Week 4

Week 4 Tasks 

One basic principle about the brain is that brains are wired differently.

Every brain is different partly because our experiences wire our brains differently.

What we do and learn in life physically changes what our brain looks like—it literally rewires it.

The various regions of the brain develop at different rates in different people.

No two people’s brains store the same information in the same way in the same place.

The single most important factor in learning is the existing networks of neurons in the learner’s brain.

What do we call the existing neuronal networks? PRIOR KNOWLEDGE.

Prior knowledge is physical. It builds as brains physically change and it is held in place by physical connections. 

 

We know that prior knowledge is the starting point for  the formation of new knowledge, that is, no new knowledge is built from scratch.

Prior knowledge is the beginning of new knowledge.

From a brain perspective, this means that the existing neuronal networks are very important for new learning to take place.

Task 1 – Dr. Medina’s Video

 

a. Watch this video by John Medina about schemas and experience yourself the importance of Prior Knowledge – it’s all about mental schemas and it’s influence on one’s learning processes and, also, future knowledge. Prior knowledge can shape how one memorizes and stores the informations!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mzbRpMlEHzM

Here is some more from John Medina and his book „The brain rules“ – fantastic videos about different aspects of the brain functioning:

http://www.youtube.com/user/brainrulesbook?feature=watch

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I’ll add that mental schemas are very important while learning! They function as organizators of the process of receiving informations. The way we’ll accept certain information literally depends on the schema that is engaged! Thus, two different people understand the same situation on different ways!

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Task 2 – The Present Perfect

 

In some languages (e.g. Portuguese and Spanish) there is no such verb tense as the Present Perfect.

Speculate, from a brain perspective, how easy or difficult for a Portuguese or Spanish adult learning English as a foreign language it might be to become fluent in the use of the Present Perfect and how you’d introduce the grammar point to the students, considering their lack of prior knowledge. 

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Here are my speculations:

  • It would be difficult becouse students have no such a schema related to the use of Present Perfect Tense! Here, in Serbia, people are also not familliar to this tense! 
  • What teacher could do? First of all, he could tell students that they will learn something totally new and strange to them, so that they would be prepeared to creat a new mental schema! The rule of making this kind of tense still means nothing to them – it’s a simple bunch of words!!
  • I suggest that techer could use many primers to show how Present Perfect „works“. This is, in cognitive  terms, inductive way of learning – from concrete primers towards abstractive rules! This will lead students to feel the implementation of new mental schema.
  • Further more, they could try to use Present Perfect on the primers of their own! This concludes both trying and making mistakes, but, maybe that is the best way to learn. Here in Serbia we use to say: The mistakes are the path towards learning!
  • Finally, they could be presented to the rule of making Present Perfect Tense again, and this time, the rule is something close to their experience and feelings!

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Task 3 – Temple Grandin

This is the story about authistic person who had very difficult childhood and schooling, but but managed to finish college and, finally, became a renowned expert both on autism and livestock! Her story is encouraging for parents of authistic children, but also attracted the attention of neurologists.

http://autism.about.com/od/whoswhoinautism/f/TempleGrandin.htm

and

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ww3bs7byotm16rt/TempleGrandin_Final.wmv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wt1IY3ffoU

– this one is an extraordinary video about authism, presented by Temple Grandin!

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I find her life story very interested. Here is what I found about similar person – Daniel Tamet, also authistic, with Asperger’s syndrome (he has an extraordinary abilities of synestheasia, memorizing numbers, learning new languages such as islandic, which is very hard for learning, in only a week, etc! In spite of this, he could never learn to drive a car, because of the lack of his spatial abilities!!)

Watch the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xd1gywPOibg&feature=related

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Conclutions from both primers are:

Learning about Temple Grandin’s life history helps us to understand that

 
>>> There’s not a single kind of intelligence. There are multiple intelligences;
>>> There’s not one single kind of creativity. We can be creative in a number of ways;

>>> Being handicap in some areas may allow the plasticity of the brain to emerge and to give us new capabilities that we might otherwise not have. 

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Task 4 – Learn about Cheryl’s Experience 

Link 1 How do you learn best?

Link 2 What makes it easy for your brain to learn?

Link 3 Choice in Projects

Link 4 Studying for tests

Link 5 What makes it hard for your brain to learn in school?

The videos are loaded at YouTube.com

Task 5 – Portfolio Entry – What have I learned this week

These are some suggested web-tools to fulfill this task:

 

Go! Animate Videos

Make Belief

Chogger

Storybird

Infogr.am

Easel.ly

Visual.ly

Mural.ly

Linoit

Glogster

I used Linoit and here is the result:

http://linoit.com/users/Simonida/canvases/The%20best%20way%20to%20learn

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