News, events, and commentary on bridging neuroscience and education

Can Running Make You Smarter?

by Gretchen Reynolds

New York Times Well blog | July 13, 2016

To strengthen your mind, you may first want to exert your leg muscles, according to a sophisticated new experiment involving people, mice and monkeys. The study’s results suggest that long-term endurance exercise such as running can alter muscles in ways that then jump-start changes in the brain, helping to fortify learning and memory.

Brain Memory Training Does Not Improve Academic Outcomes in Kids

by Anita Slomski, MA

Journal of the American Medical Association | June 28, 2016

A clinical trials update: Training programs designed to enhance working memory are popular methods to boost academic performance in young children with learning disabilities, despite a lack of evidence of long-term benefits. Researchers evaluated the computerized Cogmed Working Memory Training program, the most widely used working memory intervention, and found there was no improvement in academic outcomes after the intervention was given to children with low working memory.

Why have so many people accepted the idea that kids need to fail more?

by Valerie Strauss

Washington Post | June 26, 2016

Is it important to allow students to fail in class — or not to fail? How much should teachers allow kids to struggle before helping them solve a problem or understand a concept? These may seem like simple questions, but the answers are complex.

Music Training May Help Kids’ Brains Develop Faster

by Emily Gersema

University of Southern California | June 20, 2016

Initial data from a 5-year study suggests that learning music can accelerate brain development in young children in areas associated with language development and sound processing.

The Mindful Brain

by Brenda Patoine | May 31, 2016

Mindfulness-based meditation is now established as a valid stress-reduction tool in schools, backed by a growing body of solid science illuminating its effects on the brain and health.

The Truth Behind 'Brain-Based' Learning

by BrainFacts

Society for Neuroscience | May 19, 2016

There are numerous myths about the brain, and many of them relate to education and how the brain learns. In this video presentation Janet Zadina, an assistant professor of neurology at Tulane University, will uncover the truth behind some of the most commonly held brain-based learning myths.

Science Netlinks: Be Brainy!

AAAS | March 18, 2016

For Brain Awareness Week, AAAS has collected age-specific activities for learning about the brain.

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Brain Development and Adolescent Growth Spurts

by Judy WIllis

Edutopia | February 11, 2016

As your students move through adolescence, their brains are going through a dynamic change from chaos to clarity. These developmental changes have profound implications for how you'll be able to guide students during these transformative years.

We Need to Rewrite the Textbook on How to Teach Teachers

by Simon Oxenham

Big Think | February 2, 2016

A report just published by the National Council on Teacher Quality describes a failure of teacher-training courses and the textbooks that accompany them to convey evidence-based practices, instead delivering unsupported anecdotal evidence and well-debunked myths.

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A Study of Motivation

by Kayt Sukel

Dana Neuroscientist Q&As | January 14, 2016

It’s difficult to know what motivates people, but R. Alison Adcock’s lab is using imaging to study how states like desire and curiosity can facilitate “motivated memory.” Her work could have implications in the education field, but also in other learning contexts like psychotherapy and behavior change.

Same Word, Different Meanings: Common Miscommunications between Neuroscience and Society

by Theresa Cheng

Learning & the Brain | January 14, 2016

Words like self-directed, executive function, and ability may have different shades of meaning for scientists and for teachers.

So Much to Read, So Little Time: How Do We Read, and Can Speed Reading Help?

Association for Psychological Science | January 13, 2016

A new report for the APS finds there is no quick and easy way to improve reading speed while avoiding costs to comprehension; however, for those who want to be able to quickly gain a general understanding of text, improved skimming through speed-reading training may be beneficial.

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