A “Noisy” Problem: What If Research Contradicts Students’ Beliefs?

The invaluable Peps Mccrea recently wrote about a vexing problem in education: the “noisy relationship between teaching and learning.” In other words: I can’t really discern EXACTLY what parts of my teaching helped my students learn. Was it my content

The Goldilocks Map by Andrew Watson

The Goldilocks Map: A Classroom Teacher’s Quest to Evaluate ‘Brain-Based’ Teaching Advice is an entertaining and eye-opening conversation that seeks to help the reader develop a way of thinking that is sorely missing in today’s discourse around teaching and the

Teaching with Images: Worth the Effort?

According to Richard Mayer’s “multimedia principle,” People learn better from words and pictures than from words alone. If that’s true, then we should — obviously — be sure to include pictures in our teaching. However… Whenever we see a broad

Let’s Get Practical: How Fast Should Videos Be?

Research often operates at a highly abstract level. Psychologists and neuroscientists study cognitive “tasks” that stand in for school work. If we’re being honest, however, we often struggle to see the connection between the research task and actual classroom learning. HOWEVER…

The Benefits of Direct Instruction: Balancing Theory with Practice

When teachers hear that “research shows we should do X,” we have at least two broad questions: First Question: what’s the research? Second Question: what EXACTLY does X look like in the classroom? People who have the expertise to answer

The Best Kind of Practice for Students Depends on the Learning Goal

In some ways, teaching ought to be straightforward. Teachers introduce new material (by some method or another), and we have our students practice (by some method or another). Result: THEY (should) LEARN. Alas, both classroom experience and psychology/neuroscience research suggest

When Does Technology Distract Students? The Benefits of Research that Contradicts My Beliefs

I spoke with several hundred students last week about research-based study strategies. As always, students were fascinating to hear about psychology and neuroscience research: for instance, the benefits of retrieval practice. And, as always, they did not love my alarming

Learning Science for Instructional Designers by Clark Quinn

Learning Science for Instructional Designers: From Cognition to Application is a wonderful synthesis of the learning sciences for those who would like to engage in purposeful reflection and make design choices in their practice. Clark Quinn takes the perspective that

Why I Still Love Learning and the Brain Conferences

I attended my first Learning and the Brain in 2008; I believe the topic was “The Science of Attention.” Since then, I’ve attended at least two dozen: in New York, Chicago, Washington, San Francisco. Discussing Stress, and Memory, and Ethics,

Is “Cell Phone Addiction” Really a Thing?

I recently read a tweet asserting “the fact that cell phones are proven to be as addictive as drugs.” Of course, people casually use the word “addictive” about all sorts of things: chocolate, massages, pumpkin-spice lattes. (No doubt somewhere Twitter