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"Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day..." - 5 new articles

  1. What Does Learning From Mistakes Do To Your Brain?
  2. “Many great innovators asked better questions than everyone else…”
  3. “2011 Summer Rejuvenation Guide”
  4. These Are Really, Really Bad PowerPoint Slides
  5. Another Special Edition Of “Links I Should Have Posted About, But Didn’t”
  6. More Recent Articles
  7. Search Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day...
  8. Prior Mailing Archive

What Does Learning From Mistakes Do To Your Brain?

I’ve previously posted about the lessons we do to help students see what learning does to their brain (see My Best Posts On “Motivating” Students) and you can access the complete lesson and hand-outs from my new book for free.

A new study has just been published that sheds more light on what learning does to the brain and, more specifically, what learning from mistakes does to it. It appears to be a very significant study that reaches insights that I believe are very important to communicate to students. I’ll be preparing a lesson plan about it, and will share it on the blog.

The study is reported in Scientific-American under the headline The Learning Brain Gets Bigger–Then Smaller:New studies map the changing landscape of neurons as the brain masters a task.

It’s a fairly dense report. This is my understanding of it, though if others who are more knowledgeable about neuroscience can provide a better summary or think I am in error, I’d appreciate your leaving a comment:

In these experiments, it appears that the brain gets bigger when learning new things. However, after awhile it returns to closer to its original size, with changes left in neurons and synapses. When the brain is getting bigger, it is apparently collecting information made from the experiences of numerous mistakes. After awhile, it identifies the key lessons learned from those errors, retains them, and discards the rest.

This information could be very important for students to learn, and potentially encourage them to be willing to take more risks in their learning, and feel less frustrated by the mistakes they might make.

You might also be interested in a recent commentary in Ed Week titled Why Wrong Is Not Always Bad.

Do you have other suggestions of good posts or articles about the importance of learning from our mistakes?


“Many great innovators asked better questions than everyone else…”

How to innovate right now is a post by Scott Berkun. One section of it discusses innovators like Isaac Newton and Leonardo da Vinci, and how asking the right questions were critical to their success:

Here’s an excerpt:

Many great innovators asked better questions than everyone else, and that’s part of why they were successful. It wasn’t genius, whatever that means, special top-secret brain exercises they did every morning, or even how much money they had. It was through the dedicated pursuit of answers to simple questions that they found ideas already in the world that might be of use.

I’ve previously posted (Why Is It Important For Students To Learn About Bloom’s Taxonomy?) some new elements I’m adding to the lesson on Bloom’s Taxonomy that I’ve shared in my most recent book.

I’m going to incorporate Mr. Berkun’s points into this lesson now, too. It’s just one more reason for students to become more skilled at asking good questions.

I’ll also be adding this post to The Best Resources For Helping Teachers Use Bloom’s Taxonomy In The Classroom.


“2011 Summer Rejuvenation Guide”

2011 Summer Rejuvenation Guide: Ten Teacher Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Summer is free PDF download from Edutopia.

It’s great timing, and looks like it offers some good tips….


These Are Really, Really Bad PowerPoint Slides

Check-out the Worst PPT Slide Contest Winners and read design advice from the contest organizers.

I’m adding this to The Best Sources Of Advice For Making Good Presentations.


Another Special Edition Of “Links I Should Have Posted About, But Didn’t”

(NOTE: I usually publish this kind of post once-a-week. However, even more links than usual have accumulated during our annual field trip where we take one hundred students to San Francisco, and then during my subsequent recovery time. So, here’s a collection to get them “out of the way.”)

I have a huge backlog of resources that I’ve been planning to post about in this blog but, just because of time constraints, have not gotten around to doing. Instead of letting that backlog grow bigger, I regularly grab a few and list them here with a minimal description. It forces me to look through these older links, and help me organize them for my own use. I hope others will find them helpful, too. These are resources that I didn’t include in my “Best Tweets” feature because I had planned to post about them, or because I didn’t even get around to sending a tweet sharing them.

Here are This Week’s “Links I Should Have Posted About, But Didn’t”:

BloomsApps is an intriguing, regularly changing collection of iPhone applications correlated to each level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Helping Teachers Use Bloom’s Taxonomy In The Classroom. Thanks to Andrew P. Marcinek for the tip.

Create A Better Life Index lets you, without having to register, create an infographic emphasizing the qualities that you believe are key for a “better life” and showing how different countries in the world are doing in those areas. You can then share your infographic with others. It’s from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). I’m adding it to both The Best Resources For Creating Infographics and to The Best Sites To Learn About…Happiness?

Last week, I posted about a great piece by David Pogue from The New York Times sharing excellent tech tips. Here are two others he wrote: 25 More Tech Tips and Tricks and Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User. I’m adding them both to My Best Posts For Tech Novices (Plus A Few From Other People).

The Facts (and Fiction) of Tornadoes comes from The New York Times and includes multimedia. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Tornadoes.

Three Great Interview Series is a post from Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto, and shares three places where you can read or hear interviews with ESL/EFL teachers from around the world (including my “hot spot” series). I’m adding it to The Best Ways ESL/EFL/ELL Teachers Can Develop Personal Learning Networks.

U.S. official cites misconduct in Japanese American internment cases is a fascinating article in The Los Angeles Times discussing how the present United States Solicitor General is apologizing for the misconduct of one of his predecessors for his role in defending Japanese-American internment camps during World War II. During the war, he chose not to reveal a government study concluding that Japanese-Americans were not a risk to U.S. security. I’m adding it to both The Best Sites For Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and to The Best Online Resources For Teaching & Learning About World War II (Part One).

Messages For Japan lets you easily send a message of support to survivors of the Japanese earthquake, and it translates what you write into Japanese. I’m adding it to Useful Updates On Japan Earthquake — Part Two.

Three Months of Civil War in Libya is a series of photos from The Atlantic. I’m adding them to The Best Resources For Learning About What’s Happening In Libya.


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