education & tech

mLearning, teacher, scholar, social media

Education + Tech

Education & Tech, was created to build hope that education based on social technologies, can transform the new century, and enable abundance not only spiritually but economically. Milton Ramirez, Ed.D. - @tonnet is the founder & editor. He is a teacher, tech blogger, writes on education, and hails this blog from Union, NJ. For further questions, tips or concerns please e-mail him to:miltonramirez [at] educationandtech [dot] com

Teacher + Scholar

If you are a regular to Blog Education & Tech, you shall remember that I am a blogger and I'd written a post about education almost everyday since 2003. Education & Tech provides you with education news, expert tech advice, classroom management ideas, and social media tools for educators, administrators, parents and k-12 students.

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"I have a short memory"

I spent long hours reading almost everything from books, to websites, blogs, feeds, tweets, etc., but I have ever stopped to think what is going on in the brain of thousand of kids going to school.

On one of this mornings while preparing to go to school, my son was asked by his mom about something simple and easy to recall, I don't think is worth it to mention here, and my son answered: Mom, you know I have short memory. When we as parents know, he is smart enough and enjoys of good memory. After a few seconds, he replied: Oh, wait I remember that.

Multitasking Harms Memory

My son as many of the kids in this gaming generation think they can multitask. They believe themselves they can perform more than one task at time. It is not difficult to see them playing the Gameboy, using Facebook, texting on their cellphone and watching TV. But to me and to a dozen of experts, the 'I have short memory' has an explanation.

John Medina is a developmental molecular biologist, the director of the Talaris Research Institute, and one of the top experts on brain studies. He suggests multitasking is impossible for brain follows a four step process of the Executive Network, which delays and avoids full concentration. In his blog he writes: "The brain is a sequential processor, unable to pay attention to two things at the same time. Businesses and schools praise multitasking, but research clearly shows that it reduces productivity and increases mistakes."

In fact, we are multitasking everyday. Walk and sing, listen music and talk. But the multitasking here refers to new learning. Multitasking when performing certain tasks may be helpful, the bottom line is that if you listen to the radio while studying for a test, you end up needing the music to be recall what you learned.

A study performed back in 2006 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences, says tasks that distract you while you try to learn something new are likely to negatively affect your learning. In such study, multitasking didn't harm memory during the learning but appeared to make it more difficult to retrieve what was learned later, reason why my son was thinking he had a short memory.

Multitasking disrupts memory. That's the conclusion of the study. Researcher Russell Poldrack, PhD, co-author of the study and UCLA associate professor of psychology, said in this interview: "When distractions force you to pay less attention to what you are doing, you don't learn as well as if you had paid full attention,...Even if you learn while multitasking, that learning is less flexible and more specialized so you cannot retrieve the information as easily."

Hopefully, some empirical evidence regarding multitasking will cut through the myths about learning at school. Until then, make sure your son is paying attention to what he does, so he or she can retrieve what was learned later.

Remember I said walking and singing? That kind of tasks can be done at once , where brain does not have to move back every time to complete the Executive Network proposed by Medina.

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“Don’t blame teachers’ unions for our failing schools”

This is an interesting note I thought you might want to read. From the Flypaper:

    This most recent NPR Intelligence Squared podcast features two panels debating the motion “Don’t blame teachers’ unions for our failing schools” in an Oxford-style set-up. The audience starts out 24 percent in favor (as in, thinks unions should NOT be blamed), 43 percent against, and 33 undecided.

    Don’t miss this feisty debate that explores school “hell holes,” undesirable marriages and the obligatory assertion (sorry Rick Hess) “it’s for the kids.” Panelists include AFT president Randi Weingarten in favor, with former U.S. Education secretary Rod Paige opposed.

    Click here to go to the podcast and to see the how the audience voted in the end.

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'Chaos Theory' Applied to the Classroom

Being a math teacher this hypothesis really calls my attention. Viplav Baxi in one of his Meanderings sets this question: "The point that needs to be explored is whether learning is linear, deterministic and predictable or is it inherently non-linear, dynamic and unpredictable."

Baxi proposes his hypothesis based on JoAnn Trygestad's work, Chaos in the Classroom, where the expert discusses the possible impact of Chaos Theory on classroom learning and explores the relationship between chaotic systems and learning.

The abstract of Trygestad developments are posted on ERIC. Chaos in the Classroom: An Application of Chaos Theory:

A brief narrative description of the journal article, document, or resource. A review of studies on chaos theory suggests that some elements of the theory (systems, fractals, initial effects, and bifurcations) may be applied to classroom learning. Chaos theory considers learning holistic, constructive, and dynamic. Some researchers suggest that applying chaos theory to the classroom enhances learning by reinforcing systemic approaches to human interactions, encouraging cultural diversity as beneficial, and reaffirming theoretical notions of intelligence as dynamically multidimensional without linear progression. Other researchers believe that chaos theory cannot be applied to human learning systems; instead many of these researchers suggest social constructivism as a more appropriate model. The paper demonstrates applications of chaos theory using systems, fractals, initial effects, and bifurcations. A final section discusses models of learning, highlighting Piagetian theory and theoretical models. The paper concludes that more important than a model is the development of a perspective encompassing both the theory and its applications, and that researchers should explore the application of chaos theory to classroom learning before trying to construct a satisfactory mode

For those who has a basic understanding of the chaos philosophy, "chaotic systems may appear random and dynamically changing, but still exhibit an underlying pattern or order," concludes Baxi.

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