Sail's Pedagogy

Sail's posts about her class, classes she is taking, and education.

World Wide Mind

I just went to a talk given by Michael Chorost on his new book….”World Wide Mind“. I have not read the book (just got a signed one) but Howard Rheingold asked me to talk a little more about him. So most of this is from his talk and from the web.

Michael Chorost has a cochlear implant which has enabled him to hear after loosing his hearing. In this book he talks about wearable computers how technology can improve humans by body parts such as arms, legs, eyes — with technology. He also goes into how we can slice genes together and putting them in a virus so that rats respond to either blue or yellow lights. Or how brain implants may help us communicate with others though our brains and not though speech.

Dr. Chorost book is also about love. He had not had any serious relationship in his life, so he decided to go to workshops that would help him communicate and become more social. This lead him to meet his current wife. When so many people are talking about how technology is stopping us from becoming human, Dr. Chorost tells us this is just the opposite. But we have to go out into the world and make it happen. We can change the way our brains are connected — even our social habits — and change our lives.

Cathy Davidsonstates that Dr. Chorost has written one of the best books explaining how the brain works. Since I love books about how we learn and our mind/brain, I am looking forward to reading this book.

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Dreams and Sleep

New Scientist has a very good article on Dreams. We are using EEGs and fMRI to record our brain activity as we sleep. “Changing patterns of electrical activity tell us that the sleeping brain follows 90-minute cycles, each consisting of five stages – two of light sleep at the start, then two of deep sleep, followed by a stage of REM, or rapid eye movement sleep”. We need sleep and dreams to encode what we are learning.

Another study found “REM sleep in particular, strengthens negative emotional memories (Cerebral Cortex, vol 19, p 1158). This might sound like a bad thing – but if you don’t remember bad experiences you cannot learn from them. ”

Click here for video.

So sleep and dreams helps us to organize what we have learn. Lack of sleep can result in risky decisions, inability to concentrate, may lead to obesity and other illness, and many other physical and cognitive problems.

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