Friday, August 22, 2014

electrical stimulation to enhance learning

Be very careful before you go messing around with your brain. Some studies that "show" improved learning appear also to reduce performance when that learning is actually to be applied. Hmm, look for "zero sum game" -- the data is so new and sparse it's hard to make any conclusions.   See the "brief chronicle" at the bottom.

from the Atlantic:
Prepare to Be Shocked
Four predictions about how brain stimulation will make us smarter
Alvaro Dominguez

Several years ago, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency got wind of a technique called transcranial direct-current stimulation, or tDCS, which promised something extraordinary: a way to increase people’s performance in various capacities, from motor skills (in the case of recovering stroke patients) to language learning, all by stimulating their brains with electrical current. The simplest tDCS rigs are little more than nine-volt batteries hooked up to sponges embedded with metal and taped to a person’s scalp.

It’s only a short logical jump from the preceding applications to other potential uses of tDCS. What if, say, soldiers could be trained faster by hooking their heads up to a battery?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

the other end of the connection

So we looked at learning.   Then there is the other end of the interaction:  yes - the teacher!  The teacher end of the teaching-learning linkage as it turns out, uses many of the same strategies as learning.  at the library

Building a better teacher : how teaching works (and how to teach it to everyone) / Elizabeth Green