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15.04.2014
Cognitive neuroscience in education: mapping neuro-cognitive processes and structures to learning styles, can it be done? Cognitive Neuroscience in Education: Mapping neuro-cognitive processes and structures to learning styles, can it be done?
The application of neuroscientific research to cognitive functions and behaviour has developed over a 30-year period.
The information contained in the quotation above from Professor Fischer (2004) sounds as a comparative endeavour, promising to those involved in enhancing understanding of cognitive neurophysiological structures, learning and development; particularly for those who have interest in the relationship between neuroscience and education. If the scientific community decides not to develop arguments of relationality between neurophysiology, cognitive development and learning within the educational context then it will remain an unmapped area of knowledge. Fischer (2006) for example, suggests that growth curves for learning a task are influenced by individual learning styles characterised as ?novice chaotic learning?, ?intermediate: scalloping? and ?expert stable?. Nonetheless, his research also suggest that whilst learners are ?learning to learn? there is neuron growth in the hippocampus and olfactory cortex that shows correlates between the two: neuronal growth and learning. An understanding of cognitive neurophysiological structures and functions is useful and important when considering cognitive development and if scientists get it right, this has use-value or utility for informing practice in an education system in the present political context, that is western European and capitalist. If the two are linked using a wide a range of research techniques as possible: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Functional MRI (fMRI) and Magnetoencephalography (MEG) and even direct observation during the experimental context as well as in the class room context a clearer multi-perspective picture will be generated.
In terms of epistemology, if we believe concepts to be constructs then it follows that experimental concepts are too, because experimentation is also a human-social endeavour. A further point to consider, when applying neurophysiology to education, is that the education system may not be the only place where learning happens, although evidence does suggest cultures that have education systems have populations with higher human capital indices. Vygotsky (1962) defined development as a biological maturational change in thinking and brain particularly when a concept is acquired on both the abstract and the concrete level of experience. I have worked with learning styles of two kinds in the HE context and because of a deep interest in neurophysiology; I cannot help but to map one to the other.
What is the relationship between double-loop learning, reflexive practice, learning styles and neurophysiology? He nonetheless applauds neuropsychologists who regard reflection as a means to directing action, a tool to refine actions and move towards adaptiveness and survival. In the Western Cultural context, schools traditionally favour two of Gardner?s intelligences: Linguistic (auditory) and Mathematic (spatial) (Gardner, 1993), the legacy of Piagetian education for example and the mis-use of educational pedagogy. Neurophysiology is about studying the brain as a biological structure, the neural mechanisms, sensory and motor functions it performs and the cognitive processes involved in recognition, memory, motivation and behaviour (Carpenter, 1996). The development of synaptic connections is so substantial in the first year of life that the brain triples in density and grows to almost adult size.
The interaction between the brain and the environment, both social (inter-psychological) and physical (inter-physio-natural) are the nature-nurture dialectics.
Blakemore and Frith (2006) for example, found that the development of vision is affected by environmental deprivation that is time relative.
The visual, auditory and kinaesthetic sensory input pathways however do not automatically integrate sensory information during synaptic firing and wiring (trace path development). Therefore, it could be that using the VAK system as well as reflective practice learning leads to more enhanced learning and development. Educational pedagogy concerns itself with the successful practice of teaching and learning.
For Dewey then, reflective experience is distinct from the practice of thinking because like the scientist the reflective practitioner employs careful examination of the situation testing hypotheses stepping back and taking a holistic view before developing a plan of action with which to tackle a problem. Schon (1987) later developed the theory of reflective-action particularly as educational pedagogy making a distinction between reflection-in-action, ?thinking on one?s feet? and ?reflection-on-action?, thinking about practice after the event.
Reflective practice is therefore imbued with survival potential, a prerequisite of cognition itself. As a learning style, reflective practice is a fundamental: A modality for the acquisition of knowledge and learning that converts into development (Lisle, 2000, 2006). Below is a familiar model of Brain, Mind and Behaviour (Morton and Frith (1995), which I will use to illustrate brain, mind and behaviour interrelations. This model allows us to examine visually the relationships between brain, mind, behaviour and environment. According to Atkinson and Shiffrin?s (1968) multi-store model of memory, the brain receives information via the senses.
The level of processing model (Craik and Lockhart, 1972) suggests the brain processes information in the following ways: visual is thought to be shallow processing (structural), acoustic is equated with phonemic processing (sound) and semantic processing is equated with meaningful deep understanding. In addition, the length of focused attention will affect retention in addition to learning modality. The registering and processing of information in the brain effects the way information is then retrieved, in that, information that is stored acoustically will more easily be recalled in the manner it was stored (Gardner, 1993: Smith, 1996).
Finally, the Embedded Process Model (Cowan, 1999) of cognitive functions when applied to neurophysiological data (Chein, 2003) is useful for showing the relationships between cognition and neurophysiology.
Reflective practice therefore as a learning style, directs the VAK sensory input and is thus useful as a meta-cognitive learning strategy. According to Geake (2003, 2005) ?the mapping of a neurological level of description on to a behavioural level is not simple or one-to-one? (Geake, 2005, p10) and he therefore is weary of the way this has been done with systems such as VAK and then applied to education.
The mapping of the neurophysiological level of understanding to cognitive-behavioural levels can lead to theory-practice pedagogy: concepts are social constructs and as such can impact on phenomena one-to-one construct for construct. Information about left and right brain functioning is interesting and informative, but it too can result in the social construction of reality and identity. Therefore, when using assessment tools such as VAK, one should be aware of the fact that perceptions and expectations can be distorted by the concepts in which one believes and uses.
What is ironic, is that in order to eliminate the problem of conceptual labelling and self-fulfilling prophecies one is faced with the task of deciding how to validate the concepts one does use and present them in a way that prevents mis-understanding and mis-use.
Overuse of the one-to-one mapping of neurological brain areas and processes to behaviour i.e.
If a one-to-one mapping is to be developed, then it should be based on the synthesis of theoretical understanding that is people friendly. On a more serious note, perhaps future research could examine whether or not using the VAK learning style system as well as reflective practice as a meta-cognitive strategy does actually accentuate learning and development. Atherton, M (2005) Applying the Neurosciences to Educational research: Can Cognitive Neuroscience Bridge the Gap? Geake, J (2005) Educational neuroscience and neuroscientific education: in search of a mutual middle-way.
On a large piece of paper or the board, write or draw (or use pictures or photos) the key concepts (leave enough space between them so that the connecting lines are long enough to be seen and can have words written on them). Connect the concepts (circles) with a line (or an arrow depending on the relationship you want to represent). Another characteristic of concept maps is that the concepts are represented in a hierarchical fashion with the most inclusive, most general concepts at the top of the map and the more specific, less general concepts arranged hierarchically below. A final feature that may be added to concept maps is specific examples of events or objects that help to clarify the meaning of a given concept. Concept maps were developed in 1972 in the course of Novaka€™s research program at Cornell where he sought to follow and understand changes in childrena€™s knowledge of science (Novak & Musonda, 1991). In addition to the distinction between the discovery learning process, where the attributes of concepts are identified autonomously by the learner, and the reception learning process, where attributes of concepts are described using language and transmitted to the learner, Ausubel made the very important distinction between rote learning and meaningful learning. The material to be learned must be conceptually clear and presented with language and examples relatable to the learnera€™s prior knowledge. As noted above, it is important to recognize that because individuals vary in the quantity and quality of the relevant knowledge they possess, and in the strength of their motivation to seek ways to incorporate new knowledge into relevant knowledge they already possess, the rote-meaningful distinction is not a simple dichotomy but rather a continuum.
Another important advance in our understanding of learning is that the human memory is not a single a€?vessela€? to be filled, but rather a complex set of interrelated memory systems. While all memory systems are interdependent (and have information going in both directions), the most critical memory systems for incorporating knowledge into long-term memory are the short-term and a€?working memory.a€? All incoming information is organized and processed in the working memory by interaction with knowledge in long-term memory. This means that relationships among two or three concepts are about the limit of working memorya€™s processing capacity.
It should be noted that retention of information learned by rote still takes place in long term memory, as does information learned meaningfully; the difference is that in rote learning, there is little or no integration of new knowledge with existing knowledge resulting in two negative consequences. Therefore, to structure large bodies of knowledge requires an orderly sequence of iterations between working memory and long-term memory as new knowledge is being received and processed (Anderson, 1992).
There are obvious differences between individuala€™s abilities, and some of these have been explored by Gardner (1983). While it is true that some students have difficulty building concept maps and using these, at least early in their experience, this appears to result primarily from years of rote-mode learning practice in school settings rather than as a result of brain structure differences per se.
