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Brain-Based (Compatible) Learning

What is brain-based or brain-compatible learning?
How can brain research be integrated into the classroom?
How does brain research relate to technology integration?

Brain-based learningartwork has been called a combination of brain science and common sense. Hart (1983) called the brain "the organ of learning." He advocated learning more about the brain in order to design effective learning environments. Caine and Caine (1991) developed twelve principles that apply what we know about the function of the brain to teaching and learning. These principles were derived from an exploration of many disciplines and are viewed as a framework for thinking about teaching methodology. Read Caine and Caine's (1994) Mind/Brain Learning Principles for the principles with brief descriptions, the longer descriptions, or to Caine's Website for a diagram. The principles are:

  1. The brain is a complex adaptive system.
  2. The brain is a social brain.
  3. The search for meaning is innate.
  4. The search for meaning occurs through patterning.
  5. Emotions are critical to patterning.
  6. Every brain simultaneously perceives and creates parts and wholes.
  7. Learning involves both focused attention and peripheral attention.
  8. Learning always involves conscious and unconscious processes.
  9. We have at least two ways of organizing memory.
  10. Learning is developmental.
  11. Complex learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by threat.
  12. Every brain is uniquely organized.

For complex learning to occur, Caine and Caine have identified three conditions:

  1. Relaxed alertness - a low threat, high challenge state of mind
  2. Orchestrated immersion - an multiple, complex, authentic experience
  3. Active processing - making meaning through experience processing

The nine brain-compatible elements identified in the ITI (Integrated Thematic Instruction) model designed by Susan Kovalik include: Absence of Threat, Meaningful Content, Choices, Movement to Enhance Learning, Enriched Environment, Adequate Time, Collaboration, Immediate Feedback, and Mastery (application level).
There's lots of research on Right Brain/Left Brain. Check out a great links page to get you started.

Brain-based Learning Resources

Artful Minds - This project provides theoretical information and practical applications about arts education, brain research, and technology use and integration.

Brain-Based Learning - This page provides an introduction to brain-based learning

Library - links to interesting articles

Brain Compatible Learning - This is an excellent article by Jane McGeehan on brain-compatible learning including a brief history, implications, and applications. She focuses on they key brain research findings 1) emotion is the gatekeeper to learning; 2) intelligence is a function of experience; and 3) the brain stores most effectively what is meaningful from the learner s perspective.

The Brain Lab - This page within the New Horizons website links to articles related to brain-based learning.

Brain Connection: The Brain and Learning - This website provides resources, links, and ideas for incorporating brain-compatible learning projects into your classroom.

Brain Research Concepts - This page explains six brain research concepts.

Is the Fuss About Brain Research Justified? - In this excellent article, Sousa (1998) answers tough questions about the importance of brain research in education.

Surprising Truths: The Implications of Brain Research - This article by Maria Almendarez Barron provides interesting, practical implications from brain research.

Build A Project

What are the most critical aspects of brain-based learning that apply to technology-rich projects? Integrate these elements into a project

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