The folks over at SharpBrains are trying to get a means of evaluating the use of educational games and simulations.
The research overview provided by Tobias, Fletcher, and Dai (this volume) is very helpful in summarizing studies to date on various dimensions of educational games and simulations. The next challenge for the field is to move beyond isolated research in which each group of investigators uses an idiosyncratic set of definitions, conceptual frameworks, and methods. Instead, to make further progress, we as scholars should adopt common research strategies and models—not only to ensure a higher standard of rigor, but also to enable studies that complement each other in what they explore. As this book documents, we now know enough as a research community to undertake collective scholarship that subdivides the overall task of understanding the strengths and limits of games and simulations for teaching and learning. Further, through a continuously evolving research agenda we can identify for funders and other stakeholders an ongoing assessment of which types of studies are most likely to yield valuable insights, given the current state of knowledge.
Research agendas include both conceptual frameworks for classifying research and prescriptive statements about methodological rigor. (For an example of a research agenda outside of gaming and simulation – in online professional development – see Dede, Ketelhut, Whitehouse, Breit, &McCloskey, 2009.) In addition, research agendas rest on tacit assumptions often unstated, but in fact better made explicit, as discussed below. In this chapter, to inform a research agenda for educational games and simulations, I offer thoughts about fundamental assumptions and a conceptual framework that includes prescriptive heuristics about quality. In doing so, my purpose is not to propose what the research agenda should be – that is a complex task best done by a group of people with complementary knowledge and perspectives – but to start a dialogue about what such an agenda might include and how it might best be formulated.http://www.sharpbrains.com/blog/2011/06/11/developing-a-research-agenda-for-educational-games-and-simulations/
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
|LAS VEGAS - JANUARY 07: The Chevy Volt is displayed at the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show at the Las Vegas Hilton January 7, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. CES, the world's largest annual consumer technology tradeshow, runs through January 10. The gadget show is expected to feature 2,500 exhibitors showing off their latest products and services to about 110,000 attendees. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)|
We fell into the green thing and got a super good deal on a Chevy Volt. Love the car. Got 87 mpg on a trip out to Atlantic City. Got 50 mpg one day when we didn't charge.
But our ears love the car too. Since our good deal included a high end stereo system (really, what more do you need in a car), Bluetooth and an inboard GPS, we are in heaven. An electric car rides nice and quietly so we don't have any background engine noise. Really nice for those of us with problems hearing signals in noise.
Also, with an integrated system, I can hear the GPS instructions no matter how loud I play my music! The audio system lowers the music volume and increases the GPS volume. Real nice. In my Acura, when I am grooving to the tunes on a long trip, I can miss my instructions. So, occasionally, I would miss a turn because I was too into my music.
Bluetoothed phone is also real nice too. I can hear my cell phone nice and clearly regardless of the ambient noise. Nice features for those suffering from auditory processing.
Copyright © 2010-2012 Traveller Journey Through The Cortex
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
|office setup (Photo credit: Rob 'n' Rae)|
How many ways can we annoy each other in the office? Let me counteth the ways!
Noise is one of the chief suspects. As corporate America tries to save space and, most especially money, they have gone towards the open office, aka, the bull pen.
“Headphones are the new wall,” he said, pointing to the covered ears of his neighbors.
Monday, May 28, 2012
|Lettuce (Photo credit: photofarmer)|
Spinach is relatively easy to deal with. You can always boil it, stir fry it, or just fry it and it cooks down. Today we made a nice Indian dish with spinach and substituted tofu for the Indian cheese.
However, we have tons of lettuce, arugala and bock choy. I am turning much of these into soups or pilafs if I can't eat them as salads.
I have a nice recipe for arugala and chickpea and potato soup. Arugula gives the soup a nice peppery zing.
As for lettuce, there is always lettuce wraps. But when you just want to get rid of the stuff before it goes off, you've got to cook it in one form or another?
Saturday, May 26, 2012
The sound of the shaman’s drum is very important. A shamanic ritual often begins with heating the drum head over a fire to bring it up to the desired pitch. It is the subtle variations in timbre and ever-changing overtones of the drum that allow the shaman to communicate with the spiritual realm. The shaman uses the drum to open portals to the spirit world and summon helping spirits. As Tuvan musicologist Valentina Suzukei explains, "There is a bridge on these sound waves so you can go from one world to another. In the sound world, a tunnel opens through which we can pass -- or the shaman’s spirits come to us. When you stop playing the drum, the bridge disappears."1
When a spirit is invoked, there is often an accompanying rhythm that evolves. Shamans frequently use specific rhythms to "call" their spirit helpers for the work at hand. A shaman may have a repertory of established rhythms or improvise a new rhythm, uniquely indicated for the situation. Shamans may strike certain parts of the drum to access particular helping spirits. The drumming is not restricted to a regular tempo, but may pause, speed up or slow down with irregular accents.