To illustrate how difficult it can be for individuals to modify their ideas, especially if they learn primarily by rote, we cite the example of interviews done by the Private Universe Project (PUP) at Harvard University (Schneps, 1989). As indicated earlier, we defined concept as a perceived regularity (or pattern) in events or objects, or records of events or objects, designated by label.
As defined above, concepts and propositions are the building blocks for knowledge in any domain. While there is value in studying more extensively the process of human learning and human knowledge creation, this is beyond the scope of this document.
In learning to construct a concept map, it is important to begin with a domain of knowledge that is very familiar to the person constructing the map. A good way to define the context for a concept map is to construct a Focus Question, that is, a question that clearly specifies the problem or issue the concept map should help to resolve. Given a selected domain and a defined question or problem in this domain, the next step is to identify the key concepts that apply to this domain. It is important to help students recognize that all concepts are in some way related to one another. Students often comment that it is hard to add linking words onto the a€?linesa€? of their concept map. Finally, the map should be revised, concepts re-positioned in ways that lend to clarity and better over-all structure, and a a€?finala€? map prepared. Thus, we see that concept maps are not only a powerful tool for capturing, representing, and archiving knowledge of individuals, but also a powerful tool to create new knowledge.
The software allows the user to link resources (photos, images, graphs, videos, charts, tables, texts, WWW pages or other concept maps) located anywhere on the Internet or in personal files to concepts or linking words in a concept map through a simple drag-and-drop operation. CmapTools provides extensive support for collaborative work during concept map construction. Through the storing of concept maps in CmapServers, CmapTools encourages collaboration among users constructing the maps. The extensive support that CmapTools provides for the collaborative construction of concept maps by groups, whether they are at the same location or in distant locations, has encouraged the increasing use of collaboration during map building. A Concept Map-Centered Learning Environment CmapTools provides a variety of features that make it possible for teachers to use concept maps for a variety of the tasks that students perform (CaA±as & Novak, 2005). A concept map-centered learning environment implies that concept maps are used throughout the development of a learning unit or module. Just as there are many possible uses of concept maps within the classroom activities, there are a variety of a€?starting pointsa€? for the construction of the initial concept maps by students. Each student can construct the initial concept map individually, giving the teacher feedback on the level of understanding of every student. The concept map can also be a class effort, using a projector, where all students give their opinion and participate in the construction of the map. Likewise, the starting point from which the map is constructed can vary depending on the expected previous understanding by the students, the difficulty and novelty of the topic, and the teachera€™s confidence in mastering the topic. We refer to a list of concept waiting to be added to a concept map as the parking lot of concepts. Figure 11 is an a€?expert skeletona€? concept map that corresponds to the same topic as the a€?parking lota€? in Figure 10.
The use of a€?expert skeletona€? concept maps is a research topic we are pursuing, and for which we dona€™t have as much experience as with the focus question and parking lot starting points.
It is important to note that the a€?expert skeletona€? concept maps should be built by an expert on the topic. We foresee a program of using a€?expert skeletona€? maps to scaffold learning beginning with the development of a series of concept maps in a discipline, starting with the most general, most inclusive ideas and then gradually moving to more specific concept maps that will guide the learners.
Learners can also engage in laboratory or field studies that will add important concrete experiences needed for developing fuller meanings to concepts, and sometimes the excitement that comes with discovering new ideas or relationships. The extent of materials and ideas that can be built into knowledge structures using a€?expert skeletona€? concept maps, CmapTools, and WWW resources far surpass what any textbook or any teacher could provide.
In 1966, Bobbs-Merrill published an elementary science textbook series, The World of Science, written largely by Novak with the objective of introducing basic science concepts to elementary school students and teachers. Obviously, it would be a very deficient science program that did nothing more than have students copy and do some building on the a€?expert skeletona€? concept maps provided for grade two, or for any other grade. A pilot program effort is already in progress in Italy, where Giuseppe Valittuti (2004) and his colleagues are now working to translate The World of Science books into Italian.
The greatest challenge we may expect is to change the school situational factors in the direction of teacher as coach and learner from the prevailing model of teachers as disseminator of information.
We might expect some oppositioin to implementation of the New Model of Education from individuals who believe that "inquiry" learningis the only way to improve education. There is an enormous job of teacher education that needs to be done before the New Model can be implemented in schools. We are now beginning to see in many science textbooks the inclusion of concept mapping as one way to summarize understandings acquired by students after they study a unit or chapter. Using concept maps in planning a curriculum or instruction on a specific topic helps to make the instruction a€?conceptually transparenta€? to students.
One of the uses of concept maps that is growing at a fast rate is the use of concept maps to capture the a€?tacita€? knowledge of experts. While we expect that interviews, case study analyses, a€?critical incidenta€? analyses and similar techniques will have value in extracting and representing expert knowledge, it is likely that the end product of these studies might still be best represented in the form of concept maps, perhaps with some of the interview data and other information presented through icons on maps. At IHMC we continue to be very active in the area of capturing and representing expert knowledge (Coffey et al., 2002). In this paper we have tried to present the theoretical foundations and the origins of what we call concept maps.
We also wish to use this document as a foundation for further experimentation, critique, and dialogue regarding the use of this tool. We define concept as a perceived regularity in events or objects, or records of events or objects, designated by a label. But when drawing one-to-one comparisons between neuroscience and education what does it actually mean?
Fischer suggests that students start out as novice learners but develop into experts with experience. Nonetheless, as Professor Fischer (2004, 2006) and Professor Geake (2003, 2005) suggest it is only now possible after years of gathering research data on the topic and it is still a precarious task. The conjoined results of which will show clearer relationships between neurophysiology, cognitive development and educational behaviour and practice. Nonetheless, through combining methods and critically appraising each other?s research (as well as our own) the errors of reification and mis-interpretation should be minimised. Like most people, I also have preferences based on my experience and knowledge of the education system, neuroscience and psychology, and indeed life.
Double-loop learning involves reflecting deeply on life?s experiences in order to inform ongoing experience for the better. It has been mapped one-to-one with brain neurophysiology for approximately 30 years, and was applied to education in the 1980s by Gardner with his concept of multiple intelligences (Michael Atherton and Read M.
The fundamental error of this distinction reveals itself through the work of Vygotsky (1962) and the Marxian methodology. To Gardner therefore, kinaesthetic intelligence ? activity - is as valuable as the other forms of intelligence. Gardner?s multiple intelligences, have a broader spectrum and are much more inclusive for a variety of learners. Brain development starts with the foetus and genetically identical twins can have different brains at birth due to small foetal environmental changes (Pendrick, 1997). Although the brain contains nearly all of the neurons needed for healthy functioning, neurons still develop in the hippocampus and the cerebellum after birth (Fischer, 2004: Blakemore and Frith, 2006). The interaction between and formation of synaptic connects and the two processes of Long Term Potentiation (LTP) (prolonged synaptic activity) and Short Term Potentiation (STP) (short synaptic activity), is the internal dialectic of brain-mind. Similarly, the carousal kitten experiment (Held, 1965) showed that visual skills and motor skills develop in co-ordination and that deprivation of visual stimuli or gross motor movements effects motor skill development and eye-paw co-ordination. Roberts (2002) for example, when discussing sensory integration, brings attention to the McGurk effect (1976) in which visual sensory input is dominant to auditory, tacit and proprioception. Multi-sensory teaching and learning using VAK would imply that learning is more likely to take place because it is more like that memorises are stored.
By successful it is implied that the outcome for the learners has some measure of enhancement in terms learning and development. For Schon, reflection-in-action? comes about through intuition and can lead to ?knowing-in-practice? a state reached when actions have become routinised, automated and habituated and the practitioner spontaneous and professional. It is in many ways instinctive but implicit and therefore needs to be made explicit through instruction. As a modality functional to learning, it is not questioned in education, unlike for example the visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learning modality system (VAK) in use particularly in primary and secondary education (Smith, 1996: DfES, 2004). The environment can affect brain-mind on three levels: the physical, the social and the behavioural.
For instance, it could relate to processing word-meaning (Tulving, 1972) rather than word spelling - structural representation of a word without knowing the word meaning. Martinez and Derrick (1996) for example, have found that long-term potentiation (LTP) ? prolonged and increased synaptic strength (neural activity in brain matter) leads to remembering rather than memory trace decay, forgetting (Hebb, 1949). So, if you remember how to spell a word because you learned it by spelling it aloud, using the phonological-articulatory loop (Baddeley, 1995), you will verbally spell out the word on recall.
However, whilst Chein mapped the model with particular areas in the brain, referred to as LTM store, rehearsal and activated memory, I find it more useful to map the embedded model with the first and second messenger system of synaptic action.
