Executive Function: What Is It, Why Does It Matter, and How Can You Support Building This Skill? — from blog.edmentum.com by Madison Michell

Excerpt:

What is executive function?
Executive function (EF) skills are the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and manage multiple tasks successfully. In simpler terms, executive function skills are the air traffic control system of the brain. They help us filter distraction, prioritize tasks, set and achieve goals, and control impulses.

Executive function consists of three distinct, but related, dimensions, including…

Along these lines, also see:

 

Better Questions in the Classroom Lead Students to Think Harder—and Learn Deeper — from edsurge.com by Staci Bradbury and Rebekah Berlin

Excerpt:

The takeaway here is that teachers should ask questions and design tasks that require students to engage in effortful thinking. This “teacher action,” as we like to call it, is one of the ways in which Deans for Impact has operationalized the vast body of research about how people learn in a way that teachers can use.

Also see:

Before providing evidence to support that claim, a quick recap of our organizational journey. Two years ago, we launched the Learning by Scientific Design (LbSD) Network to begin the vital—albeit challenging—work of redesigning how teachers are prepared. This effort is informed by principles of learning science and taking place in what is now a network of 10 educator-preparation programs across the country. More than 70 faculty are working with us to change the arc of experiences that teacher-candidates receive as they prepare to become teachers.

 

No, it doesn’t need to be a Zoom — from wired.com by Chris Stokel-Walker
We’re wasting hours of our lives on inefficient video calls. Here’s how to decide when you should jump on a Zoom – and when not to

Excerpt:

Academic research has pinpointed four reasons why we’re growing sick of video calls. For one thing, we’re engaged in an unnaturally large amount of eye contact, which can prove exhausting, according to Jeremy Bailenson professor at Stanford University and founding director of the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab. We’re also stressed out by being confronted with our own face for hours on end (even if you can’t stop staring at it). Bailenson compares it to be followed around with a mirror all day.

From DSC:
What comes to my mind here is that videoconferencing — and meeting in general — requires mental work — and thus energy. Why? Because, as I mentioned in this posting, we are constantly processing auditory and visual channels. 

 

What is cognitive load? And why should I care about it?
What is cognitive load? And why should I care about it?

Transcript here.

 

From DSC:
So having to process auditory and visual information hour after hour takes major energy! And some presentations/presenters require a lot more energy than others.

Having to process auditory and visual information hour after hour takes major energy!

 

watching a presentation by Steve Jobs requires a lot less auditory and visual processing

 

 
 

ADDitude: Resources for families touched by attention deficit disorder (ADD/ADHD).

ADDitude: Resources for families touched by attention deficit disorder (ADD/ADHD)

Example article:

“I’m a Teacher with Nonverbal Learning Disorder. And I’m Exactly Who I Needed As a Child.” — from additudemag.com by Brittany Kramer
“I strive to create a classroom environment where my students know they will be successful, no matter what. It’s the environment I would have felt safe in as a child; one that is encouraging, warm, and free of judgment or anger.”

Excerpt:

“They tried to bury me, but they didn’t know that I was a seed.”

As a special education teacher for students with learning disabilities and developmental disorders, and as a neurodivergent individual myself, this quote defines my life.

I was formally diagnosed with Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) at 23 years old. As a child and teen, I struggled in ways that most people cannot possibly comprehend.

When people think of learning disabilities, they picture a child with dyslexia or dysgraphia who cannot read or write very well. They do not envision an intelligent and articulate child for whom tying shoes or making a paper fit into a folder is arduous at best.

 

9 BIG Questions Schools Must Answer to Avoid Going “Back to Normal” (*Because “Normal” Wasn’t That Great to Begin With) — from bigquestions.institute

Excerpt from email/e-newsletter (dated 1/27/21)

As we start to emerge from this dark moment, individuals and institutions need to be asking two important questions Given the trauma of the last 12 months, who are we now? And now that so much has changed about the world, who do we want to become?

Reflecting on those questions is especially important for educators. The “old normal” of schools is not coming back, nor should we want it to. Instead, this is an incredible opportunity to reset, to redefine our work.

To that end, we’ve written a new, free ebook9 Questions Schools Must Answer to Avoid Going Back to Normal (*Because Normal Wasn’t That Great to Begin With). Rather than innovate our way forward, Homa and I believe this is a moment to interrogate deeply the foundations of our work with children. That starts with a willingness to answer some big questions upon which we build our collective futures.

