Stanford’s Brainwave Learning Center


I think neuroscience
is really fascinating, like how they’re as many
synapses in your brain than in the Milky Way. And I feel like whenever I hear
something about neuroscience, like I just have a lot
of more questions that just pop into my brain. Brainwave Learning Center
is a novel collaboration between Stanford University
and Synapse School. And it’s essentially
a place where we can engage students and
teachers in neuroscience. We are hoping to play a role in
shaping the future of education by better understanding some
of the enduring challenges that children have, as well as
some of the exciting successes that children have in a
modern educational context. By being embedded
in a school, we think that we can,
for the first time, really see our schooling
experiences impacting the development of systems like
the brain circuitry for reading or the brain circuitry
for computing numbers. We can look at brainwaves,
and specifically, these neural oscillations that we know are
related to different cognitive processes and look at
what happens over time. We are trying to
understand more about how students’ brains change
as they engage in the learning process. From this partnership, we
really hope as a school that we can learn about
our student population. We’re hoping that
our teachers are getting incredible
professional development around this emerging field. And I really hope
we can be a beacon for other schools,
other educators, to show them that
this is possible. One hope that we have is that
students in the ordinary course of their elementary and
middle school education, they’ll get to see sort
of scientists in action asking novel questions
and they will also start to see their brain as this
incredibly complex entity which is changing and adapting
all the time in the face of their experiences. One of the ways that I’ve
been working with teachers is to supplement
their curriculum and to co-design and
co-create lessons with them. So we first learned about
like, what neurons are. They’re the messengers
of the brain. We learned about the different
parts of the neurons, and then we got introduced
to the Brainwave Learning Center, where we learned what
a brainwave was and we actually tried all the
different equipment. We did the nets. The more excited
they are, the more they know about
brainwaves, the more they are excited to
participate in our research. And it really makes it a
richer experience for them. Getting students
to see that there is a physiological
signature to their cognition is really powerful. When children start to see that
their own brains are incredibly active and changing as
they learn new things, the idea of learning in school
might change pretty profoundly for them. For more, please visit
us at stanford.edu.

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