The first level is when the action potential, a positive charge, known as an electrochemical message, flows down the axon, a biological structure that connects one neuron to another in the brain, and builds up at the neck of the synapse.
Reflective practice thinking is also twofold in that, it is a ?tool? and ?result? methodology (Newman and Holzman, 1993), the Marxian-Vygotskian methodology of understanding the learner and developing the learner because it aids the focussing of attention leading to enhanced memory and learning.
He specifically brings attention to the way left-brain and right-brain functioning is theorised and applied to educational pedagogy such that females are regarded as left-brain dominant therefore communicators (auditory) and males right-brain dominant therefore are more kinaesthetic and spatial.
For example, research has revealed that lack of auditory stimuli leads to fewer synaptic connections based on auditory stimuli in the brain therefore there are fewer auditory memorises.
An example of the social construction of identity comes from McDermott (1996, 269-300) who refers to ?The acquisition of a child by a learning disability? whereby; the definition of the social context within which significant others manage the negotiation of identity formation of the child, operates as a framework for the self-fulfilling prophecy. The point is not to ascribe statuses and identity through diagnostic concepts but to provide a learning environment that is functional for the development of health personalities.
Spatiality is one of the characteristics of those with kinaesthetic modality preferences ? spatiality is not just visual as ethological studies using squirrels shows and it is this intelligence that precedes mathematical ability, thought to be the purest of sciences involving the greatest amount of intellectual skill. Geake (2005) suggests that cognitive neurophysiology is useful when provided with a ?rigorous critique? because cognitive neurophysiological concepts can be just as construed as social ones (Berger and Luckmann, 1966, Parker, 1999).
Does a one-to-one mapping of neurophysiological structure to the behavioural level of learning such as learning styles enhance our understanding of educational pedagogy?
Bloom?s (1956) taxonomy of higher order skills containing a list of activities synthesised with Gardner?s multiple intelligences is user-friendly and functional to the teaching and learning process, and is used extensively in primary and secondary education. The sensory molecular atomic data that is transposed into cellular structures and fuses with DNA via LTP is a true and it seems reasonable to suggest that as a one-to-one mapping of neurobiological material to language unites or memories is more tenable than trying to map a whole discipline onto a brain area such as music or science.
Next, put words or pictures in large circles or boxes (concepts could also be written on 3-x-5 cards). They include concepts, usually enclosed in circles or boxes of some type, and relationships between concepts indicated by a connecting line linking two concepts. The hierarchical structure for a particular domain of knowledge also depends on the context in which that knowledge is being applied or considered. These are relationships or links between concepts in different segments or domains of the concept map. Normally these are not included in ovals or boxes, since they are specific events or objects and do not represent concepts. During the course of this study the researchers interviewed many children, and they found it difficult to identify specific changes in the childrena€™s understanding of science concepts by examination of interview transcripts.
These are acquired by children during the ages of birth to three years, when they recognize regularities in the world around them and begin to identify language labels or symbols for these regularities (Macnamara, 1982). Concept maps can be helpful to meet this condition, both by identifying large general concepts held by the learner prior to instruction on more specific concepts, and by assisting in the sequencing of learning tasks though progressively more explicit knowledge that can be anchored into developing conceptual frameworks. This condition can be met after age 3 for virtually any domain of subject matter, but it is necessary to be careful and explicit in building concept frameworks if one hopes to present detailed specific knowledge in any field in subsequent lessons.
The one condition over which the teacher or mentor has only indirect control is the motivation of students to choose to learn by attempting to incorporate new meanings into their prior knowledge, rather than simply memorizing concept definitions or propositional statements or computational procedures. Creativity can be seen as a very high level of meaningful learning, and we will discuss this further. Both direct presentation and discovery teaching methods can lead to highly rote or highly meaningful learning by the learner, depending on the disposition of the learner and the organization of the instructional materials. The Rote-Meaningful learning continuum is not the same as the Reception-Discovery instructional continuum. Concept maps are also effective in identifying both valid and invalid ideas held by students, and this will be discussed further in another section.
Figure 4 illustrates the memory systems of the human mind, and interactions with inputs from our affective and psychomotor inputs. The limiting feature here is that working memory can process only a relatively small number of psychological units (five to nine) at any one moment (Miller, 1956). For example, if a person is presented with a list of 10-12 letters or numbers to memorize in a few seconds, most will recall only 5 to 9 of these.
We believe one of the reasons concept mapping is so powerful for the facilitation of meaningful learning is that it serves as a kind of template or scaffold to help to organize knowledge and to structure it, even though the structure must be built up piece by piece with small units of interacting concept and propositional frameworks. While the latter are the principal elements that make up our knowledge structures and form our cognitive structure in the brain, we pause briefly to discuss other forms of learning. So-called a€?learning stylea€? differences are, to a large extent, derivative from differences in the patterns of learning that students have employed varying from high commitment to continuous rote-mode learning to almost exclusive commitment to meaningful mode learning.
The staff of PUP interviewed 23 Harvard graduates, alumni and faculty, asking each a€?Why do we have seasons?a€? Only eleven concepts, properly organized are needed to understand why we have seasons, and one arrangement of these concepts is shown in Figure 5. One representation of the knowledge structure required required for understanding why we have seasons.
It is coming to be generally recognized now that the meaningful learning processes described above are the same processes used by scientists and mathematicians, or experts in any discipline, to construct new knowledge. We can use the analogy that concepts are like the atoms of matter and propositions are like the molecules of matter. Since concept map structures are dependent on the context in which they will be used, it is best to identify a segment of a text, a laboratory or field activity, or a particular problem or question that one is trying to understand. Every concept map responds to a focus question, and a good focus question can lead to a much richer concept map.
These are links between concepts in different segments or domains of knowledge on the map that help to illustrate how these domains are related to one another. A a€?stringa€? map created by a fourth grade student following a class field trip to a paper mill. Therefore, it is necessary to be selective in identifying cross-links, and to be as precise as possible in identifying linking words that connect concepts. This is because they poorly understand the relationship between the concepts, or the meanings of the concepts, and it is the linking words that specify this relationship. When computer software is used, one can go back, change the size and font style, and add colors to a€?dress upa€? the concept map. The software not only makes it easy for users of all ages to construct and modify concept maps in a similar way that a word processor makes it easy to write text, it allows users to collaborate at a distance in the construction in their maps, publish their concept maps so anybody on the Internet can access them, link resources to their maps to further explain their contents, and search the WWW for information related to the map. Links to these resources are displayed as icons underneath the concepts, as shown in Figure 7. Vygotsky (1978) introduced the idea that language and social dialogue can support learning, especially when members of the social group are at about the same Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). When maps are stored in a server on the Internet, users with appropriate permissions (CaA±as et al., 2003c) can edit shared concept maps at the same time (synchronously) or at their convenience (asynchronously). Concept maps within this environment are likely to be used as the mechanism to determine the level of understanding students have about the topic being studied before the topic is introduced. The whole spectrum of learning activities can be integrated using CmapTools, incorporating various learning activities recorded via the software creating a digital portfolio as a product of the learning.


For example, a€?How do we measure time?a€? can be given to the students as the question to answer through the construction of the concept map. The staring point for the construction of the concept map can be a list of concepts that the teacher wants to make sure all students include in their map.
The beginning of a concept map with a focus question and a parking lot with concepts to be included in the map. An a€?expert skeletona€? concept map has been previously prepared by an expert on the topic, and permits both students and teachers to build their knowledge on a solid foundation. Observe that in this example, some of the concepts were left in the a€?parking lota€? for the student to add to the concept map. Oa€™Donnell, Dansereau, & Hall (2002) have shown that a€?knowledge mapsa€? can act as scaffolds to facilitate learning. The intention is that the expert will be better at selecting the small number of concepts that are key to understanding the topic, and express accurately the relationships between these concepts. But the expected final number of concepts in the map is a function of the number of concepts in the a€?skeletona€?. For example, Figure 11 shows a a€?expert skeletona€? concept map for the sciences that encompasses key major concepts needed to understand science. An Energy transformation Cmap that could be accessed by linking it to the a€?Energya€? concept in the concept map in Figure 11, and a Photosynthesis Cmap that may be linked to it. Thus if one clicks on a concept such as a€?electrical energya€? in Figure 12 and selects one of the a€?searcha€? menu options, CmapTools will retrieve WWW resources that not only deal with electricity, but also relate to other concepts in the map.
In fact, teachers supervising this kind of study are likely to learn as many new things as their students. Unlike most elementary science textbooks, this series presents in-depth instruction in basic concepts at all grade levels, including instruction in concepts dealing with the nature of science, nature of matter, energy and energy transformations.
