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Schools as Brain Training Hubs?

In the post Top 10 Brain Train­ing Future Trends I asked for sug­ges­tions to refine our pre­dic­tions for the 2007–2015 period. A good num­ber of peo­ple con­tributed, and the win­ner is…

Scott Spears, retired pub­lic schools superintendent.

His prediction: 

Pre­dic­tion 11: The notion of school­ing will be struc­turally dra­mat­i­cally brain fitness trendsaltered through the use of diag­nos­tics related to the acqui­si­tion and improve­ment of basic cog­ni­tive skills (such as brain pro­cess­ing speed, atten­tion, mem­ory, and sequenc­ing), along with pre­scrip­tions employ­ing emerg­ing brain fit­ness soft­ware exer­cises, begin­ning in the ear­li­est grades and pro­gress­ing through high school.

Schools will be struc­tured around the acqui­si­tion of foun­da­tional cog­ni­tive skills, related phys­i­cal fit­ness to sup­port brain fit­ness, stu­dent aware­ness and knowl­edge of brain func­tion and respon­si­bil­ity for one’s own fit­ness. Schools will be much more organ­i­cally struc­tured along the learn­ing needs of indi­vid­u­als, will be a com­mu­nity repos­i­tory and asset for access to con­tin­u­ing brain and phys­i­cal fit­ness pro­gram­ming, and will con­tinue to pro­vide impor­tant con­tent knowl­edge acqui­si­tion expe­ri­ences deliv­ered through inte­grated expe­ri­en­tial learn­ing, custom-designed for the indi­vid­ual learner, and vary­ing by time and place as needed.

Group learn­ing gaps will close as the play­ing field lev­els in the acqui­si­tion of the basic cog­ni­tive skills required for high lev­els of suc­cess and learn­ing. “Spe­cial edu­ca­tion” as such will first dis­ap­pear in the mid­dle and later grades as stu­dents receive early inter­ven­tion for cog­ni­tive skill devel­op­ment and as the plethora of cur­rently diag­nosed men­tal dis­or­ders are bet­ter under­stood as brain func­tion issues that can either be pre­vented or reme­di­ated through neuroscience-based inter­ven­tions, and will finally entirely dis­ap­pear as a func­tion of the design of indi­vid­ual learn­ing plans for every student.

The nature of school­ing is thus lib­er­ated from the cur­rent model of empha­sis on con­tent acqui­si­tion to become more focused on the teacher-student inter­face of interest-directed learn­ing under­girded by the skills nec­es­sary for high-order think­ing and learning.”

When I con­tacted Scott to inquire about the main obsta­cles for this pre­dic­tion to come true, he responded:

The obsta­cles are many because this is such a dis­rup­tive, new tech­nol­ogy that is dif­fi­cult to explain to so many in edu­ca­tion who have no “frame” beyond what they believe about teach­ing and learn­ing from their under­grad­u­ate preparation.”

Scott: many thanks for your thought­ful com­ment. We will mail you a hard­copy of our Mar­ket Report titled The State of the Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Mar­ket 2008. Look­ing for­ward to more of your contributions! 

Posts related to this prediction:

- Learn­ing & The Brain: Inter­view with Robert Sylwester

- Brain Con­nec­tion: Eric Jensen on Learn­ing and the Brain

- Are Schools (Cog­ni­tively) Nutri­tive for Children’s Com­plex Thinking?

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