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Neuroscience & the Classroom: Making Connections

This video course for K-12 educators acquaints teachers with current neuroscience research that they can apply in their own classrooms.

 

A video course for grades K-12 teachers and school counselors. 42 video modules of varying lengths, course guide, online text and website.

Exciting developments in the field of neuroscience are leading to a new understanding of how the brain works that is beginning to transform teaching in the classroom. Neuroscience & the Classroom: Making Connections brings together researchers and educators in a dialog about how insights into brain function can be harnessed by teachers for use in their own classrooms to address their own particular challenges. Course components include 42 video segments interwoven with an online text and other useful resources on a comprehensive Web site. The web also includes interactive simulations of neuroscience research tools, glossary, and course guide for teachers to use all the materials for sustained professional development. (NOTE: Interactives no longer function due to Flash discontinuation.)

Insights drawn from neuroscience not only provide educators with a scientific basis for understanding some of the best practices in teaching, but also offer a new lens through which to look at the problems teachers grapple with every day. By gaining insights into how the brain works—and how students actually learn—teachers will be able to create their own solutions to the classroom challenges they face and improve their practice.

About This Course

Course Goals

Exciting new developments in the field of neuroscience are leading to a new understanding of how the brain works that is beginning to transform how we teach in the classroom. Teachers are aware of these developments and are hungry for information that they can apply to their practice. One of the central goals of Neuroscience & the Classroom: Making Connections is to help teachers learn to use research to create their own solutions to their particular classroom challenges. Another important goal is to provide new and useful metaphors that we all can use to describe teaching and learning and that are grounded in modern neuroscience. Through this course, teachers learn to think critically about the field of Mind, Brain, and Education and thus learn to be informed consumers of information about brain science, better able to separate science from myth and misinterpretation.

Course Audience

Neuroscience & the Classroom: Making Connections was designed for K–12 teachers, other educators, researchers, and adult learners who want to learn more about current issues in education. College or graduate students—especially those considering careers in education—will find this course useful. We welcome their use of these materials.

Course Components

Neuroscience & the Classroom: Making Connections is a self-contained distance-learning course distributed free of charge on the Web. The course is designed by Kurt Fischer, director of the Mind, Brain, and Education Program at Harvard University Graduate School of Education; Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, assistant professor of education at the Rossier School of Education and assistant professor of psychology at the Brain and Creativity Institute, University of Southern California; and Matthew H. Schneps, George E. Burch Fellow in Theoretic Medicine and Affiliated Sciences at the Smithsonian Institution and director of the Laboratory for Visual Learning at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA).

The multimedia course consists of six units, with an introduction and a conclusion. Each unit contains many integrated videos and sidebars of additional information, as well as a list of resources. The website provides access to all the course components, plus additional materials, which include:

  • Two Interactive Lab Activities
  • Visuals: A Compilation of Images Used in the Units
  • A Course Guide
  • A Glossary
  • Three Site-wide Search Features: Traditional, Visual (Dynamic Content Map), and by “Top Teaching Issues”
  • Teacher Talk: A Moderated Discussion List

How to Use This Course

The materials are designed for various uses. Some individuals may want to learn about a single topic and study parts of one unit on their own. Some may want to join facilitator-led groups, such as professional development workshops or in-service sessions. Information on how to use these materials to facilitate a professional development workshop is available in the PDF downloadable Course Guide.

Each unit of the course is composed of text with integrated videos, visuals, and sidebars. However, each component of the course is also designed to stand alone. You do not need to use all of the materials or access them in any particular order. If you are interested in a particular topic, you can jump in at your point of interest. Users can search the site for topics of interest in three ways: a traditional key word search, a visual search engine (Dynamic Content Map), and by “Top Teaching Issues.” Users are also encouraged to “chat” with other participants by utilizing the Teacher Talk section of the site. For the fullest experience with all the components, use the Course Guide to set learning goals and to explore your understanding of the course concepts.

Neuroscience & the Classroom: Making Connections is available beginning in the fall of 2011. You may watch the videos free on demand via broadband streaming at www.beta.learner.org, with Course Guides available as downloadable PDFs on this website, or you may purchase DVDs and Course Guides from the Annenberg Learner online catalog.

Introduction

Neuroscience & the Classroom: Making Connections consists of six units, with an introduction and a conclusion. Each unit contains many integrated videos—more than 40 in total—and sidebars of additional information, as well as a list of resources. Additionally, there are two interactive lab activities that give users a flavor of what it is like to participate in a neuroscience experiment. Participants are encouraged to “talk to each other” through the Teacher Talk portal—a moderated discussion board where teachers can post messages about course concepts and how they can be applied to classroom practices. A Course Guide, with discussion questions and exercises, is provided in a downloadable PDF document.

Website

In keeping with the philosophy of learning being advocated in the course, the Neuroscience & the Classroom: Making Connections website allows individuals access to content from a variety of directions. The main content is delivered through an online textbook, which includes embedded links to videos, sidebars, visuals, graphics, and glossary terms. Users can navigate the course in a traditional manner, approaching the text one unit at a time and working their way through the content systematically. However, each component of the course is also designed to stand alone. You do not need to use all of the materials or access the materials in any particular order. If you are interested in a particular topic, you can jump in at your point of interest. Users can search the site for topics of interest in three ways: a traditional key word search, a visual search (Dynamic Content Map), and by “Top Teaching Issues.”

 

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