Schema showing the New Model for Education with an a€?expert skeletona€? concept map that can serve as the a€?backbonea€? for an emerging portfolio in science.
It would be important for the teacher to help students perform these activities, and similar related activities, some of which might by suggested in WWW resources.
Schema showing the New Model for Education with concepts and resources added to the a€?expert skeletona€? concept map, plus a page from a World of Science book providing relevant reading and activities. Students need concrete, hands on experiences with real things and to observe real phenomena to put meaning into the concept labels provided in the concept maps and other resources.
Valittuti and his colleagues have obtained funding from the Italian Ministry of Education for teacher training and a number of elementary school teams began working with the World of Science concept maps and other resources during the 2005-2006 year. We know that we need to engage teachers and administrators in training programs that can model the new educational approaches, and we need to seek their counsel on ways to improve on the New Model for Education. Teachers need to become familiar with the use of CmapTools software and the various tools it contains. Change in school practices is always slow, but it is likely that the use of concept maps in school instruction will increase substantially in the next decade or two.
Many students have difficulty identifying the important concepts in a text, lecture or other form of presentation. A concept map prepared cooperatively by the faculty of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University to show the over-all structure for a revised curriculum. In fact, these methods continue to be highly popular with many cognitive scientists, most of whom are unfamiliar with Ausubela€™s work and the kind of epistemological ideas on which concept mapping is based. As the CmapTools software has evolved, it has become an increasingly useful tool for this work, as illustrated by the remarkable resources on Mars prepared at NASA Amesa€™ Center for Mars Exploration (Briggs et al., 2004).
An example of a concept map that can be accessed via clicking on one of the resources attached to a concept on Figure 16.
While at first glance concept maps may appear to be just another graphic representation of information, understanding the foundations for this tool and its proper use will lead the user to see that this is truly a profound and powerful tool. The CmapTools web site provides opportunities for lively exchanges among users and researchers. Diket (2005) for example, discuss the implications of mapping neurophysiological structures to cognitive and psychological processes, which they suggest started with the work of Howard Gardner (1983) and his use of developments in CAT scanning with which to underpin his theory of multiple intelligences.
Are we to assume that because neurons in the hippocampus and olfactory cortex continue to develop in non-human animals after birth then they will by comparison continue to develop in humans too? Indeed, when Professor Fischer (2004) states neuronal growth still takes place after birth I share his enthusiasm in placing such research findings in the jigsaw puzzle where similarity or resonance exists. Researchers find themselves in a privileged position nonetheless, to be able to continue with the comparisons and the mapping of one discipline ? neuroscience, to the other education, and it is possible that one can inform the other on a continual basis. The triangulation method that entails using multi-methods in this way is thought to greatly enhance validity more so than mono-methods. It may even be possible to use mathematics to investigate the relationship between neurophysiology, cognition and educational practices as Penrose (1997) suggests in ?The Large, the Small and the Human Mind?, using Einstein?s formula E=MC2. David and Powell (2005) for example, discuss the way constructs of childhood and learning through play are shaped by culture and economic status. Everyday concepts are learned regardless of the social context but scientific learning takes place within the western educational context as a cultural prerequisite for employment in western society and the capitalist system.
Thus, using this as a base, I intend to attempt the mapping of neurophysiology to educational behaviours, particularly, mapping learning styles with neurophysiological representations of them in the brain. It is also an action theory because as change-action social structures as well as individual behaviour is transformed. To Marx, and later Vygotsky, learning and development take place through the dialectic of theory and practice: the critique of material practice that involves both reflective and active intellectual learning systems. In this way, Gardner is one of a body of theorists to recognise the importance of what is now know as affective education. Approximately 100 billion neurons organised into bulb-like clusters form the network of nerve cells that makeup the biological structure of the brain. Those neurons that do develop after birth send and receive electrochemical messages between the brain and the body. However, after reaching maximum density, the neural connections are pruned, a process referred to as neural Darwinism. It is because of the dialectic processes that individual differences develop or are built on.
Bruer (1998) suggests that behaviour that is effected by a sensitivity period is usually evolutionary-based and species specific rather than ontogenetic. This would imply that both VAK and reflective practice are of valued in terms of educational pedagogy, and as more discoveries in the neurosciences come to light, I think increasing evidence will afford biological foundations to support their existence rather than them remaining semi-reified concepts.
One method of facilitating a successful outcome for learners is to get them to engage in reflective practice.
Sometimes, a practitioner?s actions become so habituated that ?knowing-in-practice? is implicit (procedural) and hidden and the practitioner needs to reflect once more on practice to obtain the underlying meaning of the actions again, make is explicit (declarative). Reflective practice has become so ubiquitous, that student learning is couched in reflective practice as a meta-cognitive learning style, and used for planning and monitoring personal development. Yet, the VAK modality system can be shown to be a forerunner to reflective practice, and integrative to it. If VAK multi-sensory learning and teaching are put into the model as well as the introduction of reflective practice, we can simulate a situation that shows mind and brain interrelations and development.
For example, a child might learn the word ?mathematics?, know how to say it and spell it but not really understand what the word means. If you learned how to memorise the visual-structural representation of the word, then you will more than likely visualise the word when you recall it (Tulving, 1972).
Reflective thinking is the process of practical-critical-activity (Newman and Holzman, 1993) through which ideas are the product of material practice (Marx, in McLellan, 1977). It has also been suggested from such observations that Autism is an extreme form of the ?male brain?. Controlling both the defined context reality and identity therefore leads to social constructs that the child has difficulty negotiation its way through to a successful conclusion because of the manipulated social context (ill-informed practice) and power relations (Berger and Luckmann, 1966: McDermott, 1996). Although phenomena with biological foundations is believe materialistic therefore ?real? (Marxian materialism, in McLellan, 1977) and not a social construct (Hegelian idealism, Hegel, 1977) as the Morton and Firth?s model shows, behaviour can affect biology, then brain, just like brain can affect mind, then biology. Is it not enough that teachers use the knowledge of VAK and reflective practice to enhance their teaching without doing the VAK testing? VAK models are useful if used with full understanding of all the modalities and the development of all the learning styles, which is where reflective learning as the highest skill in Bloom?s taxonomy (Lisle, 2006) plays a lead role.
But who knows, perhaps within the near future physics will enter the picture and as Penrose suggests we will be able to physically place consciousness at a given point in time and specific space in the brain.
In that, if a child is said to be a kinaesthetic learner and only given kinaesthetic learning tasks, what effect does this have on the child? Presentation to the 1987 meeting of the American Educational Research Association: Washing DC.
Words on the line, referred to as linking words or linking phrases, specify the relationship between the two concepts.
Therefore, it is best to construct concept maps with reference to some particular question we seek to answer, which we have called a focus question.
Cross-links help us see how a concept in one domain of knowledge represented on the map is related to a concept in another domain shown on the map. This early learning of concepts is primarily a discovery learning process, where the individual discerns patterns or regularities in events or objects and recognizes these as the same regularities labeled by older persons with words or symbols. The indirect control over this choice is primarily in instructional strategies used and the evaluation strategies used.
They can be as effective as more time-consuming clinical interviews for identifying the relevant knowledge a learner possesses before or after instruction (Edwards & Fraser, 1983). However, if the letters can be grouped to form a know word, or word-like unit, or the numbers can be related to a phone number or something known, then 10 or more letters or numbers can be recalled. Second, the knowledge structure or cognitive structure of the learner is not enhanced or modified to clear up faulty ideas. Iconic learning involves the storage of images of scenes we encounter, people we meet, photos, and a host of other images. His work has received much attention in education and has served to draw attention to the broad range of differences in human abilities for various kinds of learning and performance. It is not easy to help students in the former condition move to patterns of learning of the latter type. The PUP interviewers found that 21 of the 23 interviewed could not explain why we have seasons, a topic that is taught repeatedly in school.
In fact, Novak has argued that new knowledge creation is nothing more than a relatively high level of meaningful learning accomplished by individuals who have a well organized knowledge structure in the particular area of knowledge, and also a strong emotional commitment to persist in finding new meanings (Novak, 1977, 1993, 1998). There are only around 100 different kinds of atoms, and these make up an infinite number of different kinds of molecules.
Some important considerations for construction of better concept maps and facilitation of learning will be discussed further below. This creates a context that will help to determine the hierarchical structure of the concept map. When learning to construct concept maps, learners tend to deviate from the focus question and build a concept map that may be related to the domain, but which does not answer the question.
These concepts could be listed, and then from this list a rank ordered list should be established from the most general, most inclusive concept, for this particular problem or situation at the top of the list, to the most specific, least general concept at the bottom of the list. Post-its allow a group to work on a whiteboard or butcher paper and to move concepts around easily.
