Dr. James Zull, author of The Art of Changing the Brain and From Brain to Mind, gave a very interesting talk about the brain biology and learning. I have never thought of learning as a physical change. Since I have a six month old, I was especially interesting his descriptions of how babies learn and acquire knowledge.

Here are my notes:

When we learn the brain physically changes

Theory of cognitive growth – brain becomes a mind through experience

1st principle: Use Widespread Regions of Cortex

3 functions of cerebral cortex – motor, integrating, sensing

Back regions – sensory take info and make pictures and facts dots in green =apple orchard
Front – create ideas, ladder under trees = apple picking (closer to meaningful leArning)

4 pillars of learning:
1. Get info
2. Make and discover meaning
3. Hypothesize and predict
4. Act-test

2nd principle: Knowledge Is connections – discover and use existing connections

Biology – network connections, Kurt Fischer (skill)

Explore-light
Light-remember
Light-see better
Light-move lamp
Light-discover new
Light-understand
Enlighten
Enlightenment

Cellular networks = knowledge

3rd principle: Meaning Emerges from Ancient Emotional Brain
Hormones adrenalin, dopamine, serotonin
Produce branching
Emotional chemicals make people change