Shamans are also known for their ability to create unusual auditory phenomena. According to Scottish percussionist Ken Hyder, who has studied with Siberian shamans, "Shamans tend to move around a lot when they are playing, so a listener will hear a lot of changes in the sound…including a mini-Doppler effect. And if the shaman is singing at the same time, the voice will also change as its vibration plays on the drumhead."2 Furthermore, in a recent ethnographic study of Chukchi shamans, it was found that in a confined space, shamans are capable of directing the sound of their voice and drum to different parts of the room. The sounds appear to shift around the room, seemingly on their own. Shamans accomplish this through the use of standing waves, an acoustic phenomenon produced by the interference between sound waves as they reflect between walls. Sound waves either combine or cancel, causing certain resonant frequencies to either intensify or completely disappear. Sound becomes distorted and seems to expand and move about the room, as the shaman performs. Moreover, sound can appear to emanate from both outside and inside the body of the listener, a sensation which anthropologists claimed, "could be distinctly uncomfortable and unnerving."3
The Shaman's Horse
The drum -- sometimes called the shaman's horse -- provides the shaman a relatively easy means of controlled transcendence. Researchers have found that if a drum beat frequency of around 180 beats per minute is sustained for at least fifteen minutes, it will induce significant trance states in most people, even on their first attempt. During shamanic flight, the sound of the drum serves as a guidance system, indicating where the shaman is at any moment or where they might need to go. "The drumbeat also serves as an anchor, or lifeline, that the shaman follows to return to his or her body and/or exit the trance state when the trance work is complete."4
Recent studies have demonstrated that shamanic drumming produces deeper self-awareness by inducing synchronous brain activity. The physical transmission of rhythmic energy to the brain synchronizes the two cerebral hemispheres, integrating conscious and unconscious awareness. The ability to access unconscious information through symbols and imagery facilitates psychological integration and a reintegration of self. Drumming also synchronizes the frontal and lower areas of the brain, integrating nonverbal information from lower brain structures into the frontal cortex, producing "feelings of insight, understanding, integration, certainty, conviction, and truth, which surpass ordinary understandings and tend to persist long after the experience, often providing foundational insights for religious and cultural traditions."5
It takes abstract thinking and the interconnection between symbols, concepts, and emotions to make unconscious information meaningful. The human adaptation to translate an inner trance experience into meaningful narrative is uniquely exploited by singing, vocalizing, and drumming. Shamanic music targets perception, memory, and the complex emotions attached to symbols and concepts; the core functions humans rely on to formulate belief. Because of this exploit, the result of the synchronous brain activity in humans is the spontaneous generation of meaningful information which is imprinted into memory.
Friday, May 25, 2012
|Bits and Pieces (Painting and Poem) (Photo credit: faith goble)|
My occupational therapist has explained that my brain is so busy analyzing and processing all this new input that it just doesn't have any space like it used to in my working memory. I will get my memory and processing speed tested at the end of May. So, we shall see if it is just a question of me getting a bit more used to the world or whether I truly have problems with memory.
- New York Times Magazine highlights Working Memory
- OOOHHH, OOOH, OOOHH and Memory Issues
- Research byte: Another study suggesting attentional control and working memory highly related
- Mind Wandering Is Linked To Your Working Memory: Scientific American Podcast
- Is it Alzheimer's? Normal Aging? Or Simply Cyber Overload?
- Working memory in children: Tracing age differences and special educational needs to parameters of a formal model.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
|Example of hazel-green eyes. Photo taken by myself of my own eyes. Laurin Guadiana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
The way in which we judge a child’s visual attention typically involves sustained attention to nearpoint tasks. One of the hallmark features of convergence insufficiency is the inability to sustain attention when reading. On the Convergence Insufficiency Symptom Survey (CISS), only 8% of children with normal binocular vision reported frequent inability to concentrate when reading as compared to 43% of the children with convergence insufficiency. (Borsting et al 2003) Loss of place occurred frequently for 58% of the children with convergence insufficiency as compared to only 11% of the children with normal binocular vision.
We might therefore suspect co-morbidity if not causality between convergence insufficiency and A-D/HD.
One of the more intriguing theories about bipolar disorder is that the condition relates to vision through hemisphericity, the balance between left and right hemisphere integration, as well as chronobiology, the balance between sleep and wake light cycles. Papolos and Papolos (2006) posed the following question:
While the various interconnected brain nuclei and their multiple neurotransmitter, neuropeptide, and hormonal circuits keep us grounded in three-dimensional space, alerting us and assessing danger, remembering adaptive responses to environmental and social cues, what biological mechanisms anchor us to the passage of time, and how do they influence behavior? Their conclusion is that the timing of events within the central nervous system is at least as important to us as the spatial arrangements of the centers of neuronal activity in the brain. Viewed through this lens, bipolarity stems from dysregulation or desynchronization due to faulty biological clocks
Beyond the scope of our review, the entire field of syntonic phototherapy is structured around the concept of chronobiology and the application of light to influence the timing of the visual pathways and the functionality of visual fields. (Liberman 1991) Discovery of the significance of the suprachiasmatic nucleus on the release of melatonin has renewed interest in the potential for lens tints or more active forms of phototherapy to help influence mood and stabilize emotions. (Gottlieb and Wallace 2001).
