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The Learning Success Blog

The times are a-changin' (at school too): Bob Dylan, Nobel Laureate

Posted by Peter Barnes on January 2, 2020 at 12:03 PM

Peter Barnes

In 1964, Bob Dylan sang:

Come gather 'round people wherever you roam….for the times they are a-changin'

Do you know the song?

Bob Dylan received a Nobel prize for literature in 2016. It was for the lyrics he wrote, like “The Times They are –a-Changin”.

He was right about that way back in 1964.

And the times are still changing. Especially in education. That’s thanks to educational neuroscience. It’s changing education in ways we could not have imagined.

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Topics: Brain Science, Educational Neuroscience

Make Educational Neuroscience Work in Your School - 7 Tips

Posted by Peter Barnes on November 25, 2019 at 2:25 PM

Peter Barnes

Educators and schools around the world are increasingly using the knowledge, techniques, and programs developed from a new understanding of how our brains learn. They are applying neuroscience in their classrooms.

Why?

As an educator, you might be asking yourself why would I do this in my school?

Here are some reasons why. Educational neuroscience can:

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Topics: Brain Science, School, Learning Capacity, For Principals

Educational Neuroscience:  A Wave of Change for Teachers & Students

Posted by Peter Barnes on November 25, 2019 at 2:24 PM

Peter Barnes

Is educational neuroscience a legitimate area of knowledge which can help teachers and students, or is it mostly "neurobabble" as some articles in the Melbourne Age and in The Conversation have recently suggested?

The authors of both these articles correctly point out that there is an increasing amount of brain-based language in education discussions. And also that much of the 'brain' and 'neuro' language being used has little scientific basis.

But that does not mean all discussion of the role of neuroscience in education should be dismissed as useless "neurobabble". In fact educational neuroscience is now a recognised scientific discipline which is being studied in some of the world's leading universities including Stanford, Columbia and Vanderbilt in the USA and Cambridge University in the UK.

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Topics: Brain Science, Learning Capacity, Educational Neuroscience, For Principals

5 Essentials for Effective Neuroscience Learning Capacity Programs

Posted by Peter Barnes on November 18, 2019 at 5:12 PM

Peter Barnes

How do educators sort through the hype surrounding brain-based "neuroscience" learning programs?

Parents and educators have been seeing the benefits for students using well designed, research based brain training programs to improve their learning capacity. This has led more and more distributors of educational products to jump on the bandwagon and promote their products as "neuroscience based".

So if you have been noticing more advertisments, emails and other promotions using the terms "neuroscience" and "brain-based" as a basis for their products, how do you know what are valid claims and what is simple opportunistic use of these labels?

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Topics: Brain Science, Learning Capacity

Neuro-performance: Better Brains for Sport, Business and Learning

Posted by Peter Barnes on November 10, 2019 at 1:53 PM

Peter Barnes

According to Dr David Bach, a Harvard-trained scientist, physician and serial entrepreneur, the rapidly developing “neuro-performance” industry will change what we understand about the limits of human performance in sport, business and learning.

As a parent or teacher, why should you care about this?  And what is neuro-performance anyway?

Neuro-performance is the practice of improving brain function to achieve a higher level of human performance...including speed, strength, decision-making, learning, thinking and the ability to perform under pressure by training the brain so it’s messages are clear, accurate and fast.

It is now being used in elite sports and in business to enable participants to achieve greater levels of performance.

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Topics: Brain Science, Learning Capacity, Adult Brain Fitness, Neurotech Programs

Devon Barnes: 35 Years in the “Learning Difficulties Mindfield” .

Posted by Peter Barnes on August 9, 2019 at 3:53 PM

Peter Barnes

Learning difficulties are based in the mind, or more specifically in the brain, according to speech pathologist and learning difficulties specialist Devon Barnes. She has been working for the past 35 years with children who have a wide range of learning challenges.

In an discussion with learning support teacher Moya Gibb-Smith, Devon describes the challenges for parents in what she calls the "Learning Difficulties Mindfield". And gives some advice on how to sort the hype from reality when parents are trying to decide how to help their child.

What's the first thing a parent should do it they are concerned their child may have a learning difficulty?  Speak to the child's teacher, says Devon.

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Topics: Learning Difficulties, Brain Science

Rebuilding a Brain after Chronic Inflammation: Sarah Rasborsek's Story

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 17, 2019 at 1:03 PM

Peter Barnes

Can you imagine what it would be like to suddenly forget your past, to have pounding headaches, dizziness and tremors?

To be unable to find words when you wanted to speak?      

To experience an extreme loss of energy, have your blood pressure drop dangerously low, and find yourself uncomfortably sensitive to sounds and sunlight?  

And to feel that as well as having no past, you have no future? 

Sarah Rasborsek did.  She experienced all that and more when she "fried her brain" and suffered chronic brain inflammation during a triathlon on Queensland's Gold Coast in January 2018.

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Topics: Brain Science, Learning Capacity

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

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