Tools and Technologies of Neuroscientists
At a conference where I recently spoke, someone asked me what sorts of technologies Neuroscientists are using to take measurements and study activity of the brain. I provided a partial listing (of three) below:
Electroencephalography (EEG) measures changes in electrical voltage in neurons by using sensors placed on the scalp
Magnetoencephalography (MEG) uses arrays of highly sensitive magnetometers to measure the electrical currents produced by brain activity.
Functional Magnetic-Resonance Imaging (FMRI) measures changes in blood flow during brain activity.
Why, as educators, should we care about the goings-on of Neuroscientists? If we learn and study from them, and use products and services developed and vetted by them, we have much great chances of intervening with students to achieve the following improvements in the capability of our learners:
1. expand the memory load/capacity of students
2. expand the attention spans of students
3. improve the cognitive processing efficiencies of students
4. improve and accelerate the de-coding students do when confronted with words, phrases, letters, and symbols (such as in math and music)
5. improve auditory processing of students
We could make the heavy-lifting of teachers so much easier if we employed, more often, the products and protocols invented, vetted, and endorsed by Neuroscientists devoted to working with children and learners.
For more information, lookup the work of Drs. Paula Tallal, Steve Miller, Mike Merzenich, Janet Zandina and Bill Jenkins. Also, one of the pioneer companies I have mentioned before is Scientific Learning, founded by a few of these Neuroscientists. Find them at www.scilearn.com