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The Brain and Learning Technology
April 1, 2010 - 9:35pm

I'm reading a great book called The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science, by Norman Doidge. Key takeaway: "Neurons that fire together wire together".

One of my goals is to connect teaching techniques, learning technology, and brain science when designing faculty training and workshops. The idea is to think about our teaching methods in terms of learning theory, and learning theory in terms of the brain.

This is a challenge for me, as I did not learn anything about how our brains work in graduate school. Of course, I did not learn anything about how to teach in graduate school either, but that is a separate (or maybe related) story.

What do you think about the idea that we need to understand the brain if we are going to design effective learning environments and opportunities? Should basic brain science, cognitive theory, and the neuroscience of learning be taught to everyone who will eventually teach? Is the ability to understand, at an organic and structural level, how learning is accomplished in the brain inform our teaching practices?

As a late comer brain studies, I need to read and re-read about the basic concepts, structures, processes and anatomy of the brain in order to consolidate my understanding. I struggle to get my mind around the brain. Developing expertise on the biology of learning is an objective I grasp as important, but in practice I find difficult to achieve.

Books I've read and enjoyed about the brain include:

--Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School, by John Medina. Check out Medina's great Web site.

--Welcome to Your Brain: Why You Lose Your Car Keys but Never Forget How to Drive and Other Puzzles of Everyday Life, by Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang.

--Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind, by Gary Marcus.

--Mind Wide Open, by Steven Johnson.

--The Female Brain, by Louann Brizendine, M.D.

Any suggestions?


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