Here is a blog post about 12 TED talks on understanding the brain. This blog is not necessarily related to brain function and the link between learning, but incredibly interesting.

TED Blog

Read Montague is interested in the human dopamine system — or, as he puts it in this illuminating talk from TEDGlobal 2012, that which makes us “chase sex, food and salt” and therefore survive.

Specifically, Montague and his team at the Roanoke Brain Study are interested in how dopamine and valuation systems work when two human beings interact with each other. Twenty years ago, studying a topic like this was all but impossible because scientists relied on worms and rodents for insight into the brain. But today, in addition to animal research, neurobiologists have at their disposal functional MRI (fMRI), which allows them to make “microscopic blood flow movies” and map the activity of human brains in action.

“We have a behavioral superpower in our brain and it at least in part involves dopamine,” says Montague in this talk. “We can deny any instinct we have for survival…

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Case Study: UNCC SOA Graduate Lounge

UNC-Charlotte’s School of Architecture building has a graduate student lounge where students can work at any point during the day.  The author as well as other members of this studio, often frequent this space to work during the school day.  I was curious to know what it is about this small space that makes it a haven for productivity on campus considering it’s minimal size.  In discussing the location with other students it has become a “hotel” of sorts for grad students who have their studios at the Center City Building in Uptown Charlotte.  Part of the success of this room is the potential to minimize mechanical lighting.  One of the greatest limitations is it is difficult to move the furniture.  The “comfy” chairs are incredibly heavy and the unused bookcase takes up an entire wall.  The students would prefer more flexible furniture and something of a chalk wall to work out design ideas for others to see and comment.  To see more click here:

Grad Lounge

Learning and the Brain

Jacqui and I researched books that discussed learning and the brain.  Our presentations were formatted using MindMaps, but we never determined how to get the interactive version of this data on the blog.  Below is the textual information from our research with the website links.  It will open as a word document.  We are hoping to figure out how to get our information up here either on a prezi site or other method.

Learning and Brain Textual Data with Links Embed

Thanks,

Jacqui and Christina

High Tech High Analysis

High Tech High is a charter school in California that was founded in 2001 by a collaboration of professionals and teachers.  The school’s teaching method is based off the theory that a student learns more through experience than regular lecturing.  Collaboration is a key core concept of the school’s philosophy.  Collaboration between students, although incredibly valuable, is not the only means for learning transfer; collaboration between the community and the school is crucial.  Not only does the school pride itself on how it teaches students, but it also values educating its teachers.  For more information check out the presentation: HighTechHigh

School’s Website: http://www.hightechhigh.org

Online Portfolio: http://www.whatkidscando.org/archives/portfoliosmallschools/HTH/portfolios.html

Architect’s Website: http://www.studioearchitects.com/#!__hth-chula-vista

Learning Environments and the Role of Neuroscience

Learning Environments and the Role of Neuroscience

Topic: Traditional Learning Environments

Argument: Traditional Learning Environments lack means to engage students

Current learning environments are insufficient because they lack ways of engaging their students. The model of having a teacher lecturing towards a large class for hours at time is flawed because there is minimal interaction with the other senses. Studying neuroscience determines connections between engaging multiple senses and its impact on memory, as well as suggests methods for how to modify classroom environments to support different learning styles. While modifying the physical environment is important, it is equally important to re-teach our teachers. Taking High Tech High as a precedent for a successful model of engaging learning and educating their teaching staff, can this model be scaled up and adapted to larger public school systems?

Learning Theory or Theorist

At the beginning of the semester, we were asked to research either a learning theory or a learning theorist.  While several groups researched theory, we chose to look at a particular theorist.  B. F. Skinner was a behavioral psychologist who developed a theory that influenced modern American schools.  To learn more please read the full presentation:  Learning Theorist B. F. Skinner.