of people get the flu every year and many of them do exactly that: they search for relevant information, and share their misery with the rest of us. This is digital epidemiology: the idea that the health of a population can be assessed through digital traces, in real time. It has the potential to be a powerful boon for traditional epidemiology. Click to enlarge Digital epidemiology goes mainstream: Google flu trends Google Flu Trends was one of the first popular examples of digital epidemiology. For many years, Google Flu Trends has served as a prime example of digital epidemiology. For starters, its estimates were not always very accurate. The doctor is in your pocket: epidemiology goes mobile