Saturday, August 4, 2012
Twitter & the Brain
I have had a twitter account for a few months now. I following some really interesting people: Jason Glass, Gov. Branstand, Tim Allen, Adam Levine, Todd Whitaker, Jon Gordon, a few classmates, some amazing professors from the graduate school I am attending, Deepak Chopra, and several organizations dedicated to improving education. I try to follow the update tweets once a day on my Kindle Fire. I find myself reading links that connect to another link, which sync to a blog, which refers to a book, and then has a webinar or a video clip or an interview with the author. After scrolling for only a few minutes my head begins to spin… in a good way! It's almost as though I can feel my brain making new connections and sparking and fusing to increase my brain knowledge. Here's the technical explanation:
"The connections between nerve cells are known as synapses, and they allow information carried in the form of nerve impulses to travel from one neuron to the next. In the human brain, there are trillions of synapses forming a complex and flexible network that allows us to feel, behave, and think. It is the changes in the synaptic connections in areas of the brain such as the cerebral cortex and hippocampus that is associated with the learning and retention of new information." http://psychology.about.com/od/memory/ss/ten-facts-about-memory_9.htm
So this got me thinking.... If I feel this way about reading information on Twitter, do my students feel this way all of the time with their social media devices attached to their hips as if they were IVs for their bodies? If so, am I slowing down their synaptic connections when they are in my classroom because the presentations of my lessons? If so, how can I make sure the teaching I am doing and the learning I am creating have the same effect as when I read tweets on Twitter? So this begins a new learning path for me: continued reading and understanding of student engagement and brain-based learning. I owe it to my students and their synapses!