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‘The Social Brain’: An online professional development module in educational neuroscience
Learning about our ‘Powerhouse’ - the brain and brain-friendly ways of teaching and learning is critical for teachers and their students. We know much nowadays from leading Educational Neuroscientists such as Professor Louis Cozolino (clinical psychologist and neuroscientist) and Dr. Judy Willis (a Neurologist specialist medical doctor and a practicing teacher). At CQUniversity Australia we developed a Graduate Certificate in Brain Based Education (GC BBE) that consists of four units: Learning & Memory, Neurobiology, Theory of BBE, and Applied BBE. These are traditional university studies and delivered online using Moodle. We were asked to do professional development (PD) with a large number of teachers in other parts of Australia at low cost. We had already found, as expected, that the price-point of Graduate Certificates - especially in the context where there is no real incentive for teachers in Australia teachers to complete a graduate qualification – meant few teachers or psychologists or others were interested in doing a Grad. Cert. So, the solution was to offer PD online for a low price, and face-to-face for three of the four units of the GC BBE with the final Applied unit requiring a project. With the PD, teachers and others can do the two equivalent online modules at any time at low cost. Should they choose to do assessments to contribute towards the certification from the University such as the GC BBE then that is available. It consists of multiple-choice items relating mainly to knowledge within the modules as well as a portfolio including a reflective journal of learning and changes made to practices. This is then marked and if satisfactory, a student can receive up to 75% of the GC BBE as Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). They then need only do the final Applied unit that relates to their educational setting such as a school or clinical practice. To meet this need for teachers and others, we have developed Educational Neuroscience online modules that are low fee, as well as face-to-face PD for teachers on ‘Neuroeducation’. In this paper we examine aspects of our first online module, ‘The Social Brain’. To survive we need social connection and, of course, we live, work, study and play together socially. Our brain is a social organ that connects and interacts with other brains. With neuroscientific insights in education developed in the last twenty years and particular the last five, as teachers we can inform our pedagogy and the learning experiences that we create so that our practices and student experiences are more brain-friendly and can contribute to optimal, thriving learning as well as our own well-being. This paper explores ‘The Social Brain’ module that looks at how findings from Educational Neuroscience can be used by teachers in their practices, and the importance of neuroeducation for both achievement and well-being for our students. Description of presentation: It is critical for teachers and students to know much more about their ‘Powerhouse’ – the brain. We have developed Educational Neuroscience online modules that are low cost as well as face-to-face PD for teachers on ‘Neuroeducation’. In this paper we examine aspects of the first online module, ‘The Social Brain’ by viewing and discussing some of its multimedia resources used for PD. Also, how teachers wishing a higher qualification can achieve this by taking a route using RPL involving self-paced learning at times and places and with low costs that suit the students.