Media project

A recent study in Denmark has concluded that children can improve their math scores on tests if movement based learning is incorporated into their classrooms. The experiment conducted showed that there was a significant difference between the scores of children who performed various motor based learning activities and those that did not.

The study was done in a six week long period with one hundred and sixty five children participating. These children were in the first grade with an average age of seven and a half years old and all were from Copenhagen. In order to compare the math scores for each individual, three math tests were given at three different times during and after the experiment. The first test was given out immediately to the children as a baseline, the second was given out during the experiment, and the third was given out eight weeks after the experiment had ended.

The children in the experiment were randomly placed in three different groups in order to test various methods of motor activity incorporation. The first group was the control group and thus had no motor activity incorporated into their learning activities. The second group was the fine motor movement group, which performed math problems while manipulating LEGO bricks. The third group was the gross motor movement group, which performed activities such as hopscotch while solving math problems.

The experiment results were that all groups did improve their mathematical skills, but that the children in the gross motor movement group had the greatest improvement overall. The fine motor movement group came in second and the control group showed the least improvement. A sub group analysis was also performed using the information of the first math test given before the experiment was conducted. This analysis showed that children who initially performed normally on math test, performed the best when placed in the gross motor movement group, and that children who initially performed poorly did not make significant improvements.

From these results, the Danish article concludes that incorporating motor movement into learning activities can improve children’s math scores and that gross motor movement can result in the most improvement for children who perform normally on math tests. However, low math performers do not show as much improvement in gross motor movement activities.

Since the children in this experiment were allocated into random groups the causal claims this article makes are supported, but these results can only be attributed to Danish children in the first grade. While this experiment is insightful and is very well conducted, this does not mean that all children of varying ethnicities and ages can increase their mathematical skills by incorporating motor movement into their lessons. The sample size was also quite small and could contribute to skewed results. Overall the research is very impressive despite these problems and leads to some important questions we should be asking ourselves about our education system and whether or not we should investigate further into the matter. The results here could lead to some potentially important developments in education and thus I think a series of follow up studies should be done.

 

 

Overall I did not find writing a summary about the research article that difficult. All of the available information was right at my fingertips and with enough time I could understand it quite readily. Even though some aspects of the given information in the research article are well beyond my understanding, it is not hard to understand the main points of the research article and report them in terms that are easy to understand. The portion of this project that I found  most difficult was being able to get a high enough word count. The news article I had went up to 978 words and I was finding it difficult to get to 500 because the main points of this research article were not that difficult to understand. The information I chose to leave out was mostly the statistical analysis portions because  the formulas used were very long and difficult and I did not think I could report them properly. I think that the important information to get across to the audience is the results of the experiment and the methods used, and so those were the portions I focused on. I don’t hate journalist for trying to do their jobs or anything and I never did beforehand, but now I am more than skeptical of any news article I come across. At times I could see how doing this on a daily basis could become hard and slip ups can happen, but not reporting hardly more than two sentences pertaining to the methods of an experiment covered in a news article is  just shameful.


Happiness

For this weeks blog I watched A Ted talk by Dan Gilbert which covered ideas about happiness. I found the Talk to be quite enjoyable and thought provoking. I have always believed happiness is what you make of it and that nothing can truly get in the way of a person’s ability to be happy. Being able to come to terms with our actions and the situations we are in and letting ourselves be happy despite how bad thing may seem may seem bleak, but I have always found that I was happy whenever I accepted the worst of a situation and moved on. For instance, I have been through two tornadoes which both took my entire house away, but I found that after the shock went away I was still happy. Looking back at it now, I would never change what happened to me and my family, because It is what lead me here and I have accepted it and moved on. So the message that we can create synthetic happiness by accepting our situations at face value seems reasonable to me from my experience. Dan Gilbert seemed very credible and his experiments were very well thought out and support his interpretations very well. I believe that I incorporate a good amount of synthetic happiness in my life already and I just didn’t realize it because I accept the outcomes in my life and move on pretty easily.