Cross-links are important in order to show that the learner understands the relationships between the sub-domains in the map. The class identified concepts in the parking lot on the left, but this student was not successful in using many of these and her map makes little sense. Cross-links are key to show that the learner understands the relationships between the sub-domains in the map. In addition, one should avoid a€?sentences in the boxesa€?, that is, full sentences used as concepts, since this usually indicates that a whole subsection of the map could be constructed from the statement in the box. Once students begin to focus-in on good linking words, and on the identification of good cross-links, they can see that every concept could be related to every other concept.
Clicking on one of these icons will display a list of links from which the user can select to open the linked resource. Many of the CmapServers are a€?publica€?, allowing anybody (no authorization needed) to publish their collections of concept maps and resources (CaA±as et al., 2004a). Concept maps are now beginning to be used in corporations to help teams clarify and articulate the knowledge needed to solve problems ranging from the design of new products to marketing to administrative problem resolution. The concept map can thus become an artifact around which the various activities of the learning process can be centered, as shown in Figure 8. The maps are then developed, extended and refined as the students develop other activities on the topic and increase their understanding, possibly concluding with complex knowledge models that link resources, results, experiments, etc., and that can be used if desired as a final presentation by the students. The concept map can be constructed by students working in couples or small groups, where the teacher must pay attention to the level of participation of every student. The list of propositions on the top right window are automatically derived from the Cmap, and those with a a€?pina€? have been a€?publisheda€?.
The type of focus question makes a difference in the type of concept maps that the student builds. For example, a a€?skeleton mapa€? that consists of five concepts should be expanded by the student to a map with 15 to 20 concepts.
Learners can begin with such a map, add concepts from the parking lot, link digital resources and also construct more specific submaps. The program tries to figure out what the Cmap is about and prepare a query for Web search engines that will generate results that are relevant to the ideas being developed in the concept map. Moreover, beginning with the a€?expert skeletona€? maps as starting points reduces the chance that misconceptions or faulty ideas held by learners or teachers will be reinforced and maximize the chance that they will build knowledge structures that in time remove or diminish misconceptions (Novak, 2002).
Learners would also add their own concepts to the a€?expert skeletona€? concept map, as well as resources identified in readings and from the Internet. The plan is to have four sets of schools focus on different aspects of The World of Science series and produce photos and videos of students doing projects that illustrate and utilize the various science concepts.
There is also the challenge of changing assessment practices that now rely primarily on multiple-choice tests that measure mainly rote recall of information, to performance-based tests that require students to demonstrate that they understand basic concepts and can use these concepts in novel problems solving, and that they can use Internet resources to grow and modify their concepts and learn new concepts. They also need to learn about the theory underlying concept mapping, including the ideas in this paper. Other innovative practices for assessing student understanding of subject matter are also available (Mintzes et al., 2000).
The hierarchical organization of concept maps suggests more optimal sequencing of instructional material. Part of the problem stems from a pattern of learning that simply requires memorization of information, and no evaluation of the information is required.
This tacit knowledge is acquired over years of experience and derives in part from activities of the expert that involve thinking, feeling and acting. We also used a€?clinical interviewsa€? in our early work, as noted above, but we found it necessary to invent a better way to represent what our learners knew and how their knowledge was changing over time. Figure 16 shows a a€?Homea€? concept map for the knowledge portfolio that Briggs created and Figure 17 shows one of the many submaps he created. It may at first look like a simple arrangement of words into a hierarchy, but when care is used in organizing the concepts represented by the words, and the propositions or ideas are formed with well-chosen linking words, one begins to see that a good concept map is at once simple, but also elegantly complex with profound meanings.
This document itself should be a a€?livinga€? document, with revisions occurring periodically as we gain new knowledge and experiences with the use of this tool.
The effects of cooperative, competitive and individualistic goal structure on achievement: A meta-analysis.
The information available in brief visual presentations, Psychological Monographs: General and Applied, 74(11), 1-30. The recent developments in neuroscience such as those outlined above by Fischer (2004) have according to Atherton and Diket led to a wave of activity in this area in which theorists such as Geake and Cooper (2003) similarly suggest a collaboration between neuroscience and education to the point that training which incorporates both should be adopted if we are to equip teachers with the theoretical knowledge and skills they need to engage in teaching practice that facilitates effective learning.
Those who work within the fields of neuroscience make comparisons of this kind to inform understanding of neurophysiological processes and structures. It is for sure that similarity or resonance like correlates do not in any scientific way show cause but if you examine the scientific discoveries that have occurred over the centuries ? many were built or are generative of gut feelings about some or other resonance, similarity or correlate.
He further suggests that research shows growth occurs in cycles and that there are correlations between cycles of brain growth, cycles of cognitive growth, and cycles of learning (Fischer et al, 2005 and cited in Fischer et al, 2006). In many scientific communities, researchers are more likely to use a mixture of methods (Gorard and Taylor, 2004) to achieve a more rounded and valid understanding.
In China, play may be ?banned, tolerated, encouraged or indulged? (David and Powell, 2005, p246).
It seem reasonable therefore to presume that learning and development take place regardless of the context; either in or out of the education system and can in fact consist of information that is not necessarily that which is presented in the form of the national curriculum or that is of use-value to the present cultural ethos of a capitalist society. Both double-loop learning and reflective practice are learning styles used in Higher Education along with the Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic (VAK) learning styles system. His theory is widely used in schools today to enhance the teaching and learning process, and is often synthesised with Bloom?s taxonomy (Scholastic, 2003). Affective education focuses on the modality of learning, for example individual learning styles and how the brain processes information in addition to how the environment affects the process of learning.
Neuron pathways are sparse at birth but flourish rapidly when the baby?s brain as a biological structure interacts with its environment, and incoming stimuli such as visual, auditory and tacit flows in from the external environment, and from the internal environment in the guise of proprioceptual stimuli (the awareness of bodily movements).
Via the process of natural selection, only those synapse that contribute to the baby?s survival form permanent pathways whilst those that do not fade (Hebb, 1949). The former dialectics represent phylogenetic changes and the latter dialectic, ontogenetic.
Indeed, any sensory deprivation can lead to underdevelopment in terms of brain functioning ? visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, taste or smell. Indeed, as Berger and Luckmann (1966) point out, institutionalised actions that have become ?reciprocal typifications of habitualized actions? are social constructs, the patternings of social behaviours that we need to question in order to go beyond the confines of culture.
So, learning many start out as Pavlovian conditioning (habituated learning and associative learning) but through the practice of learning how to learn using reflective practice as a meta-cognitive strategy, learning will progress from habituated though goal directed learning and finally to reflective practice. The brain can affect the mind and the mind the brain, behaviour can affect mind then brain and visa versa. In this way, reflective practice is equivalent to working memory that directs the VAK perceptual system.
Learning for example, that in all probability correlates with synapse connections forming in the brain. The child may for example regard it as something they do when they add one number to another. Reflective practice is behaviour that can focus VAK data input and assimilate the heightening of consciousness awareness resulting in global consciousness ? the firing of neurons in unison in a wider coverage of grey matter.
If you learned a word using physical movements ? spelling letters with your fingers for example, like Sign Language used by the hearing impaired, then you will use the same finger movements when recalling it, or write the letters when recalling it in line with the kinaesthetic mode (Aubusson, 1997).
At this point, several synapses may or may not be firing in unison with other synapses at the same neuron.
From engaging in physical activity (kinaesthetic), and critical activity through dialogue, we conceive ideas, which the above shows are either stored in memory or are generative of it. If higher education (HE) practitioners are to impart educational pedagogy to budding educational practitioners, it would be beneficial to know just how much we can rely on the information we use to develop learners in HE who then go on to develop learners in primary and secondary education.
One could conclude from this that if VAK learning programmes are not used properly then it could lead to sensory deprivation rather than enhanced leaning. This is why reflective practice and personal development planning have been introduced along side learning style diagnostics and multi-sensory teaching and learning strategies.
The unification of procedural (knowing how) and declarative (knowing what) information is essential for the acquisition of knowledge because it represents the synthesis of the abstract and concrete.
The model explains how the phenomenology of spirit (Hegel?s idea) becomes material and how the critique of material practice leads to the formation of ideas: Marxian dialectical materialism.
So too is the Marxian-Vygotskian methodology of learning and development: practical-critical activity as a ?tool? for understanding learning and development and a ?result? it can be an activity to spur development on (Newman and Holzman, 1993). In terms of neurophysiological problems, how can it be shown that reflective practice is similar or equal to working memory?
