Tuesday, February 27, 2007

ICT culture is changing children's brains

Dr Martin Westwell from Oxford University is doing the first keynote presentation on the changes on brainwaves caused by ICT. He's doing a phenomenally interesting presentation about how connections between brain cells are stimulated by learning, by significance and all sorts of other things. Plus, he quotes Bill Watterson's Calvin & Hobbes... always good in my book.

Socialisation rather than information has emerged as the primary use of the internet.
I won't document it here, hopefully it'll be podcast, but it's really interesting - especially if you're a computer gamer (Medal of Honor vs. Tetris, and using Super Monkey Ball 2 as a measure of how quick and effective surgeons are) so here's a bit of MoH...

He's talking about interfaces for Learning Platforms - saying that if we increase the gola relevant stimuli in an interface, those who are gamers and have a greater perceptual load capacity will still be easily distracted.
He's got some really interesting reflections and observations about TV in terms of how cognitively demanding it is - comparing Starsky and Hutch and The Sopranos (from the book Everything Bad Is Good For You by Stephen Johnson.
Brilliant and provocative (to my mind) - the sort of thing that makes it worth travelling all the way to Torquay for. He's just rubbished VAK Learning Styles, Brain Gym ("cleverly marketed - no foundation") and the idea that Water Makes You Smarter. A few years ago apparently Kevin Warwick addressed the conference - I've never really had a lot of time for him, but this seemed much more stimulating. Whether it's all correct, I've no idea...
His final point is a Venn diagram with three circles - Learning specialists, Subject specialists, Technology specialists and overlaps between the three, saying that rather than being one or t'other there should be overlaps between all three.

1 comment:

  1. I think that you're on safe ground not having much time for Kevin Warwick. I've heard such sentiments from professors at a top university (who shall remain nameless).

    The research that Martin Westwell has carried out seems worth looking at. Do you know where I can get hold of it?

    I'm not completely persuaded by the conclusions of 'cognitive demand' of modern television programmes though - and have posted a bit more on this in my blog.