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How to Evaluate Conflicting Research About Educational Programs

Posted by David Stanley on July 7, 2021 at 2:32 PM

David Stanley

I heard from a school about the great results they are getting from a neuroscience program.  Then one of my staff pointed out a meta analysis that is critical of the program. I can’t understand why supposedly gold standard research - a meta analysis - is saying something totally different from what I hear is happening in other schools.” 

That’s what a school principal said to us.

She understood the value of educational neuroscience and was considering whether to use the Fast ForWord neuroscience program in her school to assist teachers to help improve students' learning and reading abilities.

The meta analysis was published in 2010, using research from the previous decade. The authors, Strong et al, selected 5 of 79 published studies they had found on Fast ForWord.

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Topics: Fast ForWord, Educational Neuroscience

It’s the Law: Every Child Must Read at Grade Level by Year 3

Posted by Moya Gibb-Smith on August 3, 2020 at 2:12 PM

Something had to be done!

So, with a vote of 92-3 the Alabama state parliament enacted the Alabama Literacy Act beginning in 2020 to ensure that every child was reading at grade level by Year 3.

They nominated a task force to recommend a comprehensive core reading program and assessments to be used by local schools and that job fell to Tim Solley.

Solley is a kindly, bespectacled, grey-haired man who looks like he could be your kid’s soccer coach. In fact, he is a leading educational advocate and the Assistant Superintendent of the Madison School District which comprises 17 different schools.

Solley takes up the story:

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Topics: School, Fast ForWord, Learning Capacity Success Stories, Educational Neuroscience, Teaching

Educational Neuroscience:  A Wave of Change for Teachers & Students

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 2, 2020 at 1:25 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

When did you finish school? Does it matter for your brain?

Posted by Peter Barnes on January 20, 2020 at 2:50 PM

Peter Barnes

Did you finish school last year?  Last decade?  Last century?

Does it matter when? 

It might, if you want to keep your brain sharp and agile.

It’s unlikely you completed school last year. Most readers of this blog are older than that. You might have finished in the 2000’s. Or last century -  in the 1990’s, 1980’s, 1970’s or even earlier (like me!).

You learnt new things almost every day when you were in school.  Your brain was very active, building new neural pathways and strengthening existing ones.

If you finished school last decade or last century, it is likely you haven’t been learning new things nearly every day since then, and it’s the new things, the novel things, are best for keeping your brain sharp.

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Topics: Attention, Educational Neuroscience

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

Evolution of Educational Neuroscience Technology in 21st Century

Posted by Peter Barnes on May 16, 2019 at 2:37 PM

Peter Barnes

What's changed in educational neuroscience technology this century?

How has neuroscience research and the development of technology impacted the tools educators have to improve learning outcomes for all students?

Recently I was interviewed on a podcast produced by Sentral, providers of proven web-based student management software.

The discussion focussed on how educational neuroscience and technology had changed in the last two decades, from the turn of the century in the year 2000, until now, almost 20 years later.

And it covered a wide sweep of topics as well - from how students are learning English in China with the help of educational neuroscience programs to some thoughts about cost versus value in educational decision making.

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Topics: Podcasts, Educational Neuroscience

Educator Evidence Based Decisions Survey 2017: Teachers Trust Teachers

Posted by David Stanley on December 11, 2017 at 3:41 PM

David Stanley

During Semester 2, 2017, educators from Australia and New Zealand participated in a survey to explore how they make decisions about sourcing teaching materials, programs, technology and pedagogy.

This was inspired after an approach by Dr Tanya Vaughan to speak to attendees of the Educating with Neuroscience Conferences in Australia and New Zealand in August about the “Evidence for Learning Toolkit”.

Just how important is evidence in educators’ decision making? The survey also explored the types of evidence and how much was “enough” …

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Topics: Educational Neuroscience

Educating with Neuroscience 2017 Conference Series expands to Asia

Posted by Peter Barnes on September 6, 2017 at 9:48 AM

Peter Barnes

The premier educational neuroscience conference in Australia & New Zealand, ENS2017, is expanding to Asia following well attended events in Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland in August this year. 

Principals, school administrators, teachers and other education leaders from Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand will be able to attend the Educating with Neuroscience 2017 Conference Asia (ENS2017 ASIA) in November.

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Topics: Fast ForWord, Learning Capacity, Educational Neuroscience, Teaching, Conferences

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 Capacity, Educational Neuroscience, Conferences

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.

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Topics: Brain Science, Educational Neuroscience, Conferences

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