Welcome to the June 2016 edition of The Learning Brain.

This month you can read about new research into teenage brains and social media, sleep apnea and learning difficulties, and how running barefoot may improve working memory.

As always, there are free downloads for you –  Maths Skills Booster worksheets plus some classroom posters.

And Dr Michael Merzenich, known as “the father of brain plasticity” has been awarded the Kavli Prize in Neuroscience by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

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PS: LearnFast’s annual Educating with Neuroscience conference on in August. See the details in the newsletter.

Latest Research

social_media_brain.pngTeenage brain on social media

Teenagers respond to peer pressure even from virtual strangers, according to a first-of-it’s-kind study of teenagers brains while they used social media. The more online “likes” a teenager sees on social media, the more likely they are to conform to, or approve what is being “liked”.

This makes social media a potentially powerful influence for good or bad, depending on the attitudes and behaviours of the teenager’s online friends. Read more.

girl_sleeping.jpgAs sleep apnea severity increases so do the learning challenges in kids

Does your child have trouble sleeping due to enlarged tonsils and adenoids? Do they snore loudly?

According to a Chicago University study of 1,359 children, trouble sleeping (sleep apnea) can cause problems with attention, memory and language. These all contribute to learning difficulties. Read more.

What’s New?

Dr Merzenich shares $1m Award for Discovery of Brain Plasticity

2016-Laureate_Neuro-Group.jpgDr Michael Merzenich, one of the neuroscientists who developed Fast ForWord, has been honoured with the award of the Kavli Prize in Neuroscience by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

He shared the $1m prize with fellow neuroscientists Dr Carla Shatz and Dr Eve Marder. Their research established that the brain is plastic, not “hard-wired”, and laid the foundation for the revolution in neuroscience that we are experiencing today. 

The Learning Capacity Podcast

Learning Capacity Podcast

1 million Students Risk Reading Failure, says Dr Jennifer Buckingham

It’s hard to believe, but 1 million Australian children are at risk of reading failure.

A recent research report released by the Centre for Independent Studies titled Read About It: Scientific Evidence for Effective Teaching of Reading, suggests most children will need significant or intensive reading instruction.

Dr Jennifer Buckingham, editor of the report, explains the problem and the five keys to reading that can help address it. Learn more.

barefoot.jpgWorking Memory

Can Running Barefoot Help Improve Working Memory?

Should we let children run around the playground without shoes?

Running barefoot is better for your working memory than running with shoes, according to a new study published by researchers at the University of North Florida. Read more.

Free Download

Maths Skills Booster – June Worksheets

Thanks again for sending through your Maths Skills Booster feedback, it is very encouraging. Here are a few of the comments we received last month:

  • Brain_books.jpgThe practising of basic number facts. Students are improving, getting faster
  • Students enjoying the challenges
  • Great practice.

Ready for your new set of Maths Skills Booster Worksheets? You can download the June worksheets here.

Did you miss out on the original Maths Skills Booster? You can get it here.

Think_you_can.png10 Motivational Posters for Your Classroom

Download these free posters from Edutopia to brighten up your classroom & inspire minds of all ages.

Mindset.pngBook of the Month

Mindset by Carol Dweck

Praise effort, not intelligence or talent. That’s the message in Mindset, the New Psychology of Success.

Written by Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, it explains that parents & teachers can foster student’s self-esteem and achievement by developing their growth mindset.

Brain Training for 3 Generations of one Family

Nicola_Glew1.pngThree Generations of a New Zealand Family Have Seen the Value of Brain Training

Nicola Glew, LearnFast’s associate in New Zealand’s South Island, her 84-year-old mother and her school-age daughter have all done the Fast ForWord brain training program.

Nicola described their experiences in her blog: Fast Learning.

She said, “It’s not rocket science is it? The program - while clever - can’t tell the age of the brain it’s strengthening. It just finds the weak spots, adapts itself and pumps out training specific to that individual need”. Read more.

What’s On?

LearnFast Presents
Educating with Neuroscience Conference 2016


Join other school principals and education leaders

Melbourne, Friday August 26th

Find out how educational neuroscience is:

  • Providing teachers with new tools
  • Improving learning outcomes for students
  • Changing how schools boost learning across all subject areas.

Hear two panels of experts answer educators questions.

Panel One: Strategic Education Questions
Includes Dr Steve Miller (Neuroscientist) and Simon Brooks (Cultures of Thinking).

Panel Two: Educators who use Neuroscience
Includes a head of school, a school IT manager and a learning support specialist with multi-national experience.

Register your interest now