Tag Archives: learning

student sleeping

The Four Day School Week

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Many companies have experimented with their work schedules in an attempt to decrease costs, increase performance, or both. One common example is the four day/ten hour per day workweek. The workweek is still 40 hours, but compressed by a day. By moving to four days, the company can either close down the office for three days and save on maintenance and upkeep or they can rejigger shifts to have 4/day 3/day rotations that are easier to pair up than 5 day/ 2 day rotations would be. What about doing this in K-12 education?

How would you react if you were told that your local public school planned to change the schedule from the traditional Monday-through-Friday model to a schedule that contained four longer school days? Would you worry about long days for young children, their academic accomplishments and, of course, childcare?

escape room game

Escape Room Creativity Builder

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I have been voraciously reading the literature on creativity over the past year. Not the crap that comes out of the self-help literature or even in the entrepreneurship mass media. These are pretty trivial and often shortchange the science. There have been many serious research studies that have broad implications for individual and business creative output. But I am not planning on sharing that research today. That will have to wait for another day. Today I want to share a really interesting creative exercise that seems to follow (intentional or not I cannot say) some of the guidelines suggested by the research.

This exercise is the Escape Room (warning – gated). You may have seen it on an episode of the Big Bang Theory last year.

Lego Blocks

Creativity

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Greg Satell has some good ideas for how to use edugames to enhance creativity in kids at school. He cites several examples of how games prime divergent thinking and creative thinking modes. This agrees with a lot of the research we have talked about here before on priming and a growth mindset.

What seemed like child’s play to most academics was actually the best way to imagine possibilities and see how their ideas reflected diverse—and often confusing—empirical clues. Today, a growing contingent of academics believes that games can have the same effect on how children learn and a company called Kidaptive is determined to prove them right. – See more at: http://www.creativitypost.com/education/why_games_might_be_the_next_big_thing_in_education#sthash.sXhMAlHK.dpuf

a man viewing an ebook

EID Hall of Fame – A New Take on eBook Reading

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There have been several articles posted on the EID site over the past year that have aroused significant discussion. Here is one of the articles that received the most discussion, reposted for your reading pleasure. Were you one of our loyal readers who shared, reposted, and debated it? Did that experience provide tangible professional value for you, or just hours of fun? We would love to hear about your experiences in the comments.

We have had many conversations over the past years about how the move to digital books is impacting our reading. Some claims are backed up by rigorous research and some are just pure speculation or even fear mongering. Of course, whenever there are strong claims on both sides of an argument, the truth is usually a nuanced middle path and eBooks are no different. The reality is that the effectiveness of eBooks is context specific and results will depend on what the objectives of the book are (for example entertainment versus education) and how they are implemented (UI and UX).

Young boy reading

How children learn to read

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I have some mixed feelings about this research, so I thought it would be a great idea to share it with you and get your sage insights on it. Start with this summary in the New Yorker by Maria Konnikova. I read her work all the time – she is a truly excellent psychology writer. And if you want the original study from Psychological Science by Fumiko Hoeft at UCSF, you can get it here if you have access to the journal.

Why is it easy for some people to learn to read, and difficult for others? It’s a tough question with a long history. We know that it’s not just about raw intelligence, nor is it wholly about repetition and dogged persistence. This is the mystery that has animated the work of Fumiko Hoeft, a cognitive neuroscientist and psychiatrist currently at the University of California, San Francisco.

a silhouette of a person with gears in the brain

Priming Mindsets for Learning

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I have talked before about inexpensive ways to increase learning (here and here). Here is another example for you. I am sure many of you are familiar with Carol Dweck’s wonderful work on mindsets. Brainpickings has one of the best summaries of her work.

One of the most basic beliefs we carry about ourselves, Dweck found in her research, has to do with how we view and inhabit what we consider to be our personality.

a fancy lecture hall

Classroom Design

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This is a very disheartening article. Sapna Cheryan at the University of Washington has spent the past several years looking at the design of classrooms and has found them inadequate for learning. All the way from kindergarten to university. There are many different deficiencies to choose from, but many of them are related to human factors and ergonomics issues. She has a TEDx talk here

a machine to score scantron forms

Student Evaluations of Teaching

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The typical student evaluations that occur in most college courses at the end of the semester are intended to be used as part of the professor’s performance appraisal. The instructions clearly state that students should not consider factors such as the contents of the course, the time classes are held, or how much they like the professor personally. And yet the validity of these instruments often falls down on the job…

two older adults sitting on a bench

Counterintuitive Findings on Aging: Cognitive Plasticity

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As far back as I can remember, the conventional wisdom about learning is that we lose cognitive plasticity as we age. Our mental schema become fixed and dominate our ability to learn new material. Anything that doesn’t fit what we already know is really hard to fit in and is often not remembered later.

But some recent findings (here and here) turn this assumption on its head.

What is Creativity Really?

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A recent study put jazz musicians into fMRI machines while they were riffing to see if they could get some insights into creativity.

In search of a better understanding of how the mind processes complex auditory stimuli such as music, Dr. Limb has been working with Dr. Allen Braun to look at the brains of improvising musicians and study what parts of the brain are involved when a musician is really in the groove…