How the Brain Learns Best: Strategies to Make Learning Stick -- Keep the Discussion Going

Thank you to all who joined us during our lively webinar about how the brain learns, part of our special report on multiple intelligences. We hope you walked away from it with ideas and inspiration to bring the very best to your classroom, your school district, or your community.

As is often the case, the number of questions from our community far exceeded our allotted time, but we've put together the following resources to help you get the most out of our Edutopia webinars:

About the Panelists

Grace Rubenstein

Grace Rubenstein

Grace Rubenstein is a staff writer and multimedia producer with Edutopia magazine and Edutopia.org. Prior to joining The George Lucas Educational Foundation in 2005, she was an education reporter at the Lawrence, Massachusetts, Eagle-Tribune and a Boston Globe correspondent. She has won awards from the New England Press Association and the New England Associated Press News Executives Association.


Judy Willis

Judy Willis

Dr. Judy Willis, a board-certified neurologist and a middle school teacher in Santa Barbara, California, combined her training in neuroscience and neuroimaging with her teacher-education training and years of classroom experience and became an authority in learning-centered brain research and classroom strategies derived from this research. Visit RADTeach.com for a list of books and articles she has written.


Useful Web Sites for Parents and Educators

Neuroscience for Kids

This site is for all students and teachers who would like to learn about the nervous system. Discover the exciting world of the brain, the spinal cord, neurons, and the senses. Use the experiments, activities, and games to help you learn about the nervous system. For example, on Sounds of Neuroscience, watch and hear feedback from the electricity of information transmission through brain cells. Check out news briefs, an e-newsletter, and a television program, as well; there are also plenty of links to other Web sites for you to explore.

The Hawn Foundation

I am on the Hawn Foundation's board of directors, and I consulted with the organization on the curriculum for its classroom and home program, designed to enhance students' self-awareness, focused attention, problem-solving abilities, self-regulation, stress reduction, and pro-social behaviors.

GreatSchools: Your Child with Learning Difficulties

This section of GreatSchools is for parents and teachers about practical strategies for strategies for academic and social success and to inform about children's learning difficulties, including those that can be diagnosed -- learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and autism and Asperger's syndrome -- and other difficulties without a diagnosis. The home page links to resources by grade; these materials cover topics such as Media and Your Child.

Discovery Channel

The Discovery Channel's Web site, which demonstrates the learning strategies I discussed in the webinar, has games, videos, text, and photos featuring science organized by topic and age. For example, Volcano Explorer takes you inside a volcano and is interactive so you control the viscosity and gas settings and see the effect on the shape and explosiveness of the volcano.

Unit Conversion

In the simple but effective game on this site, the visitor fills in missing numbers in metric unit-conversion equations; correct answers place a stick figure into a seat of a Ferris wheel, and the wheel moves smoothly and music plays when all the seats are filled.

This article originally published on 4/9/2009

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Comments (27)

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Alpha Quincy (not verified)

Thank you, Judy and Grace.

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Thank you, Judy and Grace. And thank you Edutopia!. I'm a retired principal of two different middle schools in Contra Costa County, CA. One in a poverty area and one in an area of high expectations and parental support. No matter which school the students attended, they all learn better and like school better when learning is connected to what they like to do...and that is when they are involved in projects they can build, learn from, and that makes sense to them, or turns into an adventure. The adventure project can be a vertual trip to the moon, across the United States, or to the bottom of the ocean. I've used all of the above as a teacher... Keep up the good work Edutopia!
Alpha Quincy

Richard Fair (not verified)

Making Learning Stick and Technology

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I am a technology coordinator/teacher and facilitator at my school and I am always looking for ways to help my faculty integrate new findings and technology into their curriculum. I am also a former med student with a specialty in neurology, so this area of how the brain learns and the findings in neuroplasticity are of great interest to me.

I am presently doing a lot of work with Project Based Learning and Web 2.0 Technology and was wondering if you have any pointers or tips on how I might procede in finding ways of utilizing Dr. Willis' ideas and research to help both my students and in helping my faculty in "seeing the light?"

Dr. Judy Willis (not verified)

YOUR webinar questions for me (Judy Willis)

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I look forward to responding to your questions and insights in the next 2 days so please check back Saturday or Sunday.
Thanks for being part of the webinar and please share your ideas on questions asked by others as many of you have experience and knowledge that exceeds mine in many areas....and we educators like to share!
Carpe diem,
Judy

Cynthia Manchester (not verified)

How the Brain Works Best Webinar 04/09/09

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I'm joining Edutopia today with the hope of receiving a recording of this informative and useful event. It was a great review of my recent Marylhurst University class in Child Development and Learning Theory (we used Dr. Willis' book Research Based Strategies to Ignite Student Learning). The webinar recording would be even more useful if it is possible to get a copy of the PowerPoint presentation Dr. Willis used. Any way you can make that happen?

Gary L. Willhite (not verified)

Brain Research

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Thank you Dr Willis for this webinar. I have been fortunate to present and attend national conferences on the topic of the brain and learning. Recently my 7 year old was diagnosed with mild petite mall seizures. the twist is that the teacher and doctor now wish to diagnose her with ADHD, however, she has not been "formally" tested for this. We have been resistant to this and have chosen the route of bio medicine multivitamin for the brain. Your thoughts?

Dee Sullivan (not verified)

For the types of learners

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For the types of learners (ie auditory, kinesthetic, visual) how does that info get past the neural filters? Do the filters take the info from the predominant sense first or does the predominant sense fastrack the info to reflective part of the brain?

Also, thank you for the great webinar.

Dr. Judy Willis (not verified)

My Edutopia Webinar on How the Brain Learns Best

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Fellow educators, parents, and others interested in the neuroscience of joyful learning, I'm glad you're interested in learning more about how the brain turns sensory information into learning, and about what neuroscience suggests we can do to stimulate all children to become lifelong learners living up to their full potentials.

I won't be able to respond to all individual questions, but let's work together on this interactive Web site and share our knowledge with each other -- parent to parent, teacher to teacher, parent to teacher, curriculum developer to principal, and so on.

Find out more about my neuroscience and learning strategies for educators and parents through my Web site, RADTeach.com, and go to my professional blog on Psychology Today's Web site to read my latest entry, or type "Judy Willis" in that site's search field for a menu of all my posts.

As I read about your interests, I'll post Web sites I hope you'll find helpful, whether you're a parent, an educator, or a caretaker of children and teenagers. I hope we continue to communicate, starting with your input to this exchange on Edutopia.org.

Yours in joyful learning,
Dr. Judy Willis

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