The concept map may pertain to some situation or event that we are trying to understand through the organization of knowledge in the form of a concept map, thus providing the context for the concept map. In the creation of new knowledge, cross-links often represent creative leaps on the part of the knowledge producer.
The fundamental idea in Ausubela€™s cognitive psychology is that learning takes place by the assimilation of new concepts and propositions into existing concept and propositional frameworks held by the learner.
This is a phenomenal ability that is part of the evolutionary heritage of all normal human beings. Instructional strategies that emphasize relating new knowledge to the learnera€™s existing knowledge foster meaningful learning. In a related test, if we give learners 10-12 familiar but unrelated words to memorize in a few seconds, most will recall only 5-9 words. It is good that schools are recognizing that there are important human capabilities other than the recall of specific cognitive information so often the only form of learning represented in multiple-choice tests used commonly in schools and corporations.
While concept maps can help, students also need to be taught something about brain mechanisms and knowledge organization, and this instruction should accompany the use of concept maps. Included in this group was a graduate who had recently taken a course in the Physics of Planetary Motion, who also believed erroneously that seasons were caused by the earth moving closer to the sun in summer and further away in the winter.
Epistemology is that branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of knowledge and new knowledge creation. There are now about 460,000 words in the English language (most of which are concept labels), and these can be combined to form an infinite number of propositions. It is often stated that the first step to learning about something is to ask the right questions. Although this rank order may be only approximate, it helps to begin the process of map construction. This is necessary as one begins to struggle with the process of building a good hierarchical organization.
This student was a good oral reader, but she had very poor reading comprehension and was a committed rote learner (see Novak & Gowin, 1984, page 108). This also produces some frustration, and they must choose to identify the most prominent and most useful cross-links. Using CmapTools, it is possible to use concept maps to access any material that can be presented digitally, including materials prepared by the mapmaker. When students work cooperatively in groups and use concept maps to guide their learning, significantly greater learning occurs (Preszler, 2004).
Through CmapServers, users of all ages and working in many disciplines have published thousands of maps on all topics and domains. The high degree of explicitness of concept maps makes them an ideal vehicle for exchange of ideas or for the collaborative construction of new knowledge.
CmapTools has a recorder feature tht allows recording and playback of steps in map construction, including identification of each contributor. The lower right window shows propositions from other participants in Soup, some of which have discussion threads attached questioning or commenting on the proposition. A question like a€?What are plants?a€? will lead to a declarative, more classificatory concept map than the question a€?Why do we need plants?a€? Experiments show that not only the focus question, but also the root concept of a concept map have a strong influence on the quality of the resulting concept map (Derbentseva et al., 2004, 2006). Figure 10 presents the focus question and parking lot for the focus question a€?What is the structure of the Universe?a€? The student, group of students, or class is expected to build a concept map that answers the question and includes at least the concepts in the list. If the a€?skeletona€? map contains 20 concepts, which makes it more of a complete map, the final map could be expected to contain about 50 to 60 concepts. Of course, the learner still needs to select new concepts from the material and construct new propositions on the concept map that add meanings and clarity to the map.
Our plan is to use The World of Science books as a starting point for a demonstration project for A New Model for Education.
There will be much feedback from classrooms helping the teams to refine their work, sharing a€?electronic portfoliosa€? using CmapTools. There remains in the New Model plenty of room for acquisition of specific facts and procedures, but now these should be learned within the context of powerful conceptual frameworks. Since the fundamental characteristic of meaningful learning is integration of new knowledge with the learnersa€™ previous concept and propositional frameworks, proceeding from the more general, more inclusive concepts to the more specific information usually serves to encourage and enhance meaningful learning. Such students fail to construct powerful concept and propositional frameworks, leading them to see learning as a blur of myriad facts, dates, names, equations, or procedural rules to be memorized. Concept mapping has been shown to help learners learn, researchers create new knowledge, administrators to better structure and manage organizations, writers to write, and evaluators assess learning.
Some interrelationships between constructivist models of learning and current neurobiological theory, with implications for science education.


Alternative instructional systems and the development of problem solving skills in physics. Experiments on the effect of map structure and concept quantification during concept map construction.
The magical number seven, plus or minus two: Some limits on our capacity for processing information. Concept maps and vee diagrams: Two metacognitive tools for science and mathematics education. Human constructivism: A unification of psychological and epistemological phenomena in meaning making. Learning, creating, and using knowledge: Concept maps as facilitative tools in schools and corporations. Meaningful learning: The essential factor for conceptual change in limited or appropriate propositional hierarchies (liphs) leading to empowerment of learners. In this paper, I intend to outline the mapping of neurophysiology to learning styles as a unification of theory and practice, a synthesis that is essential for effective teaching and learning. Which is what you would expect but again, as Fischer himself suggests, correlations are not cause and effect relationships and all such relationships do need to be held with scepticism despite their face validity. The 2001 audit of educational research carried out be Gorard and Taylor shows, that as long as the methods used are properly discussed and procedures documented so they can be followed, the reader of the research can make an informed judgement about the rigour and validity of the research. Neuroscientific evidence suggests that during play activity synaptic growth is evident (Sutton-smith, 1997 cited in David and Powell, 2005).
Therefore, whether neuroscientific understanding is applied to classroom practice or not, the learning and development that does take place may or may not be directly related to the intervention that stems from the unification of neurophysiology and education anyway!
The common thread here is that learning styles resonate with neurophysiological modulatory systems.
Bloom?s taxonomy outlines the cognitive skills to be developed and Gardner?s multiple intelligences are the intellectual modalities that help us to develop the cognitive skills. Indeed, any truly scientific methodology involves the integration of theory and practice, i.e. Eliot (1999) suggests it to be a case of ?use to or lose it?, and ?neurons that firer together wirer together?.
In addition, individual differences can be associated with a sensitivity period (Bruer, 1999).
Goswami (2004) for example, discusses several pieces of research that look at the relationship between sensory deprivation and consequential brain area functioning. The superior colliculus for example, that is responsible for controlling attentive orienting responses shows increased firing rates when multisensory stimuli are presented at the same time, leading to the multi-sensory enhancement effect.
Dewey believed that life was an experiential journey in which we come up against problems that we need to solve. In this way, both ?reflection-in-action? and ?reflection-on-action? are ways of maintaining a level of practice conducive to learning and development for the practitioner and the learner because they are cognitive strategies we can use to question the take-for-granted we sometimes see as reality, and initiate changes necessary for survival in an ever-changing environment and social niche. Reflective practice would be seated at the top of the taxonomy fully incorporative of all other meta-cognitive functions (Lisle, 2006). We can see the dialectic movement of brain-mind as brain matter produces ideas and incoming information and ideas result in the production of brain matter i.e. Whilst working memory is regarded as modality free in terms of sensory perception, it does itself modulate consciousness because of its awareness of and manipulation of incoming perceptual data. But an adult would tell you that mathematics refers to group of sciences such as algebra, geometry and calculus that deals with interrelations between time, space, movement and number. It has been found that LTP is associated with the hippocampus, in particular, the storage of declarative memory. Nonetheless, research also suggests that information can be stored visually for example yet cued by auditory means. The process Vygotsky referred to as intra- and inter-psychological activity in the zone of proximal development, when abstract and concrete experiences are brought together during concept formation, i.e.
Therefore, the mapping of neurophysiological levels of understanding onto cognitive-behavioural levels of understanding, as part of the supporting evidence of VAKs? validity and usefulness, along with the usefulness of other brain-modulatory systems such as reflective practice (working memory?) could lead to profound consequences if the mapping or theorising is wrong. Teachers using the VAK system can for example, after diagnosis, perceive individuals as either visual, auditory or kinaesthetic learners thereby imbuing those labelled with those qualities. It could be that individuals who are kinaesthetic - many children with ADHD and Autism for example, need more space and time orientated learning environments, in line with Piagetian child-centred learning. Information not only of the individual?s learning style preference but also of other learning styles feeds back into learning ? self-reflective learning: Knowledge in light of practice you might say!
What I have referred to as the reflective practice cycle of cognition ? the dialectic of mind-brain and behaviour (Lisle, 2000, 2006) in which the osmosis of sensory data through long-term potentiation converts into brain matter, the dialectic of mind-idea and brain-matter (Lisle, forthcoming). Once science reaches this point then perhaps Einstein?s formula ? E = MC2 will be applied to learning and development and predictions made.
The label for most concepts is a word, although sometimes we use symbols such as + or %, and sometimes more than one word is used.
There are two features of concept maps that are important in the facilitation of creative thinking: the hierarchical structure that is represented in a good map and the ability to search for and characterize new cross-links.