Q1: What is Sacred?  

Q2: What is Learning?  

Q3: Where is the Power?  

Q4: Why do we _________? 

Q5: Who is Unheard?  

Q6: Are we Literate? 

Q7: Are we OK?  

Q8: Are we Connected? 

Q9: What’s Next? 

“Real change will require us to leave many of our old ideas about school behind.”

From DSC:
We must figure out better ways to get away from creating game-players to developing curious, passionate learners instead. Even in law schools, points and grades are still used as the currency to get students to do some things. Holy smokes!  That pull/embedded behavior is a strong undercurrent even for adults learning about new things.

Students need to see their faculty members and/or teachers as people who ARE ON THEIR TEAM. Not an adversarial, controlling relationship. But one wherein the teacher or the professor is trying to help that person develop into a better, ___, ___, or ____.

I love the suggestion mentioned in the “Towards a new normal” on page 23 that says…

“Instead of ‘students’ and ‘teachers,’ refer to everyone in the school as ‘learners.'”


#behaviorism #learning #education #educationreform #K12 #lawschools and more.


Learning channels of the future will offer More choice. More control. Daniel Christian

 

Interleaving: How Mixed Practice Can Boost Learning— from effectiviology.com

Excerpt:

Interleaving is a learning technique that involves mixing together different topics or forms of practice, in order to facilitate learning. For example, if a student uses interleaving while preparing for an exam, they can mix up different types of questions, rather than study only one type of question at a time.

Interleaving, which is sometimes referred to as mixed practice or varied practice, is contrasted with blocked practice (sometimes referred to as specific practice), which involves focusing on only a single topic or form of practice at a time.

Also see:

 Also see:

Excerpts:

Interleaving boosts learning by mixing up closely related topics, encouraging discrimination between similarities and differences. (Agarwal & Bain, p. 14)

It’s “re-arranging the order of retrieval opportunities during spacing without changing the content to be learned.”  It’s mixing up concepts. (Agarwal & Bain, pgs. 106-107).

Consider this basic example of practice problems in any math course:

Problem Set 1: AAAA BBBB CCCC DDDD [i.e., blocked practice]
Problem Set 2: ABCD BCAD DBAC CBDA [i.e., interleaved practice]

Both have the same practice problems, but they’ve been re-arranged. If letters represented addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, the students need to be able to choose and retrieve the appropriate strategy — vs. plug-and-chug without thinking about which strategy to use.

Also see:
retrievalpractice.org/interleaving

 

 

The most fundamental skill: Intentional learning and the career advantage — from mckinsey.com by Lisa Christensen, Jake Gittleson, and Matt Smith
Learning itself is a skill. Unlocking the mindsets and skills to develop it can boost personal and professional lives and deliver a competitive edge.

Excerpt:

This article, supported by research and our decades of experience working as talent and learning professionals, explores the core mindsets and skills of effective learners. People who master these mindsets and skills become what we call intentional learners: possessors of what we believe might be the most fundamental skill for professionals to cultivate in the coming decades. In the process they will unlock tremendous value both for themselves and for those they manage in the organizations where they work.

Our ability to reflect is threatened on many fronts. Being overscheduled, overworked, and overloaded affects our ability to pause and assess our circumstances and performance. But the noisier the world around us, the greater the need for dedicated reflection time. Intentional learners not only engage in reflection but also, in many cases, ritualize it. They create consistent and predictable patterns, both for when they will reflect and what they will think about. They establish strategies for capturing these thoughts and referring back to them often. By relying on ritual, learners reduce the number of decisions associated with reflection (for example, when, what, and how), so it becomes easier to return to the practice repeatedly.

From DSC:
That last quote (re: taking the time to reflect and to think about one’s thinking) brought the power of learning journals to my mind.

 
 

From DSC:
Many people talk about engagement when they discuss learning, and with good reason. It seems to me that what they are really getting at is the topic of getting and maintaining someone’s *attention.* Attention is the gatekeeper to further learning. I wonder if some of the next generation learning platforms that employ some level of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled features, will look to a learner’s preferences (as stored in their cloud-based learner’s profile) in order to help gain/maintain such attention.