This validation of syntonic phototherapy and chronobiology is surprising to me. I had been following some syntonic phototherapy but had been a bit wary of it as, to my layman's eyes, it seemed a little far out. Apparently, I was wrong.
Read more: http://www.visionhelp.com/vh_add_06.html#ixzz1tTj4nKSd
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
|English: Quantum dot. Français : Nanocristal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
|English: Complete neuron cell diagram. Neurons (also known as neurones and nerve cells) are electrically excitable cells in the nervous system that process and transmit information. In vertebrate animals, neurons are the core components of the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Neuroscientists in Seattle, Washington, have discovered a way to use quantum dots—light-sensitive, semiconducting particles just a few nanometers in diameter—to repair neurons which have been damaged by disease or age. When quantum dots were placed next to nerve cells and then stimulated by shining light on them, the ion channels of the nerve cells opened, allowng ions to rush in or out. This caused the nerve cells to fire. The development is an unlikely marriage between quantum physics and neuroscience.
What's the Big Idea?
To reactivate damaged neurons, quantum dots need to be placed in the brain and stimulated by light. Lih Lin, who directed the study, says attaching certain molecules to the quantum dots would allow them to be delivered to the brain intravenously. Getting light into the brain without invasive surgery, however, will be trickier. So for the moment, quantum dots would most likely be used to cure blindness associated with retinal damage since the eye is built to receive light in the first place. Future research will target Alzheimer's and epilepsy.
I think this is very interesting as it is part of the NBIC convergence: Nanotech, Biotech, Information Technology, and Cognition. I wonder if some of my therapy may one day be replaced with quantum dots.
- Quantum Dots Repair Damaged Neurons
- For the first time ever, scientists can control human brain cells using quantum dots
- Why you'll be eating quantum dots twenty years from now
- Quantum Dots May Be Safe to Use in Patients
- Toxicity Study Ensures Safety of Quantum Dots in Nanomedicine Applications
- New Report Analyzes and Forecasts Market Potential of Quantum Dots
- Toxicity Study On Primates Of Quantum Dots Is Good News For Nanomedicine
- Diagnostic 'quantum dots' appear to be safe in monkeys
Monday, May 7, 2012
|Sagittal human brain with cortical regions delineated. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Margaret Moore is the founder and co-director of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital. Paul Hammerness, MD, is a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Together, they hope to get at the physical and psychological roots of chaos. In a recent interview, Moore told Big Think that there is a cognitive basis for chronic disorganization.
Organization, she says, is not just about a cluttered desk. It’s about self-regulation, a skill that is developed by the pre-frontal cortex--the seat of executive function in the brain. The left pre-frontal cortex regulates your attention: it evaluates, judges, makes decisions. Modern life, with its barrage of incoming emails and phone calls and texts, taxes the pre-frontal cortex, inhibiting the brain’s ability to focus. Those who have naturally strong self-regulation can handle the overload—and those who don’t are left feeling guilty and out of control.
But the plasticity of the brain means we can all learn to be better focused and more organized. “When you can focus all of your brain on one thing, that’s when you’re at your best, she says. "You’re integrating all your brain. But it also consumes a huge amount of resources. You get tired. That’s really how the brain learns—when the brain is learning, it’s laying down new networks. The brain is changing when we focus. It takes a lot of energy, and when it’s depleted it isn’t able to manage the emotional brain. When your pre frontal cortex is depleted, your emotions rule all day. ”
- 3 Steps to Chaos-Proof Your Brain
- The Whoosh
- Euro 2012: Cognitive Research Links Brain Function To Soccer Success
- Switch off your brain for a bit of Design Thinking...
- Cognitive Science
- Alternate Nostril Breathing
- Employees and Teams Who Succeed. A Neurologist's View
- Shining Light Into Ears Can Stimulate The Brain
Friday, May 4, 2012
|Piet Mondrian, Composition with Yellow, Blue, and Red, 1937–42, oil on canvas, 72.5 x 69 cm, Tate Gallery. London (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
My painting is abstract sort of like Rothko or Mondrian. I have been going for a lot of big energetic colors lately. I have been starting to understand the Munsell color system so my colors are coming out a lot stronger.
|Baddeley's model of working memory in English (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
- New York Times Magazine highlights Working Memory
- Daydreams and Working Memory
- Working memory in children: Tracing age differences and special educational needs to parameters of a formal model.
- Wandering Minds Are Due to Working Memory Capacity
- Hard to Stay Focus at Times? That Might be a Good Thing...
- A Wandering Mind Reveals Mental Processes and Priorities
- The Benefits of Daydreaming