This knowledge structure as held by a learner is also referred to as the individuala€™s cognitive structure. After age 3, new concept and propositional learning is mediated heavily by language, and takes place primarily by a reception learning process where new meanings are obtained by asking questions and getting clarification of relationships between old concepts and propositions and new concepts and propositions. Evaluation strategies that encourage learners to relate ideas they possess with new ideas also encourage meaningful learning. The reality is that unless students possess at least a rudimentary conceptual understanding of the phenomenon they are investigating, the activity may lead to little or no gain in their relevant knowledge and may be little more than busy work.
If the words are unfamiliar, such as technical terms introduced for the first time, the learner may do well to recall correctly two or three of these.
While the alphanumeric images Sperling used in his studies were quickly forgotten, other kinds of images are retained much longer. Studies by Penfield and Perot (1963), among others, indicate that regions of our brain that are activated when we hear sounds are the same regions that are active when we recall sounds. One reason we encourage the integration of the broad range of activities represented in our New Model for Education is to provide opportunities for these other abilities to be represented and expressed. The information in the above paragraphs should become part on the instructional program for skillful use of concept maps.
In fact, the earth is slightly closer to the sun when it is winter in Massachusetts, rather than in summer.
There is an important relationship between the psychology of learning, as we understand it today, and the growing consensus among philosophers and epistemologists that new knowledge creation is a constructive process involving both our knowledge and our emotions or the drive to create new meanings and new ways to represent these meanings.
Although most combinations of words might be nonsense, there is still the possibility of creating an infinite number of valid and meaningful propositions. We refer to the list of concepts as a parking lot, since we will move these concepts into the concept map as we determine where they fit in.
Computer software programs are even better in that they allow moving of concepts together with linking statements and the moving of groups of concepts and links to restructure the map. This process involves what Bloom (1956) identified as high levels of cognitive performance, namely evaluation and synthesis of knowledge.
In this way, concept maps can serve as the indexing and navigational tools for complex domains of knowledge, as will be illustrated later with NASA materials on Mars (Briggs et al., 2004).
In our work with both teachers and students, small groups working cooperatively to construct concept maps have proven to be useful in many contexts. While concept maps on these public servers are only a sample of concept maps submitted by persons using CmapTools, and some do not meet our criteria of good concept maps, they nevertheless serve to illustrate diverse applications.
We have also found that the obstacles deriving from personal insecurities and fear of embarrassment are largely circumvented, since critical comments are directed at the concept map, not at the person(s) building the map. Experienced concept mappers agree with researchers that the most challenging and difficult aspect of constructing a concept map is constructing the propositions; that is, determining what linking phrases will clearly depict the relationship between concepts. In this case, we are probably referring to using a relatively complete (not skeleton) map as a scaffold, expecting students to go deeper into the topic by creating several submaps that are linked to the starting point map. Here we also see a submap that might be created by a group of learners, and a sample of two resources that could be accessed via icons on the submap. Thus, the learner or team of learners is very actively engaged in the meaning building process, an essential requirement for meaningful learning to occur.
To begin, a€?expert skeletona€? concept maps have been prepared for some sections of the grade two book and the whole of the grade four book of the World of Science entitled The Expanding World of Science.
This feedback should help us to rapidly refine concept maps, techniques and approaches for improving practice of the New Model for Education.
Research (Bransford et al., 1999) has shown that factual information acquired in a context of meaningful learning is not only retained longer, but this information can be used much more successfully to solve new problems. Teachers should work collaboratively to build on some of the simpler concept maps dealing with education ideas and perhaps add resources to some of the more complex concept maps. There is nothing written in stone that says multiple choice tests must be used from grade school through university, and perhaps in time even national achievement exams will utilize concept mapping as a powerful evaluation tool. Thus, in curriculum planning, we need to construct a global a€?macro mapa€? showing the major ideas we plan to present in the whole course, or in a whole curriculum, and also more specific a€?micro mapsa€? to show the knowledge structure for a very specific segment of the instructional program. For these students, the subject matter of most disciplines, and especially science, mathematics, and history, is a cacophony of information to memorize, and they usually find this boring. In fact, the biography of one Nobel Lauriat in biology (Barbara McClintock) was entitled, A Feeling for the Organism (Keller, 1983). However, when we began to concept map the expert knowledge of a cardiologist who literally a€?wrote the booka€? on this technology, it was evident that there were concepts missing in the map and that the a€?tacit knowledgea€? of our expert was not fully expressed in his book or in our interviews. In addition to submaps, a wide variety of digital resources can be accessed via the concept maps.
Knowledge modeling and the creation of el-tech: A performance support system for electronic technicians.
The underlying fundamental question being: ?Does a one-to-one mapping of neurophysiological levels of brain activity to cognitive-behavioural levels really enhance educational pedagogy?? This question is posed partly in response to the way existing neurophysiological psychology is applied as educational pedagogy, which is ?predicated on an over-simplification of brain research? leading to unsatisfactory teaching practice (Geake, 2005, p11), and partly because I instruct students in the use of the VAK system and reflexive practice as learning styles for early years practice as well for the students themselves. Therefore, cultures that encourage play may provide a richer environment for childhood cognitive development. It is argued here that reflective practice is a brain modulatory system, which can be described in terms of neurophysical activity in brain-mind. Reflective practice unites the VAK modalities and Bloom?s taxonomy of skills in the cyclical movement of reflection and action.
Kinaesthetic learners learn by doing a task rather than through instruction of the auditory or visual kind. The process continues up to 10 years of age and even into adulthood, synaptic connections can develop as the brain forms connections biologically between neurons that in consciousness are manifest as memorises and ideas (Blakemore and Frith, 2006: Lisle, 2006). If learning and the associated synaptic connections do not form within a given sensitivity period, then the baby or child may not develop sight properly or hearing or gross motor development can be impaired. Depth perception for example, is influenced more by early deprivation rather than later (Fagiolini and Hensch, 2000).
In addition, it has been suggested that multi-sensory structures may affect unimodal brain structures (Roberts, 2002, p350-4). The VAK modalities are data pathways to the brain that convey essential information linking external environmental systems including inter-psychological data input systems to intra-psychological meta-cognitive systems.
The working memory can when viewed as equivalent to reflective practice in this way, not only modulate consciousness but prolong it, direct it and as a consequence prolong synaptic firing therefore increase wiring, i.e. Craik and Lockhart (1972) suggest that attention and perceptual processes are as important as the rehearsal of information for retention. Damage to the hippocampus for example results in information not passing from the short-term memory to the long-term memory.
Individuals can be cloned as particular qualities and not as possessing a quality amongst others. This is one reason for using VAK assessments as part of the teaching and learning process, but along side self-reflective learning to enhance development.
Through the reflexive cycle: observe, reflect, plan and act, or plan, act, observe and reflect, then re-plan, ideas are generative of critiquing practical activity and also guide it, it is an ontogenic cycle of evolution. Use different colors for circles and links to help children see these as different types of information. Propositions are statements about some object or event in the universe, either naturally occurring or constructed. Out of the necessity to find a better way to represent childrena€™s conceptual understanding emerged the idea of representing childrena€™s knowledge in the form of a concept map.
This acquisition is mediated in a very important way when concrete experiences or props are available; hence the importance of a€?hands-ona€? activity for science learning with young children, but this is also true with learners of any age and in any subject matter domain.
Typical objective tests seldom require more than rote learning (Bloom, 1956; Holden, 1992). Our brains have a remarkable capacity for acquiring and retaining visual images of people or photos.
While we can locate regions of the brain that are active in learning or recall of information using positron emission tomography (PET) scans, the specific mechanisms by which neurons store this information is not known. Nevertheless, we seen the organizing opportunities afforded by associating the various activities with an explicit knowledge structure as very beneficial. The primary reason we have seasons in latitudes away from the equator is due to the tilt of the earth on its axis toward the sun in summer resulting in longer days and more direct radiation, thus greater heating. Learners struggling to create good concept maps are themselves engaged in a creative process, and this can be challenging, especially to learners who have spent most of their life learning by rote. Some concepts may remain in the parking lot as the map is completed if the mapmaker sees no good connection for these with other concepts in the map. When CmapTools is used in conjunction with a computer projector, two or more individuals can easily collaborate in building a concept map and see changes as they progress in their work. Concept mapping is an easy way to encourage very high levels of cognitive performance, when the process is done well.
In the early 1990s, Latin America, students using the IBM Net (before the Internet) were very successful in creating concept maps both with students in their classroom and with students in other countries (CaA±as et al., 2001).
