Neuroscience & the Classroom: Making Connections
Tools of Neuroscience: MRI/fMRI
Magnetic Resonance Imaging — Seeing inside the living brain.
Dr. John Gabrieli of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT explains the uses of MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), which reveals the structure and function of the brain, and of the fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging), which shows us the changes in the brain when we engage in any activity, from moving a hand to reading a word. The fMRI essentially gives us a picture of the mind flashing across the brain.
1.1 A Brief History of Neuroscience
Antonio Damasio, Kurt Fischer, Abigail Baird, and John Gabrieli take us on a brief historical journey from phrenology to Phineas Gage to the more complex neuron theory that has been derived from observing the living brain in action.
1.4 Reading a Word
As we read a word, MEG (Magnetoencephalography) reveals a complex chain of events across many parts of the brain.
1.5 Tools of Neuroscience: MEG
Magnetoencephalography — A new method of functional brain imaging with high resolution in both time and location.
1.6 Brooke’s story
Brooke Smith, who has only the right hemisphere of his brain, compensates for his differences in surprising ways.
1.7 Nico’s story
Nico Sainz-Trápaga, who has only the left hemisphere of his brain, has also compensated for his differences and is active in art and fencing.
1.8 A Tale of Two Cases: Brooke and Nico
As children, Nico and Brooke demonstrated the plasticity of the brain in the ways they process verbal language and intonation.
Unit 0 Introduction: The Art and Science of Teaching
The introduction lays out the goals of the course, defines a partnership between teachers and scientists, and suggests a method that teachers can use to apply research to classroom challenges.
unit 1 Different Brains
We all have different brains, different profiles of cognitive strengths and weaknesses that affect how we perceive and solve problems. Two dramatic success stories of boys missing half their brain provide insight into how all of us learn and suggest new ways to think about teaching.
unit 2 The Unity of Emotion, Thinking, and Learning
Emotion, thinking and learning are inseparable. Emotion is the rudder for thought and the key to memory. This unit explores the purposes of emotions by answering the questions, what is emotion, and why do we have it? The unit provides insight into motivation and the role of intuition in problem-solving.
unit 3 Seeing Others from the Self
We understand the goals of others by simulating their actions on our own neural systems. This unit looks at mirror neurons, empathy, and the social nature of learning. It also discusses the need to align teacher and student goals in the classroom and the importance of reflection, or inner-directed attention, in developing meaning and motivation.
unit 4 Different Learners, Different Minds
This unit challenges us to reconsider labels like "normal" and "disabled" by looking at the important connection between individual strengths and weaknesses and the context in which we must solve problems. Weakness in one context can be strength in another.
unit 5 Building New Neural Networks
Building new understandings or skills means building and rebuilding new neural networks. How that process occurs is the focus of this unit, which emphasizes the crucial link between performance and context and suggests that the traditional notion of learning as a linear development of isolated skills is misleading.
unit 6 Implications For Schools
This unit examines what some teachers have done to transform research principles into specific lessons and practices to improve student learning. Rather than suggesting that these illustrations are universally applicable to any school, the unit challenges educators to experiment by creating answers to their own questions.
unit 7 Conclusion: A Community of Educators
This unit discusses the Mind, Brain, and Education (MBE) movement that brings researchers and educators together so that research informs education and so that teachers' actual experiences in classrooms inform research. It explores the attitudes and conditions that create productive partnerships for meaningful change to occur.