One of the main objectives of formal education is to prepare children to become contributing members of society. While this goal has not changed in recent decades, modern society certainly has. Nowadays, there is a thirst to constantly stay connected and have access to a wealth of information.
As a result, the future of learning and the job world are starting to feel the impact in very profound ways. For instance, children are now digital natives, while their parents are digital immigrants. So, from an educational standpoint, how can we best prepare our children to become contributing members of society?
Traditional Approach to Learning
Unfortunately, the traditional approach for fostering young minds in the classroom still tends to revolve around increasing crystallized intelligence (knowledge-based abilities), as opposed to fluid intelligence (thinking, reasoning and problem-solving abilities). Focusing on crystallized intelligence, rather than fluid intelligence, could be because it’s simpler for institutions to do so.
This approach, however, could lead to a disparity between who is able or unable to succeed in the classroom. For instance, students with low fluid intelligence tend to struggle with developing crystallized intelligence. As a result, these students get left behind; they are not given the chance to develop skills that actually may help them learn.
Improving Fluid Intelligence
It’s very likely that enhancing fluid intelligence early on in a student’s education, will dramatically improve their academic performance. For modern educators, however, there have been two issues blocking the adoption of this approach. One, there seems to be a lack of clear evidence for methods that improve fundamental learning capacities. Two, methods that are practical to implement (minimal time, cost-effective and so on) do not seem to be readily available.
Technologies to Enhance Learning
From my perspective, NeuroTracker is a pertinent example of a technology with the potential to change the way we foster academic growth. Firstly, it has demonstrated training transfer to significant gains in fundamental learning capacities. Secondly, it has done so widely; boosting executive function, working memory, attention, processing speed, inhibition and response control.
Below you can see the cognitive training improvements in students based on standardized neuropsychological evaluations. These results are also backed up with qEEG readings of increased brainwave activity at rest.
Based on the fact that these are some of the best available measures for fluid intelligence abilities, gains of about 10% are significant when taking into account that the measures are highly resistant to change and have the potential for continued increase with additional training.
Transfer to Learning
In terms of practical implementation, NeuroTracker also sets desirable standards. Transfer to learning skills is rapid, with significant effects seen within a few hours of distributed training. Most importantly, new studies show that students with learning difficulties respond to the intervention as well as students without them.
Perhaps more fundamentally, NeuroTracker robustly improves several types of attention. This is a critical factor, because when students struggle to pay attention in the classroom or when doing homework, their learning abilities are directly compromised. Boosting attention capacities means boosting skills that are critical for academic performance in the long term.
Finally, getting benefits from as little as 6 minutes of training per week, is critical. NeuroTracker differentiates itself from other contemporary interventions, which typically require several hours of training per week. One Canadian school was so impressed by the practicality of ‘bite size’ training, that it went on to implement training during lesson times in their classrooms. This occurred after they participated in a study that assessed if NeuroTracker could train attention in students with learning disabilities.
Integrating New Learning Interventions
It is my intention to conduct more of these types of learning interventions and pilot projects across school populations, with this standard of quality. If we use a tool that boosts students’ learning abilities, we will most likely witness positive effects on grades from one term to the next.
In our increasingly digitally connected world, where attention is in such high demand, it is paramount to teach children to proactively train their mind. Enhancing these abilities will allow them to focus on a deluge of quality information, while ignoring distractions.
As a result, they will increase their mental performance and attain their desired outcomes. Once a definitive connection has been established, that’s when we’ll see a major change in educational culture, with NeuroTracker spearheading the way.
Dwayne Matthews is a life and education strategist, who consults parents on strategies to best maximize the potential of their children. Matthews is also a certified teacher who has taught in schools in Toronto, Canada and around the globe. As a teacher, one of his responsibilities pertained to reviewing trends in education that are driven by technological advancement. In addition, Matthews was also the Canadian Executive Director of an intelligence and technology-scouting firm, which focused on finding new technologies to help Fortune 500 companies forecast future opportunities.
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