Optimize Learning Outcomes

More on the Importance of Gestures (11-20-15)

Goldin-Meadow’s work indicates the importance of being able to see the gestures of others; a strong argument for co-location.  Her studies have “shown that the gestures we produce when we talk are not merely random movements used for emphasis—instead, these gestures are reciprocally tied to our thoughts. . . [gestures are] bodily action[s] that represents information and thus [have] an indirect effect on the world. . .

White Noise and the Performance of Children with ADHD (11-16-15)

Allen and Pammer completed a detailed study of the link between hearing white noise and the ability of children with ADHD (7 to 14 years old) to pay attention.  They studied the performance of kids working “under two noise conditions: a classroom noise condition and a classroom noise + white noise condition. The white noise stimulus was sounds of rain, administered using an iPhone application called Sleep Machine. . . . White noise may improve task engagement for non-medicated children.

Gender and Classroom Design (09-03-15)

Women are more likely to enroll in computer science classes when they feel comfortable in the physical environments in which computer science courses are taught.  Design can contribute to making computer science classrooms more welcoming to both genders.  As Master and her team report, “Computer science has one of the largest gender disparities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. An important reason for this disparity is that girls are less likely than boys to enroll in necessary ‘pipeline courses,’ such as introductory computer science. . . . We . . . tested whether . .

Sitting and Standing Students (08-28-15)

A sit-stand desk intervention for 10 year olds  in a New Zealand classroom has significantly improved those children’s school-related experiences.  Researchers describe their study: “The intervention class received height-appropriate workstations for 22 weeks while the control class retained traditional desks and chairs. Children's sitting and standing were measured at three time points (baseline, week 5, week 9). Pain, inattention and hyperactivity were also assessed. . . .

Build in Flexibility (07-14-15)

Applied research at Harvard University indicates the value of creating flexible academic environments and coordinating new space types with desired educational experiences.  A number of new learning spaces have been created at Harvard but one is of particular note: “’SciBox,’ a black box space incomplete with unfinished walls and only portions painted; the room itself has the look and feel of a friendly warehouse. [Harvard physicist Melissa Franklin] wanted to create an atmosphere where it was okay to ‘break stuff.’ . . . Leaving the space unfinished turned out to be a huge challenge. . .


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