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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Press release] For university students, walking beats sitting

For university students, walking beats sitting

Published Jan 22, 2015 at KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Walking classrooms are better for not only for students’ physical health, but classroom engagement, a study from KTH Royal Institute of Technology shows.

What began in a response to a physical activity challenge for the computer science faculty at KTH has become a study in how education and fitness can be combined to improve both physical well-being, and classroom discussions.

Instructor Olle Bälter improvised his “walking seminar” in media technology at KTH during the spring of 2014, in response to a competition in which staff were recording the number of hours they and their students spent sitting, as opposed to being active.

Taking his group of 10 students for a stroll through a wooded park near the Stockholm campus, Bälter immediately began to see results.

“Students feel freer to talk when they are outdoors than when they are in the classroom,” Bälter says.  His experience seemed consistent with a paper that he cites as an inspiration — a Stanford University study linking creativity with physical activity.

Now Bälter and his colleagues are adding their experience to the body of knowledge supporting more activity in education. In an article  presented at the Lund Institute of Technology eighth pedagogical inspiration conference in December, Bälter and coauthors Björn Hedin and Helena Tobiasson reported that a significant majority of the students surveyed preferred the walk seminars over traditional seminars.

Notably, 21 of 23 students surveyed said that after the workshops they felt better than after typical, sedentary seminars; and no one thought they felt worse. Furthermore, 17 of the 23 students believed that communication was better.

“It is noticeable how much easier it is for individual students to express their views on these walking seminars, particularly when the class is split into smaller groups,” Bälter says.

Second-year student Frida Haugsbakk agrees. “Everyone chipped in, even those who were too shy to speak in larger groups,” he says. “On the walk, students can address another student directly, while the others simply listen and enter the discussion later on.”

Peter Larsson, Christer Gummeson and David Callahan 

 

January 28, 2015 Posted by | Psychology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wakeful Resting Can Boost New Memories

 

Sudoku layout

Sudoku layout (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

From the 25th July 2012 article at Medical News Today

 

Too often our memory starts acting like a particularly porous sieve: all the important fragments that should be caught and preserved somehow just disappear. So armed with pencils and bolstered by caffeine, legions of adults, especially older adults, tackle crossword puzzles, acrostics, Sudoku and a host of other activities designed to strengthen their flagging memory muscles.

But maybe all they really need to do to cement new learning is to sit and close their eyes for a few minutes. In an article to be published in the journal Psychological Science, a publication of the Association for Psychological Science, psychological scientist Michaela Dewar and her colleagues show that memory can be boosted by taking a brief wakeful rest after learning something verbally new – so keep the pencil for phone numbers – and that memory lasts not just immediately but over a longer term. ..

…Dewar explains that there is growing evidence to suggest that the point at which we experience new information is “just at a very early stage of memory formation and that further neural processes have to occur after this stage for us to be able to remember this information at a later point in time.”

We now live in a world where we are bombarded by new information and it crowds out recently acquired information. The process of consolidating memories takes a little time and the most important things that it needs are peace and quiet. 

 

 

July 25, 2012 Posted by | Psychiatry, Psychology | , , | Leave a comment

   

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