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Fast ForWord123 rated highly by techlearning.com

Posted by Peter Barnes on June 29, 2017 at 4:31 PM

Peter Barnes

The neuroscience-based language & learning improvement program, Fast ForWord123 (including the Fast ForWord cognitive, language and reading development modules plus Reading Assistant, the online reading coach) was recently rated by techlearning.com.

Here is a summary of the techlearning.com rating:

OVERALL RATING:

Unique features and technology, sophisticated reporting, real-time feedback, interactive resources, and a broad range of reading passages in an intuitive and easy-to-use program all help teachers understand when and where students are struggling and help students gain the skills they need to be successful readers.

Suitability for Use in a School Environment: 

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Topics: Fast ForWord, For Principals, Fast ForWord123

Eyes Not Necessarily the Window to the Soul for People with Autism

Posted by Tilly Stevens on June 21, 2017 at 4:57 PM

Tilly Stevens

It is a common understanding that individuals with autism will not, or do not like to look others in the eye. This can be distressing and even hurtful to those who love and care for such individuals.

This tendency to avoid eye contact has led to the conception that people with ASD (autistic spectrum disorder) are ‘uncaring’ or can’t engage emotionally.

However new research shows that this may be a misconception. Those with ASD may be avoiding eye contact because it is physically uncomfortable to them, not because they do not want to engage with others.

Instead, it is likely that any lack of emotional development or understanding is actually a symptom of this discomfort. Autistic individuals often want (or need) to avoid eye contact and thereby may miss a lot of the emotional development encountered by reacting to facial expressions.  This then ‘stunts’ their emotional development and abilities.

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Topics: Autism

Spoon-feeding students – hand it out, or let them starve?

Posted by Tilly Stevens on June 8, 2017 at 1:32 PM

Tilly Stevens

This idea of “spoon-feeding; students gets kicked around a lot these days. But what really is meant by this phrase? Is it a bad thing and should we stop it? If so, how can we?

In an interview on The Learning Capacity Podcast, learning specialist Richard Andrew described spoon-feeding as:

“Any process which robs students of the opportunity to take responsibility for their own learning.”

According to Richard there are two types of spoon-feeding – explicit and implicit.

Explicit includes behaviour such as providing notes to students so they can “pass” an exam (here Richard really emphasises the idea of merely passing).

Implicit spoon-feeding includes the teacher-centered learning approach that many schools have in place. Through this, teachers teach to or ‘at’ students – “do what I do and know what I know” as Richard puts it.

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Topics: Teaching

Paying Attention: It's Harder Than You Think

Posted by Tilly Stevens on April 19, 2017 at 12:33 PM

Tilly Stevens

We might think this is a simple case of distraction. But attention is in fact a much more complex function than most people realise. Do you ever forget what you came into a room to get? Or, have you ever been listening to an audio book only to realise that you stopped paying attention several pages back?

The following article by speech language pathologist and neuroscience educator, Dr Martha Burns, explains attention and describes how we can improve it by specific types of training.  The article was first published in The Science of Learning Blog.

In fact, trying to figure out exactly what attention is, and why some children find it easier than others, especially in school, has been the focus of psychologists for years.  As adults, we realise that the ability to attend carefully to a task, ignore distractions and stick with it, is something that takes time for children to develop.

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Topics: Attention, Attention Deficit Disorder

Do Girls Really Have More Maths Anxiety than Boys?

Posted by Tilly Stevens on April 18, 2017 at 4:00 PM

Tilly Stevens

A recent study of 15-year-old students in 60 countries found girls tend to experience higher ‘maths anxiety’ than boys.

This seems to support the clichéd belief – boys are good at mathematics and sciences and girls are good at the more artistic subjects.

The study found the sexes are equal in mathematical capability. But girls have a negative emotional association with STEM subjects. And this holds females back, the study revealed. This results in fewer females than males taking maths programs at university. (STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).  

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Topics: Maths

Musical brains and where they can take your children in the future

Posted by Tilly Stevens on April 18, 2017 at 10:29 AM

Tilly Stevens

It turns out that musical training can change our brains. Learning a musical instrument can improve cognitive functions such as motor function, auditory processing, emotion and social skills. 

Researchers at Mexico City’s Hospital Infantil de México Federico Gómez found 23 children showed dramatic changes in brain function after 9 months training with percussion instruments. 

The musical training made physical changes in the students’ brains. The two hemispheres of the brain communicated better. And the overall functioning of the children’s brains improved. Not only the brain regions related to music.

The results of this study suggest scientists may be able to develop music-based programs to help children with ADHD or autism.

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Topics: Brain Science, Music

It Hurts to be Excluded - Educating with Neuroscience 2017 Conferences

Posted by Peter Barnes on April 12, 2017 at 10:02 AM

Peter Barnes

Do you know what it feels like to be discriminated against, to be excluded?

I hope you don’t, it’s not nice.

It happened to me recently.  A travel insurance company told me they would not renew the annual travel insurance policy I’d had for years.

The reason?  I’ve had a birthday.  I’m a year older, and they don’t insure people my age on that policy.

Every day in our schools some kids feel discriminated against, feel excluded.  Because they are different in some way from the group. They may be physically different. They might have learning challenges and can’t keep up with the rest of the class.

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Topics: Brain Science, Learning, Educational Neuroscience, Conferences

Fast ForWord Founder: Award for Contribution to Neuroscience

Posted by Tilly Stevens on April 10, 2017 at 5:48 PM

Tilly Stevens

Fast ForWord founder Dr. Michael Merzenich has been awarded the Charles L Branch Brain Health Award by the University of Texas for his extraordinary contribution to neuroscience. 

Last year Dr Merzenich was also given the highest honour possible in the field of neuroscience – The Kavli Prize. This saw him granted a gold medal by the King of Norway and a banquet in his honour in the same venue as the Nobel Peace Prize.  

Dr Merzenich’s discovery of lifelong brain plasticity revolutionised the neuroscience world.

Plasticity describes the brain’s ability to learn by creating new connections between neurons within the brain.

Originally, it was thought that brains were only ‘plastic’ during early childhood as the brain developed. But Dr Merzenich’s research proved brains could change and adapt well into adulthood.

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Topics: Brain Science, Fast ForWord

Improve Executive Function with Fast ForWord123 Exercises

Posted by Tilly Stevens on April 3, 2017 at 5:28 PM

Tilly Stevens

Your brain is an amazing organ. Countless studies, experiments and articles have shown us this. The complexities and inner-workings of this powerhouse are still yet to be fully explored. 

Have you ever stopped to think what controls your brain? What prevents it from becoming mere chaos?

Well, it’s called Executive Function, and you need to know about it.

What is Executive Function and why do we need it?

Executive Function acts like the ultimate synthesiser – the general, one might say. It encompasses a range of abilities many people think are merely part of day-to-day functioning. These include:

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Topics: Fast ForWord, Executive Function

Monkeys Don't Eat Salad: Educating with Neuroscience 2017 Conference

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 30, 2017 at 2:39 PM

Peter Barnes

A friend of mine lives in a community in the foothills of the Himalayas in India. High above a fast-flowing, snow-fed stream which feeds into the mighty Ganges river.
 
It’s a remote clearing in the jungle-clad mountains, teeming with monkeys.
 
The residents had a long trek down the mountainside to the village in the valley below to buy vegetables. The village vegetables were not always fresh. So they tried growing their own.
 
But the monkeys ate everything. 
 
Except for leafy green salad vegetables.
 
Monkeys don’t eat salad.

Read More

Topics: Brain Science, Educational Neuroscience, Conferences

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