Developing Minds in the Digital Age

Towards a Science of Learning for 21st Century Education

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This book highlights new scientific research about how people learn, including interdisciplinary perspectives from neuroscience, the social, cognitive and behavioural sciences, education, computer and information sciences, artificial intelligence/machine learning, and engineering. These new developments offer fascinating new perspectives, based on technological advances, which enable a re-examination of longstanding problems in learning, raise new questions, and offer new approaches to the study of learning. This report seeks to catalyse discussions on the implications of these research findings for education practice and policy, and in turn, on how knowledge and experience from real-world education practice and policy could challenge and inform research agendas and theory building.


Gesture as a window onto the science of learning

The actions we produce and observe every day can help us learn new ideas or change the way we think. One type of action – the gestures we produce when we talk – has been shown to support learning when incorporated into instructional contexts. Unlike other forms of action, gestures are not used to physically change the world. Instead, they are movements of the hand that can represent and manipulate ideas. Here we review literature demonstrating the powerful effects that gesture can have on learning, and we discuss findings that explore the mechanisms by which these effects occur. Specifically, we explore whether gesture facilitates learning through its capacity to be integrated with speech, its ability to engage the motor system and its role as a spatial tool. Finally, we discuss implications of these scientific findings for educational practice and policy.


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