25 October 2012

The brain that teaches itself

It's reading week at the college this week, and yesterday the George Brown College Staff Development convened a day of professional development for our faculty and staff. It was a great day that was kicked off by an excellent keynote speech by Dr Sylvain Moreno of the Rotman Research Institute. His presentation covered some of the basics of the brain, and focused on the ways in which brain plasticity is reinforced by activity. The good news in this of course is the very idea of brain plasticity - my title is an oblique reference to Norma Doidge's book the Brain that Changes Itself, a good read.

An expert in brain plasticity, Sylvain showed us how we can use brain science as a way to reinforce learning. I was struck by the connections between the college's focus on applied learning and applied research as ways in which we exercise experiential learning as a way to reinforce skills acquisition. This is a positive link to our focus on innovation literacy.

Sylvain also leads the Brain Power Initiative. I attended their last two events, and found them highly worthwhile. It is great to see science applied to learning. It is equally great to take the time to see the science of learning and to think of ways in which we can leverage the latest in brain research in our teaching and learning.

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