Personality test

The four personality test I took for this blog did not seem to accurately reflect my perception of myself. The first personality test labelled me as the personality type ESTJ. This personality type describes me as being an outward and orderly. I do not agree with this all that much considering I do not go to social event that often nor is my workplace tidy to any degree. The second personality test stated that I am of the personality type ISTJ. This one seems to fit a bit better because of the introversion, but I still do not completely agree because I am not very organized. The third test seemed the most accurate because my highest scores were in the categories emotional stability and conscientiousness, which I do view as similar to my personality, but the same test also labeled me as an extrovert and not very agreeable. The last test was the most interesting, because the method it used was based off of choosing colors, but I still found it lacking in accuracy. The last test labeled me as stubborn and having high standards, which does not agree with me at all because I think that I am a compromising and agreeable person. I find that these test are not very credible because most of the results are so generic. The last one I would say does not seem generic, but I do not see how one can determine a person’s personality based off of choosing colors and I would be very interested in seeing how such a process could work.


spotlight post

In this spotlight post I found three different websites that offer study tips to students of various age groups. One website is targeted toward college students, another is targeted at adults, and the last is targeted toward middle school and high school students. I will compare the study tips offered by the websites to those we were taught in class and what we read in our psychology book.

The first website I found was an article written by the Huffington post. The article recommends nine different study habits for college students. These study tips are, alternate study spaces, having homework groups, using flashcards, taking tests, sleeping, don’t categorize yourself, go to class, don’t immerse yourself in one topic, and manage your time. Most of these tips are actually supported by our professor’s video lecture and our class textbook. Our professor’s video lecture does say to work in study groups, to use flashcards effectively, to make practice tests for ourselves, and to use distributed practice (studying multiple topics over a length of time). also our textbook does say that ” students who pull all-nighters…wind up working less efficiently and effectively than they would if they were to sleep the 8 or 9 hours they need” (Comer and Gould 213). However there is no support in our textbook or online lecture for, alternating study spaces, not categorizing yourself, going to class, and managing time. I will say though, that going to class and having good time management are extremely important for succeeding academically. I am not certain that alternating one’s study space or not categorizing one’s study habits are credible ways to improve study habits based off of the information we learned in class. Overall I would say that this website offers some good study habits, but not all of them seem valid.

The next website I found was a blog on a universities website called aiuniv.edu which has five study tips for adult learners. These tips are, use varied study materials, focus on time management, be well prepared and take notes, don’t procrastinate, and connect with learning resources. The first study habit of using various study methods is supported by our video lecture because using flashcards, studying in groups, or even making practice tests, all fall under the broad category of various study methods. Again time management is not necessarily supported by any evidence from our textbook or our class video lecture, but I still believe it is essential to manage time wisely for studying. Taking notes is crucial to being able to review the material, but using more than just one’s notes to study is what is recommended by our professor in our video lecture. Procrastination is definitely something to be avoided, as stated in our video lecture studying the material over a long period of time is much better than procrastinating and having to cram last minute. The last study habit, connecting with learning resources, is another way of saying study in groups and use tutoring services, which is supported by our professor’s video lecture. This website contains good study habits and seems to be supported with the material covered in our class.

lastly, I found a website that has six study tips for middle school and high school students. The tips are, find the right spot, set the mood, use time management, limit distractions, have a check list, and a check- in. There is not much evidence in our book or in the video lecture that supports finding certain locations and setting the mood to be helpful during studying. The only thing that is relative to that is the idea of context and retrieval which our book states that ” it is often easier to retrieve particular information when we return to the setting… in which we first encoded it” (Comer and Gould 286). while this is true, if encoding takes place in an are that is not similar to an exam setting, such as playing music in the background or laying in bed, then there is no benefit. I do believe, as I have said earlier, that time management is key to studying successfully, even though there is not much support of this in our textbook. Limiting distractions is also important for studying because, as stated in our text book, we cannot encode properly without attention and we cannot pay attention to anything if we are distracted. Having a check list can allow us to not forget things, which can help us remember what to study, but it does not play an active role in the process of studying. lastly, the author of this article mentions that checking in with a parent for help can be a good study habit. I would say that it would be better to study with groups of other students, and then if the students were to get stuck they should get a parent to help with the problem.

