NICHCY Connections...to Learning and the Brain (page 3)
Research on the human brain has brought an explosion of excitement and promise to our understanding of ourselves---how we think, how we learn, how the brain regulates activities and reacts to stimulation, and how we're the same and different, depending upon many, many aspects of the brain itself. As we discover more and more about the brain and its function, its responsibilities, and its organization, we hopefully can translate findings into educational programs, practices, and policies that take advantage of what we've learned in the laboratory and beyond.
Non-invasive technologies such as the CTScan and the MRI play a large part in our ability to peek inside the head and see what the brain is doing. When you look at a color, or hear a sound, or smell a favorite aroma, what part of the brain goes into action? When you're asked to do something complicated with language---or drive a car, or recognize a face---which part or parts of your brain come alive with electrical impulses? In fact, what are the different parts of the brain? With specific kinds of disability, how are these parts the same or different?
This A-Z Topics page connects you with resources of more information on this ever-developing story of brain research. It isn't intended to be exhaustive of the resources available. We'll be adding to this page as we learn of more, and as more become available. You may wish to check back every now and again to see what's new!
The ABCs of the Brain
- Brain basics: Know your brain.
NINDS offers this ten-page intro to the human brain, including information on how a healthy brain works, how to keep it healthy, and what happens when it is diseased or dysfunctional.
- Don't run away--come here if you need more brain background!
The Society for Neuroscience offers this online series of articles that answer basic neuroscience questions ---called Brain Backgrounders---for those of us just putting our first toe in these waters.
- The secret life of the brain.
This 2002 PBS series covers a lifetime of brain development, from infancy to old age. The series and the Web site use visual imagery and compelling human stories to help the audience understand the difficult underlying scientific concepts.
- Brain facts.
Brain Facts is a 52-page primer on the brain and nervous system, published by the Society for Neuroscience. It's intended as a starting point for a lay audience interested in neuroscience, and can be downloaded or ordered at the link above.
- Neuroscience for kids (and, frankly, probably most of us adults).
Can't plow through the way neuroscientists write their research articles and findings? Then Neuroscience for Kids is for you! It's an easy-to-read Web site that's been created for all students and teachers who would like to learn about the brain and the nervous system, neuroimagining and other techniques that neuroscientists use, and recent brain research of interest.
- More detailed brain basics.
For a detailed tutorial on the anatomy, physiology, & functionality of the central nervous system, visit the link above. Find out about the brain's part in hearing, seeing, moving, the nature of specific disorders, and much more.
- Brain connections: Your source guide to information on brain diseases and disorders.
Find a source of information about your area of interest in this up-to-date listing of leading national organizations related to brain diseases and disorders.
- The connection between the brain and the immune system.
A current concept in brain research is the rich interconnections between the nervous system and the body's disease-fighting system (known as the immune system). This research field is called neuroimmunology. Follow the link above to the 2004 Progress Report on Brain Research, which includes the latest on the way that knowledge about the nervous and immune systems can lead to discoveries about the following disorders that appear in childhood: autism, reading and dyslexia, mental retardation, and cerebral palsy.
What Learning Does to Your Brain
- Rethinking the Brain / Reconceptualización Del Cerebro
The National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies explains the importance of early life in brain development and how early experiences can have long-lasting effects. Parents, educators and child care providers can use this knowledge to intervene in ways that lead to better functional outcomes for children.
- Behavior matters: How research improves our lives.
La conducta sí importa: Cómo la investigación mejora nuestras vidas.
This publication, available in English and Spanish, presents some examples of how behavioral research has led to innovations in health, safety, education, or social interactions to improve our lives and how it can result in our living better, happier, healthier and in peace with each other. www.decadeofbehavior.org/BehaviorMattersBooklet.pdf (English) www.decadeofbehavior.org/BehaviorBookletEspanol.pdf (Spanish)
- How experiences rewire the brain.
Exciting new research using brain imaging methods allows researchers to demonstrate that experience can change brain functioning and connectivity. Of course, they were looking at the brains of mice...but what they found is telling.
- News from neuroscience.
The human brain and change structurally and functionally as a result of development, learning, and experience. The learning environment of schools and learning strategies used for instruction may then have lasting effects throughout life. News from the Neurosciences presents articles about environmental influences of brain development and the resulting implications for education.
- Brain briefings.
The Society for Neuroscience offers this series of two-page newsletters explaining how basic neuroscience discoveries lead to clinical applications. Find briefings on how the brain is affected by emotions, stress, gender, drugs, exercise, bliss, and other factors. Learn about brain mechanisms, the technologies of brain research, and what brain research is revealing about certain nervous system disorders and diseases.
- Neuroplasticity: A big term for an important trait of our brains.
What? Our brains are made of plastic? Nay. But the plasticity of our brains is an amazing attribute. Read all about it at the no-pain, easy-to-understand link above.
Applying Brain Research to Education
- Brain research and education: What's the Education Commission of the States have to say?
This Education Commission of the States' report highlights the need for change in education policy since recent research into early brain development conflicts with many common education practices and beliefs.
Bridging the gap between neuroscience and education. This paper summarizes a 1996 workshop where neuroscientists, cognitive psychologists, education researchers, education practitioners and policy makers met to examine the relevance of developments in neuroscience and cognitive psychology to education practices.
Follow this link, and you'll end up at ECS's "Education Issues" page. Use the drop-down menu to scroll to "Brain Research" and click on "Go to Issue." There, you can read quick facts, find out what the states are doing, connect with research and reading links, and be directed to other useful Web sites on brain research.
- How brain research can inform education.
This newsletter article for teachers highlights some relevant theories and findings from cognitive research and links them to classroom applications.
- From brain scan to lesson plan.
Neuroscientists are uncovering how the human brain learns, and will soon be able to translate that knowledge to the classroom. What's needed to make that leap? This American Psychological Association article takes a look.
- What brain research tells us about learner differences.
This chapter comes from a longer book entitled "Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age: Universal Design for Learning," available from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). The chapter is offered online as a sample from the book.
- Changing the way the brain functions through effective instruction.
A brain imaging study has shown that effective reading instruction not only improves reading ability, but actually changes the brain's functioning. As poor readers in this study progressed through an intensive reading instruction program, their brains began to function like the brains of good readers, showing increased activity in a part of the brain that recognizes words. Read Imaging Study Reveals Brain Function of Poor Readers Can Improve at the link above.
- Isn't it just good education?
"In Search of . . . Brain-Based Education," courtesy of Phi Delta Kappa International.
- Practical classroom applications of current brain research.
There are lots of ways to link current psychological and neurological research to education. Find out more at the link above.
- Teaching with the brain in mind---2005.
Eric Jensen wrote the book called Teaching with the Brain in Mind. He's back with a second edition in 2005. To read selected chapters online (such as "Meet Your Amazing Brain" and "Movement and Learning"), use the link above and enter "Jensen" in the search box. This new book will come up in the results list. If you follow the link given, you'll get a description of the book and, to the left, you can click to read the sample chapters and the study guide.
Reprinted with the permission of the National Dissemination Center.
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