And this also helps explain why allowing more learner agency — i.e., more choice, more control — in pursuing their own interests and passions really helps: A motivated learner is paying closer attention to what’s going on.

 

Attention is the gatekeeper to further learning.

 

 

From DSC:
And along these lines, that’s one of the key reasons I’d like to see more involvement from the Theatre Departments, Computer Science Departments, and from those involved with creative writing across the land — in terms of helping develop content for remote and online-based education. Actors, actresses, set designers, costumer designers, audio/video editors, programmers/software developers, and more who could collaborate on these kinds of ideas.

Last comment on this. I don’t mean that we should present our classes like many advertisements do (i.e., running a thousand images by me within 30 seconds). But changing things up periodically — both visually and audibly —  can help regain/reset your students’ attentions.

 

Pay attention! Attention is a necessary condition for learning experience design, but poorly understood… — from donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.com by Donald Clark

Excerpts:

Attention is to selectively focus your mind and effort on that which has to be learned. Attention matters as it is what manages new data that has to be processed in working memory. Focused attention narrows down input from sensory memory and your recall knowledge from long-term memory. At any moment in time attention is what determines what is processed. We must always be aware that attention is the bottleneck through which everything must go in learning, first into working memory, then if you successfully learn, into long-term memory. The selective nature of attention is what regulates and limits cognitive overload.

So, over a century of research has shown that attention is not one thing but a very complex phenomena. We select inputs, interpretations of those inputs, then select plans of action and actions themselves. Attention is tied up with motivation, interest, feelings and ultimately action. It is the basecamp for understanding how learning experiences should be designed.

 

From DSC:
Interest…motivation…this is why I’m a big fan of offering learners more choice. More control.

 

Transfer – why is it ignored? Here’s how to fix it… — from donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.com by Donald Clark

Excerpt:

You must design with transfer in mind and blends or learning journeys must move learning forward towards action, towards doing, towards practice and performance. No matter how much training you deliver, it can be illusory in the sense of not leading to transfer from cognitive change to actual performance, which in turn has impact on the organisation.

Doing and Practice are experiences. In fact without doing or practice it is unlikely to be retained long-term. Your design must move from experiences that match whatever type of learning you need, cognitive, psychomotor and affective, but practice and application experiences also matter. Your design should provide transfer pathways towards mastery, through actual doing and practice in the formal learning as well as practice and extension activities beyond the initial learning experiences.

 

[Re: online-based learning] The Ford Model T from 1910 didn’t start out looking like a Maserati Gran Turismo from 2021! [Christian]

From DSC:
Per Wikipedia, this is a 1910 Model T that was photographed in Salt Lake City:

The Ford Model T didn't start out looking like a Maserati from 2021!

 

This is what online/virtual learning looks like further down the road. Our journey has just begun.

From DSC:
The Ford Model T didn’t start out looking like a Maserati Gran Turismo from 2021! Inventions take time to develop…to be improved…for new and further innovations and experiments to take place.

Thinking of this in terms of online-based learning, please don’t think we’ve reached the end of the road for online-based learning. 

The truth is, we’ve barely begun our journey.

 


Two last thoughts here


1 ) It took *teams* of people to get us to the point of producing a Maserati like this. It will take *teams* of people to produce the Maserati of online-based learning.

2) In terms of online-based learning, it’s hard to say how close to the Maserati that we have come because I/we don’t know how far things will go. But this I do know: We have come a looooonnnnnggggg ways from the late 1990s! If that’s what happened in the last 20 years — with many denying the value of online-based learning — what might the next 5, 10, or 20 years look like when further interest, needs, investments, etc. are added? Then add to all of that the momentum from emerging technologies like 5G, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, bots, algorithms, and more!


From DSC:
To drive the point home, here’s an addendum on late 9/29/20:

Mercedes-Benz Shares Video of Avatar Electric Car Prototype

 

How to Engage Students (and Identify Them) — from thejournal.com by Dian Schaffhauser

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

“The lessons that created the most engaging experiences for students often were a combination of opportunities that encouraged discussion, gave students learning choices and allowed students to create. These elements are immensely transferable both in the online and in-person classroom and can facilitate a positive learning environment, whether in a synchronous or asynchronous setting.”

The report is available with an email address through the GoGuardian website.

Go Guardian's 2020: State of Engagement Report

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian