No One Cares About Crazy People

2nd January 2020

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Week

No One Cares About Crazy People: The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America by Ron Powers. Both of Powers’ sons were afflicted with schizophrenia, which fueled his desire to begin sorting out and writing about why there is such chaos in the US regarding treatment for those who clearly cannot care for themselves.  The essence of the problem lies with lies anosognosia, which, as Powers writes, is “the false conviction within a person that nothing is wrong with his mind. It stems from a physiological by-product of psychosis, and accompanies about 50 percent of schizophrenia occurrences and 40 percent of bipolar cases. Anosognosia disrupts the parietal lobe’s capacity to interpret sensory information from around the body.” No One Cares details how virtually every ideology—left, right, and libertarian—has contributed to the disastrous set of policies for mental health that have increasingly unleashed heartbreak and chaos both for US families caring for the mentally ill, and US society as a whole.  (It’s interesting to watch, however, as Powers attributes simple lack of knowledge as causing the mistakes of his favored political party, but outright malevolence as causing the mistakes of the political party he dislikes. A more dispassionate observer might draw different conclusions.) A worthwhile book on a vitally important, but all-too-neglected problem. Also good for audio listening.

How to Finish an Online Course

Here’s a fine article by Pat Bowden of Online Learning Success not only on how to choose a MOOC, but on how to be successful at finishing it.  Enjoy!

A First Rate Overview of the World of MOOCs

Don’t miss this review of MOOC stats and trends from Class Central. The numbers involved are quite boggling!

Future of Learning 2020 Conference, Bangalore, India 

Learning to Learn, Unlearn and Relearn: Flourishing in the Age of Disruptions and Innovation’ will be held on January 3-4 at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. Barb will be speaking via web, and there will be goodly time for your questions. So don’t miss it if you’ve the chance to attend!

Study Finds Athletes Have Healthier Brains Than Others

Here is an article relating yet more evidence that exercise is beneficial for cognition. The main ideas are that “…athletes were found to have much more pronounced responses to sound than non-athletes and lower levels of background ‘static.’  Similarly, both musicians and people capable of speaking more than one language have also been found to process incoming sound signals more efficiently. But…these groups of people appear to achieve this by turning up the sound in their brains, whereas athletes appear to be turning down or quieting the background noise in their minds.”

The Dark Side of Neuroplasticity

Is learning and changing the brain always good?  Is it possible to take drugs that will help reopen the rapid-learning mechanisms we used as children to, for example, learn to speak a new language quickly and without an accent? The deeper you go into this episode of the podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind, the more interesting it gets.  

Smaller Class Size Doesn’t Always Benefit Students

This article describes the counterintuitive findings that reducing class size may not be so important: “…class size effects are more likely to be detected in countries with limited school resources where teacher quality is lower on average.” In other words, quality teaching may be the real key for helping students–there may be better outcomes for students through improving the pool of teachers than through mandated class-size limits. 

Ever Wondered Whether to Dabble in Simple Video Creation as Backup Materials for Your Class?

Here’s one of the nicest introductions to screencasting for absolute novices that we’ve seen.

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

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