27th November 2020
Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!
Hit Lit! Top Books of 2020 for LHTLers!
It’s been a wild and crazy 2020. But one thing we can say with certainty is that learning through reading is one of the best ways around to boost your spirits! With that, here are the top books LHTLers have loved during 2020. (We won’t count our own Learning How to Learn, A Mind for Numbers, and Mindshift, which blew everything else out of the water as perennial favorites.)
- Memory Superpowers!: An Adventurous Guide to Remembering What You Don’t Want to Forget
- Excellent Online Teaching: Effective Strategies For A Successful Semester Online
- Uncommon Sense Teaching: Practical Insights in Brain Science to Help Students Learn
- Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art
- Think Like a Rocket Scientist: Simple Strategies You Can Use to Make Giant Leaps in Work and Life
- Online Teaching with Zoom: A Guide for Teaching and Learning with Videoconference Platforms
- Engaging Learners through Zoom: Strategies for Virtual Teaching Across Disciplines
- The Great Mental Models Volume 1: General Thinking Concepts
- Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe
- The Brave Learner: Finding Everyday Magic in Homeschool, Learning, and Life
- How We Learn: Why Brains Learn Better Than Any Machine . . . for Now
- The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win
- Teach Like a Champion 2.0: 62 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College
- Calling Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World
LHTLers also find the following learning tools to be perennially useful:
- 3M Peltor Optime 105 Over the Head Earmuff, Ear Protectors, Hearing Protection, NRR 30 dB
- Palomino Blackwing Pencils (Barb’s favorites)
The Science of Learning
Barb was fortunate to recently speak with some of the folks behind Learning Science Weekly. This site features weekly emails with updates on the latest research relevant to how we learn. What we love about these emails is that, not only are they packed with links to a broad range of education-related research, but the commentary is insightful and fun—weekly email author Julia Huprich, Ph.D. is a real find. (Julia, next up, we’re looking for a book from you! 🙂 ) The emails also feature up-and-coming graduate students and their projects. And, well, animals. (All in line, as Julia notes, with research showing how cute critters can enhance focus.) Enjoy!
More on the Science of Learning
This fine overview article on learning in general, and our Learning How to Learn MOOC, by blogger Mark Koester, provides a great overview of key points of our course and also takes readers on to other great resources. Mark has created a few online courses himself, including one on learning travel Burmese—he’s clearly a man who loves learning. Mark’s concluding comments in relation to gaps in the tracking of learning are especially thought-provoking.
Check out mmhmm for a Great Way to Present PowerPoints with You Inserted “Inside”!
We’ve looked with longing at mmhmm, a program that provides a way for you to speak online while appearing to be sitting in front of your slides, rather than boxed in a corner. Sadly, it’s not yet available for the PC—but if you’re a Mac user and you teach or make presentations online, it’s time to have a field day! [Hat tip: Jeffrey Perrone.]
The Epigenetic Secrets Behind Dopamine, Drug Addiction, and Depression
Dopamine plays a key role in learning (animals with selective damage to their dopamine systems can’t learn new responses). But researchers have recently made dramatic new advances in our understanding of neurotransmitters like dopamine. As this fine article by neuroscientist R. Douglas Fields in Quanta reveals, “…serotonin and dopamine can regulate transcription of DNA into RNA and, as a consequence, the synthesis of specific proteins from them. That turns these well-known characters in neuroscience into double agents, acting obviously as neurotransmitters, but also as clandestine masters of epigenetics.” And at last, an explanation for why serotonin reuptake inhibitors have a delayed response when used to help alleviate depression. [Hat tip: LHTL Lead Mentor Steven Cooke.]
That’s all for this week. Have a happy week in Learning How to Learn!
Barb, Terry, and the entire Learning How to Learn team