Links:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/08/study-tips-for-college-_n_709096.html?slideshow=true#gallery/10344/8

http://www.aiuniv.edu/blog/march-2015/study-tips-for-adult-learners

https://www.weirdunsocializedhomeschoolers.com/study-tips-for-middle-and-high-school-students/

 


Cool School

For this weeks blog i watched three very interesting videos about children’s performances in academic settings. The first video was Jane Elliot’s brown eyes vs. blue eyes experiment. The idea behind the experiment was to see how children responded to being designated as inferior and how that affected their personality and ability to learn. The children designated as inferior were picked on by the other children and performed poorly on the test in school. In the second video, a group of black and white athletes took a test to determine their ability at playing golf. When the group was told the test was focused on strategy, the white athletes performed better than the black athletes, and when they were told the test was focused on athletic ability, the black athletes performed better than the white athletes. Finally, the last video centered on the Pygmalion effect. Teachers were convinced by a fake study that certain children in the class were going to get smarter even if they had showed very little academic progress recently, and thus the children did learn more in class because the teacher’s attitude toward the children changed in a such a way as to allow the children to acquire the material taught in class.

All of this information tells me that a person’s environment can greatly influence the way in which they learn. Having a safe and relaxing environment, such as the one shown in the Pygmalion study, can help people learn, while negative environments, such as the one shown by the brown eye vs blue eye study, can cause people to struggle with class material and fulfill certain stereotypes. I feel that my personal experience with teachers has always been positive. I cannot recollect any single teacher that mad me doubt myself or my abilities and this could partially be the reason why I have always succeed in my classes. I believe that the best way to teach a student is to always believe in the student’s ability. having a teaching program that focuses more on building up a students confidence in their ability to learn the material is something to strive for.


Video game violence

Video games don’t cause violence, lag does. This statement is one I always held to be true ever since I started playing video games. Everyone has seen the argument that violence in video games causes children to become more violent individuals, but I believe that the wrong stimulus is being blamed. Anyone who has played video games can tell you that people can get angry when playing video games, but it is not the violent nature of the video games that is at fault. Whenever people get frustrated or angry while playing video games , it is usually more about the competitive nature of the game and less about the actual content. People get pissed about video games because they feel that they lost for unfair reasons, and this same feeling of frustration can occur in other games that are not violent in nature such as board games like monopoly. There are also other forms of media that are just as violent, if not more violent than video games, such as movies and books, yet most people target video games due to their popularity rather than any scientific evidence. The argument that children are becoming more violent because of the graphic nature of video games is nothing more than children relieving pent frustrations at what they believe is an unfair loss.


Sleep is not for the weak

This weeks Ted talk covered sleep and its relationship to one’s overall health. The presenter did very well to explain the information in an friendly and easy to understand manner. He explained the three major theories as to why we sleep. The first explanation was restoration. This explanation revolved around the idea that we sleep so that we can restore and rebuild the energy we used during the day. The second theory for why we sleep was energy conservation, which proclaims that we sleep to save energy. The last theory for why we sleep was brain processing and memory conservation, which states that we sleep so that we can process the information we encountered through ought the previous day.

I find the first theory the most convincing. The presenter states in his talk that the energy conservation theory doesn’t really make sense because we only save about as much energy that is in a hot dog bun when we sleep and the last theory, while it was the presenters favorite, did not convince me that processioning is sleeps primary role. While I will say that it is possible we do process the information form the day in our sleep, I would argue that we sleep primarily to rebuild and restore the energy we used during the day. I believe this to be the case because, if we look at animals we will see that some sleep even longer than humans and I do not think that the primary reason that animals sleep is for brain processing. I could be wrong about that because I am not a specialist, and I know direct comparisons should not be made so lightly, but I think that sleep comes from a biological need to recuperate ones energy used during the day similarly to an animal’s need.

