Brain Science 101: What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Smarter

Brain neurons, get smarter, cognition, Imagine Learning In a 2011 Scientific American article, behavioral therapist Andrea Kuszewski reinforced a concept that continues to gain traction today–namely, that it’s possible to improve one’s native intelligence.

In the past, even respected scientists assumed that intelligence was purely genetic and unlikely to change over time.

Nowadays, neuroscientists and cognitive therapists recognize that fluid intelligence (e.g., the capacity to learn and process new information) is the reality.

More importantly, people can boost their fluid intelligence by improving their working memory. But how?

Five Principles

According to Kuszewski, you don’t have to be a genius to improve cognition. Even those with low IQs can grow in fluid intelligence. To quote the author, “what doesn’t kill you (will make) you smarter.” Read more »

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Represent, Act, Engage: How Universal Design for Learning Works

NAEYC Week of the Young Child 2016 Imagine Learning print concepts ABC song (space theme) from free the aliensPeeked inside a typical classroom lately? If so, you’re likely to see one teacher surrounded by an increasingly diverse group of students–each with unique learning needs.

What’s more, that ‘typical’ classroom is filled with students who are anything but typical.

Colombia activity, Imagine Learning EspañolFor one thing, there’s really no such thing as an average student.

Each class might contain students who struggle with reading or math, students who don’t yet speak English, and students with disabilities. On the other end of the spectrum are the gifted students who may need more challenges to stay engaged.

How on earth can one teacher meet the needs of all these diverse learners? Read more »

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Can Technology Stimulate Mental Development in Young Children?

A guest post by Dr. Eugene Emmer, medical entrepreneur and author

Imagine Learning now publishes monthly guest posts in order to stimulate conversations about K12 education across the country. Opinions expressed herein are those of the individual author and may not necessarily reflect the official opinion of Imagine Learning.

 

lab rat, enriched environment, brain research, learning, hippocampus, Imagine As a physiologist and parent, I have long been interested in the impact of early childhood education on the child’s developing brain.

Over the years, an increasing number of scientists have devoted lab research to brain development and function. Their findings are not only fascinating, they also show how important proper stimulation is for the developing brain.

For example, years ago I read an intriguing study that demonstrated a marked increase in hippocampal neurons in adult mice living in an enriched environment.

Basically, the study showed that young rats raised in a stimulating environment had better-developed brains than rats raised in unstimulating environments.

During this study, scientists raised two groups of rats. One group lived in an enriched environment that included toys, tunnels, wheels, and so on; the other group was raised in an empty cage with only food.

Scientists showed that the rats raised in the enriched environment developed more hippocampal neurons than the rats raised in an empty cage. The stimulating environment had developed each rat’s young brain much the same way that lifting weights develops muscle. Read more »

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How Do You Say Your Name? Thoughts on Student Identity

My Name My Identity, Imagine Learning blog, name pronunciation, classroom, teachers, educatorsA new boy shows up at school. As he walks through the classroom door, the teacher welcomes him by saying, “Tell us your name.”

The boy, who has just moved to America from the Philippines, announces his name as Banoy Pamatmat. Whereupon the teacher asks, “Could you repeat that?”

Welcome to an increasingly common scenario in today’s schools.

As more immigrants relocate to America, educators encounter a wider array of new names and faces. And many of those names are challenging to pronounce. Read more »

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The Truth About Game-Based Educational Software

Math-facts, game-based learning,, GSL, Big Brainz, Imagine Learning, math fluency

Math-fact gamification

Ask a typical educator about game-based learning and video games in school, and expect at least some skeptical responses.

Many educators and parents worry about gaming as an educational tool.

Research on the educational worth of video games has been mixed, and some educators point out the fact that most data come from short-term studies.

While research on educational software is still young, increasing evidence points to positive outcomes for today’s students—despite the prevalence of headlines linking video games to bad behavior or lukewarm learning outcomes.

According to James Gee, an education professor at Arizona State University, blaming all video games for poor results is like blaming all food for the existence of obese people.1 Read more »

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