When a concept map is saved to a CmapServer, a a€?web pagea€? version of the map is also stored, so a WWW browser is sufficient to browse through all the published concept maps. Having learners comment on each othera€™s concept maps, whether they are in the same classroom or in different schools, is an effective form of peer-review and collaboration. So giving the student some of the concepts does not take away from the difficulty in the map construction, although it may somewhat limit the creativity of the student in selecting the concepts to include. The CmapTools Network may serve as a clearinghouse for some of these efforts through its Public servers in Italy and other countries. Even with the current state of technology and pedagogical understandings, it is possible for schools, states or countries to mount a New Model for Education.
This is a chicken-and-egg problem because concept maps cannot be required on national achievement tests if most students have not been given opportunities to learn to use this knowledge representation tool.
Faculty working independently or collaboratively can redesign course syllabi or an entire curriculum. Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) stress the importance of capturing and using the knowledge of corporate experta€™s tacit knowledge if a company wants to become a€?the knowledge creating companya€?. Thus, the concept map not only allowed us to represent the experta€™s knowledge, but also to find gaps in the knowledge structure we were procuring through interviews. Paper presented at the Seventh World Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education, Washington DC. Online concept maps: Enhancing collaborative learning by using technology with concept maps. Paper presented at the Symposium at the 11th Biennial Conference of the European Association for Research in Learning and Instruction (EARLI), Cyprus. A case study in the research paradigm of human-centered computing: Local expertise in weather forecasting. Why minimal guidance during iInstruction does not work: an analysis of the failure of constructivist, discovery, problem-based, experiential, and iInquiry-based teaching.
It is also argued that reflective practice and indeed other learning styles such as VAK have use-value to present educational practice. The bringing together of the abstract and the concrete: concept formation through reflective cycles of theory production and testing via experimentation is in itself learning and development.
What I am leading up to is an understanding of brain development that has a sensitivity to environmental effects some of which have a long lasting consequence.
Reflective practice indeed, being the high-order brain modulator that directs the VAK data input system.
Therefore, it seems reasonable to presume LPT is equivalent to long term memory (LTM) and short term potentiation (STP) equivalent to short term memory (STM). This can lead to the self-fulfilling prophecy (Rosenthal and Jacobson, 1968) that entails not just the social environment affecting the child?s self-esteem; it could actually affect the child?s mind and brain. Learners can be empowered because they can see their strengths and weakness and build on both. To map it to neurophysiology would be to describe it as the neuro-chemical activity in the brain as neurochemicals flow from the nervous system into cell structures and the DNA where information is stored as atomic particles; particles that have entered the biological system via the senses (Lisle, 2006). Propositions contain two or more concepts connected using linking words or phrases to form a meaningful statement.
In fact, the worst forms of objective tests, or short-answers tests, require verbatim recall of statements and this may be impeded by meaningful learning where new knowledge is assimilated into existing frameworks, making it difficult to recall specific, verbatim definitions or descriptions.
For example, in one study (Shepard, 1967) presented 612 pictures of common scenes to subjects, and later asked which of two similar pictures shown was one of the 612 seen earlier?
Other ideas for improving instruction to achieve understanding of the subject is available elsewhere (Mintzes et al., 1998). In winter, the axis of the earth points away from the sun, thus resulting in shorter days and less intense radiation.
Rote learning contributes very little at best to our knowledge structures, and therefore cannot underlie creative thinking or novel problem solving. CmapTools also allows for collaboration between individuals in the same room or anywhere in the world, and the maps can be built synchronously or asynchronously, depending on the mapmakersa€™ schedules. This is one reason concept mapping can also be a very powerful evaluation tool (Edmondson, 2000). In our own classes and workshops, and in classes taught by our students and colleagues, small groups of students working collectively to construct concept maps can produce some remarkably good maps. Whenever a concept map is made with CmapTools and then saved, the maker is asked to provide a focus question, as well as key concepts for this concept map.
It does provide the teacher with insight into which concepts the student(s) had trouble integrating into the concept map, indicating little or no understanding of these concepts. The a€?expert skeletona€? concept maps would serve as a starting point for students and teachers for each section illustrated in the book, and then students would use these Cmaps together with CmapTools to search the WWW for pertinent resources and ideas.
We anticipate that an abundance of both anecdotal and empirical data will flow from these efforts in a few years. On the other hand, if state, regional, and national exams would begin to include concept maps as a segment of the exam, there would be a great incentive for teachers to teach students how to use this tool. For example, faculty working together to plan instruction in veterinary medicine at Cornell University constructed the concept map shown in Figure 15.
In western societies, a child may learn to fish or nurture a doll as play activity yet in eastern cultures a child will do these activities in the same way adults do.
Piagetian pedagogy is correct but gravely mis-understood, visual, auditory and kinaesthetic sensory input enhances understanding and learning. What this discussion also shows is that neuron development within the brain is sensory dependent: visual, auditory and tacit. Through the thinking process in which past experience is brought into the equation as a critical measure and catalogue of experience to choose from to guide ongoing actions, we can reach a state of reflection that involves a critical review of our actions. This is the dialectical relationship, the psychophysics of brain-mind (Lisle, forthcoming). As the Morton and Frith (1995) model shows, behaviour, learning using just one sensory modality will affect mind and brain.
In addition, by acquiring the skill of reflective practice, students can not only apply reflective thinking to their own development but also to their teaching practice so that rather than just engaging in knowledge-in-use when they become practitioners, they will know how to engage in reflection-in-action and reflection-on-action to prevent the dissemination of mis-understood pedagogy. Chein (2003), discuss the ?embedded-processes model? (Cowan, 1999) which examines neurological activity in the brain and he suggests this type of analogy is more useful than trying to find an area of the brain that could be called the music area science area, or working memory. This kind of problem was recognized years ago in Hoffmana€™s (1962) The Tyranny of Testing.
What is interfering with these 21 Harvard people is confusion with the common experience that when we are closer to a fire or lamp, the heat is more intense than when we are further away. As people create and observe new or existing objects or events, the creative people will continue to create new concents and new knowledge. Figure 13 illustrates one of the a€?expert skeletona€? concept maps that could be used as the starting point for building a knowledge model, preferably students working in teams and sharing ideas.
Based on the solid theoretical and related research findings now available, there is every reason to be optimistic that these innovative efforts will be successful.
Therefore, whether the child is learning through play or by taking on adult tasks, both should in fact stimulate synaptic growth. Thus, this suggests that a learning style system of development enhancement based on sensory modalities has more use-value than other types of learning style system because of the affinity the VAK learning styles system has with physiological processes, the visual, auditory and kinaesthetic perceptual modalities.
Yet working memory has for a long time been placed in the frontal cortex evidenced by fMRI and I am sure this kind of mapping will continue.
Figure 1 shows an example of a concept map that describes the structure of concept maps and illustrates the above characteristics. Three days later, they were still 92% correct, and three months later they were correct 58% of the time. Thus, these people have failed to recognize that this same phenomenon is not operating to give seasons on Earth.
Creating new methods of observing or recording events usually opens up new opportunities for new knowledge creation.
Currently there are a number of projects in the USA and elsewhere that are doing research to see if better evaluation tools can be developed, including the use of concept maps. Boumedine (Ed.), Proceedings of IKS 2002 - the IASTED international conference on information and knowledge sharing (pp. So clearly, childhood, play and learning can have a number of definitions each one as valid as another, and each one capable of eliciting learning and development.
Multi-modal input can under certain conditions lead to multi-sensory synaptic firing and therefore wiring of synaptic connections in the brain that represent memory and learning. One might call Dewey?s reflective experience ?the retroductive method? of investigation ? reflexivity (Lisle, 2000).
There is a suggestion of a sensitivity period but as sensitivity periods go, there are degrees of effect and it is not always measurable or permanent.
This and many other studies have shown that humans have a remarkable ability to recall images, although they soon forget many of the details in the images.
For example, the creation of the concept mapping method for recording subjecta€™s understandings has led new opportunities to study the process of learning and new knowledge creation.
Dewey?s reflection was meant to be a means of change-action for social reform as well as educational reforms and personal development.
Considering how often we look at pennies, it is interesting that the subjects asked to draw a penny in a study by Nickerson and Adams (1979) omitted more than half of the features or located them in the wrong place. This is commonly observed in many, many examples of a€?misconceptionsa€? in every field of study. Some features of the latest versions of CmapTools also facilitate the use of concept maps for assessment. We believe that integrating various kind of images into a conceptual framework using concept mapping software like CmapTools (described below) could enhance iconic memory, and we hope research on this will be done. The only solution to the problem of overcoming misconceptions is to help learners learn meaningfully, and using concept maps can be very helpful. For example, the a€?Compare concept mapsa€? tool allows the comparison of an a€?experta€? concept map for a topic with maps constructed by students, and all similar or different concepts and propositions are shown in color.



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