Memory and Effective Learning Enviroments

 

I was set the task of creating a short 1-3 minute film based on something specific that I found intriguing, valuable or worth while to my teaching practice that I had learned over the seminars, lectures and experience of my subject specialism of I.C.T. We had to conclude the film by linking the information to making the most effective, productive and comfortable learning space.

I chose to base my film on memory as I found this topic very interesting and I also studied this in A level psychology, giving me some background knowledge. I have not included as much psychology knowledge as I wanted because I thought it was more beneficial to stick to the main bases of education and the perfect learning environment.

However, there was something I realised which intrigued me after I had made my film: ‘How can the use of Short Term Memory (STM) specifically aid learning environments?’

The STM of Aktinson and Shiffrin’s (1968) model of memory can only hold 5-9 things at any one time, according to miller’s magic number seven, plus or minus two (Miller, 1956). Unless you chunk bits of information together, for instance;

 

(Fisher, 2015)

Using Miller’s (1956) chunking method you can retain a lot more information therefore making the most out of the 5-9 items of knowledge. By taking this information about STM storage and chunking, an effective learning environment can form. By only having 5-9 key points on presentations and by using chunking to get the most information across, you can keep the students minds working and also make sure that the information has safely travelled from sensory memory to STM. After teaching the students the 5-9 items of information, there needs to be a time where the students can retain and write down the information they gathered and process it in to Long term memory, ready to begin again with the next 5-9 items of information.

This can be recreated in a classroom layout, by having 5-9 different stations explaining a different items of information, where the students move round the room using the different stations for their intended use. This would hopefully help push the information from sensory memory to STM.

REFERENCES

Atkinson, R. C., & Shiffrin, R. M. (1968). Chapter: Human memory: A proposed system and its control processes. In Spence, K. W., & Spence, J. T. The psychology of learning and motivation (Volume 2). New York: Academic Press. pp. 89–195.

Miller, G. (1956). The magical number seven, plus or minus two: some limits on our capacity for processing information. Psychological Review, 63(2), pp.81-97.

Fisher, O. (2015). Have I Lost My Mind — Or Only My Car Keys? Technology’s Effect on Memory. [online] The Huffington Post. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ossa-fisher/have-i-lost-my-mind-or-on_b_7895534.html [Accessed 17 Feb. 2016].

Learning Space Project

Screenshot 2016-03-07 at 10.25.14 AM.pngI worked on the project of designing an imaginary seminar room for the use of BEd Primary Education students. I have attached the completed academic poster to this blog post to show the final design.

I focused mainly on the use of the body senses to create the most productive, creative and comfortable workplace. I learned about how visual stimulation through colours and displays helps people to learn. Then I considered the use of different technology and resources that students could use, and how Touch walls may enhance this.

It was difficult to remove the confining idea of a classroom based set up where the students face the ‘front’. There are many positive reasons as to why a classroom has a ‘front’, for instance getting eye contact with all pupils at once when describing the next task (Admin, 2006). However I wanted to break the norms of a classroom and by taking into account the students maturity I could remove the ‘front’ and make the whole room a ‘space’ for learning.

References

Admin, (2006). Teacher positioning in the classroom. [online] TeachingEnglish | British Council | BBC. Available at: https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/teacher-positioning-classroom [Accessed 17 Feb. 2016].

 

Perception in Learning

Now that I understand that learning consists of many techniques I can develop this idea further to consider how this is affected by individual perception. Perception is a factor in learning that can make it engaging, difficult or even easier. In this blog post I will be considering; What is perception? How can I use perception to increase engagement? What skills come with learning in a perceptive way?

To begin with perception can be described in two ways; being ​aware of things through ​physical​ senses and also by a belief or opinion (Dictionary.cambridge.org, 2016). Within my classroom I hope to consider both. I want to understand the way the physical environment helps stimulate learning and also how the pupils perceive and are engaged with the learning. Perception is personal to the individual as no one can perceive what they can perceive. From a rhizomatric viewpoint, perception can be used to expand and contradict ideas and learning, causing more branches to form and more experiences to be drawn upon to prove and disprove ideas.

Using perception tricks while teaching causes a sense of disbelief and wonder. It gets children to investigate and ask how. It also increases their attention to keep the lesson fresh and engaging. For example, if I was to tell my pupils that I was going to tell one lie in the next hour and if correctly guessed a prize would be given (Wheeler, 2016). The children will undoubtedly focus their attention on me for the full hour, waiting to catch me out, unaware that the lie that I told was that I was going to lie.

There are many skills used in perceptive learning including thinking outside the box, problem solving and creativity. Children should be pushed to evolve these desirable skills as they can be moulded for use across the curriculum and throughout life.

I have been set a task, the task is to design an imaginary seminar room for the use of BEd Primary Education students. I will be looking into how to create a powerful learning space with the lectures and seminars I have attended.

References 

Dictionary.cambridge.org, (2016). perception Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary. [online] Available at: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/perception [Accessed 8 Feb. 2016].

Wheeler, S. (2016). Perception.

What is Learning?

When first asked this question by my lecturer (Wheeler, 2016), I instantly came up with the definition of ‘To study, be told or experience something that makes you retain new knowledge or skills’. Over the following two hours I realised how big this question actually was, despite the fact that I have been learning throughout my entire life.

There are three behavioral techniques which break apart my simple definition of learning. To explain this in its most basic form; Behavioural, Cognitive and Constructionism all share the idea of having a stimulus and a response (Pavlov, Gantt and Folʹbort, 1928). In my interpretation, the stimulus is a book, teacher, webpage or a life learning experience and the response is new understanding in either skills or knowledge. However, by only looking at these three theories, it is possible to create an abundance of different ways learning can be explained. Therefore making my initial definition too basic yet transferable to all three theories.

The concept of learning can be expanded through the Rhizomatic viewpoint. A rhizome is a plant that has a vast network of roots underground that spreads as far as it can (Cormier, 2011). This can be transferred to the idea of learning by interconnecting understanding, using multiple resources and ability to be modified according to needs (Deleuze and Guattari, 1987). I found this an entrancing idea with the added wonder of no boundaries and no one starting point of where the learning could begin or end.

To conclude learning is an unmistakably huge topic with different techniques and variations that all have their positive and negative attributes. Learning is also adaptable. Adaptable through time. Adaptable to the teacher. Adaptable to the learner.

References

Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F. (1987). A thousand plateaus. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Wheeler, S. (2016). Pedagogy.

Cormier, D. (2011). Rhizomatic Learning – Why we teach?. [Blog] Dave’s Educational Blog. Available at: http://davecormier.com/edblog/2011/11/05/rhizomatic-learning-why-learn/ [Accessed 1 Feb. 2016].

Pavlov, I., Gantt, W. and Folʹbort, G. (1928). Lectures on conditioned reflexes. New York: International Publishers.