My current sleep habits are not that interesting. I go to bed at about 11:30 and fall asleep at 12:00. I wake up at 8:00 so I get about 8 hours of sleep. I think 8 hours of sleep is perfectly healthy for a college student, but any less than 6 is pushing it.


Memory

Overall, I very much enjoyed this weeks TED talk. I thought the speaker did an excellent job of conveying her message about how subjective our memories are. The stories that were presented during the talk made me think critically about how much we as human beings rely on our memories. Our memory is crucial for us to be able to do so many different things, but ,as the speaker said, our memories could easily be false. Suggestion is a powerful device, and I dislike the idea that my memories could be so easily tampered with. Personal displeasure aside, I do understand the importance of this research. The more we come to terms with the possible falsehood of our memories, the closer we can come to the truth. Now, I do not personally think that we as a society should  use such suggestive methods to change someone’s memories for their own benefit, such as planting  false memories of them enjoying vegetables. I think that understanding the possible falsehood of memories is important for matters such as court cases, but I do not believe that changing a portion of someone’s identity is a morally correct choice. Using suggestion to make someone like vegetables, which will allow them to become healthier, is taking that person’s freedom of choice from them. To me,  I think having the freedom to choose one’s preferences is an invaluable part of being human, and altering someone’s memories to change their choice is not ethical no matter the benefit they gain.


Ted Talk, Mind of a serial killer

I was drawn to this topic mainly because I have always been fascinated with Murder. I know that sounds terrible and psychotic, but there is a reason why shows like forensic files and murder mystery novels are popular, and that is that murder is interesting. The Ted talk itself was not as interesting in my opinion but it was done quite well and was very informative. During the talk Jim Fallon explained how he studied the brains of psychopathic killers. He talked about three main things that contribute to having the mind of a serial killer. The first contributor to serial killers is genes and how men inherit a specific gene from their mothers that causes them to resist the effects of serotonin. The second was brain damage and how most serial killers have the same specific parts of the brain that are damaged. The last contributor was the environment and how it can cause said genes to become expressed in the individual. Jim Fallon stated during the talk that all three of these things must come together at the right time to cause someone to become a murderer.

The most intriguing part of this talk was the idea that a portion of the population could have the genes to become serial killers. It made me wonder if anyone I know or even anyone in my family could have been or could be murderers. The presenter seems exceptionally trustworthy due to his credentials as a professor and researcher of neuroscience.

A research question I thought of after this Ted talk is weather or not cannibals show the same qualities as serial killers such as the specific brain damage and genes. I’m curious as to if they perceive the people they eat as people or as just another meal. I would conduct this research in the same manner as Jim Fallon. I would have someone look at the brains and genes of the cannibals without knowing that they are cannibals, and determine if they have similar brain damage and genes as serial killers.


Mythbusters first impression

Today I watched a Mythbusters video that outlined an experiment about weather or not women get bigger tips if their breast size is larger. The experiment was done by having the same woman work in a coffee shop for three days of the week. In order to control variables, she wore the same outfit for each day that she worked at the coffee shop. Using this method the team was able to test weather or not changing the woman’s breast size had any effect on how much the customers would tip. This method of experimentation had some key strengths and weaknesses. The strengths of this experiment being that the Mythbusters team was able to collect empirical data on unwitting participants, and that the Mythbusters team used the same person and outfit for the coffee shop employee. One weakness I noticed was that the test was on three different days. Having the test on three days could mean that the amount of people subjected to the test could vary, and thus the amount of tips could change based on the number of people rather than the intended variable of breast size. Another weakness was that the various customers could have varying amounts of cash to tip with. For example, a customer intending to tip the woman ,due to her breast size, might not be able to because of a lack of funds. Overall I would say that the experiment had a good amount of effort placed in its design, but with some key oversights.