adolescent brain

Surprise: The Adolescent Brain Isn’t Broken

Chapter 2 of Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain kicks off with a teenager’s diary entry from April of 1969: I went to arts centre (by myself!) in yellow cords and blouse. Ian was there but he

retrieval practice limitations

The Limits of Retrieval Practice, Take II…

Just two weeks ago, I posted about a study showing potential boundary conditions for retrieval practice: one of the most robustly supported classroom strategies for enhancing long-term memories. As luck would have it, the authors of that study wrote up their


This Is Your Amygdala on a Cliff…

If you’ve seen the documentary Free Solo, you know about Alex Honnold’s extraordinary attempt to climb a 3000 foot sheer rock face. Without ropes. Without protective gear of any kind. And without, it seems, a typically functioning amygdala. Free Solo briefly

handwritten notes

Ask a Simple Question, Get an Oversimplified Answer

Handwritten notes might help students who review them, but laptop notes seem to help those who don’t. In brief: even simple questions have complex answers. Continue reading

math teaching

Evaluating the Best Classroom Practices for Teaching Math

Analyzing TIMSS data, researchers draw tentative conclusions about math teaching: memorizing formulas & hearing lectures vs. applying math to “real life.” Continue reading

media multitasking

Does Media Multitasking Really Interfere with Student Thinking?

To many teachers, it just seems obvious: all that screen times MUST be bad for student brains. To many other teachers, it just seems obvious: technology will unleash academic possibilities and revolutionize education. So, which is it? Does media multitasking

Avoiding Extremes: Common Sense in the Middle

Teachers feel passionate about our work. As a result, we can advocate exuberantly — occasionally too exuberantly? — for a particular position. Advocates for (or against) Social-Emotional Learning can make zealous claims for their beliefs. Same for PBL, or direct

The Limits of Retrieval Practice: A Helpful Case Study

Here on the blog, I write A LOT about the benefits of “retrieval practice.” (For example: here and here.) In brief: our students often review by trying to put information into their brains. That is: they “go over” the material. However,

Life Without Memory: Your Hippocampus and You

Who are you without your memory? In neurobiological lingo: who are you without your hippocampus? The Best-Known Answer No doubt you’ve heard of Henry Molaison, aka H. M., whose hippocampi were removed in order to cure debilitating epilepsy. The good

Environmental Consequences of Ed Tech

Neil Selwin argues, dramatically, that “EdTech is Killing Us All.” His point is not that technology is bad for learning, but that it’s bad for the environment. As we think about the educational work we do, we should keep this