Sunday, 31 October 2010

Chalk is much more interactive than an interactive whiteboard

I've just read about a high tech classroom complete with interactive whiteboards which has been upstaged by good old fashioned chalk. The classroom was designed for an education conference in Bahrain and was designed to show the best in cutting edge technology. As can happen with situations like this, the technology failed.

According to TES the star of the show was Ewan McIntosh, an expert in digital media from Edinburgh, who covered a wall with chalk notes and doodles.

Ewan McIntosh said, "I think we fetishise technology at the expense of thinking about physical space. Chalk is much more interactive than an interactive whiteboard."

It's not all as it seems.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Teenage Brains Research

Amelia Hill writes in The Guardian about new research into teenage brains which has found that they're less developed than was previously thought. Teenagers may look like adults but their brain structure is similar to that of much younger children, and brains continue developing well into adulthood.

Dr Iroise Dumontheil of University College London's Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience puts it like this:"'It's not the fault of teenagers that they can't concentrate and are easily distracted. It's to do with the structure of their brains. Adolescents simply don't have the same mental capacities as an adult."

Teenagers have 'chaotic thought patterns', caused by an excess of grey matter (the cell bodies and connections that carry messages within the brain). Adults have less grey matter, and their brains work more effectively. Dr Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, who led the research, explains: "What our research has shown is that there is simply too much going on in the brains of adolescents ... The result is that their brain energy and resources are wasted and their decision-making process negatively affected."

Why teenagers can't concentrate: too much grey matter