4/5 LIVE WEBCAST - Rock the Monkey: Visual Facilitation Skills & Brain-Based Learning


Click the link for local broadcast times and to register:

We will be talking about the visual, must-know, brain-based techniques that you need as a facilitator, consultant, teacher or coach in order to increase the success of your clients and students, while making you look like a rockstar. 
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While a Magician Works, the Mind Does the Tricks

We often refer to graphic recording as a magic trick: We watch a human pull images from thin air, grabbing pictures and ideas from the vapor of conversation and giving them physical form. This NY Times article gives insight on why the physical performance of illusion is so captivating and how the brain uses neural tricks to do this: approximating, cutting corners, instantaneously and subconsciously choosing what to “see” and what to let pass.
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Brainpower May Lie in Complexity of Synapses

We always if we were smarter than chimps (or at least baboons).
Here is clinical proof as to why the human brain has a better handle on complexity.

This article profiles a whole new dimension of evolutionary complexity has now emerged from a cross-species study led by Dr. Seth Grant at the Sanger Institute in England.

clipped from www.nytimes.com

Evolution’s recipe for making a brain more complex has long seemed simple enough. Just increase the number of nerve cells, or neurons, and the interconnections between them. A human brain, for instance, is three times the volume of a chimpanzee’s.

The computing capabilities of the human brain may lie not so much in its neuronal network as in the complex calculations that its synapses perform, Dr. Grant said. Vertebrate synapses have about 1,000 different proteins, assembled into 13 molecular machines, one of which is built from 183 different proteins.

These synapses are not standard throughout the brain, Dr. Grant’s group has found; each region uses different combinations of the 1,000 proteins to fashion its own custom-made synapses.

Each synapse can presumably make sophisticated calculations based on messages reaching it from other neurons. The human brain has about 100 billion neurons, interconnected at 100 trillion synapses.

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Older Brain Really May Be a Wiser Brain

In working with many diverse groups of people, coming together to solve complex problems, I am absolutely flummoxed by this paradox: young minds struggle with complex, inter-related problems, while "more mature" minds struggle to learn new concepts.

Rather than throw both brains out with the bathwater (what a badly mixed metaphor!) how best do we design collaborative projects and discussions that accommodate all brains, whether wily, worldly or wise?

clipped from www.nytimes.com

Yarek Waszul

When older people can no longer remember names at a cocktail party, they tend to think that their brainpower is declining. But a growing number of studies suggest that this assumption is often wrong.

Instead, the research finds, the aging brain is simply taking in more data and trying to sift through a clutter of information, often to its long-term benefit.

The studies are analyzed in a new edition of a neurology book, “Progress in Brain Research.”

For example, in studies where subjects are asked to read passages that are interrupted with unexpected words or phrases, adults 60 and older work much more slowly than college students. Although the students plow through the texts at a consistent speed regardless of what the out-of-place words mean, older people slow down even more when the words are related to the topic at hand. That indicates that they are not just stumbling over the extra information, but are taking it in and processing it.

Nancy Andreasen: On Creative People

Nancy Andreasen, M.D., Ph.D.

Andrew H. Woods Chair of Psychiatry at The University of Iowa; Institute of Medicine member; Editor in Chief, The American Journal of Psychiatry; 2006 Vanderbilt Prize Winner for outstanding woman in biomedical research

As part of the Discovery Series Lectures, Andreasen speaks on life, literature, science, children, women and creativity. Although they may have moments of self-confidence coupled with self-doubt, she finds creative people as having a natural innocent and humility that drives them to push against themselves. They are not driven by a "prize". Most often, creative personalities are driven towards answering a question or creating something.

"They are driven," notes Andreasen "by a sense that they haven't gotten it quite right."

This sense of disquiet comes from a profound acknowledgment. "Most find that creativity is a gift. If you've got something that is a gift, you don't feel that it belongs to you. That's what keeps creative people humble."

Monkey Mind: Fast Kids, Slow Brain Growth & ADHD

PHOTO: Sita Magnuson

My friend David Owens, a brilliant professor, product innovator and currently CEO for Griffin Technology Inc., calls it "monkey mind". So do the practitioners of Buddhism (see Taming the Monkey Mind by Cheng Wei-an). The Monkey Mind Manual aptly describes the metaphor and dedicates an entire blog to the subject:
Monkey Mind is a Buddhist term that vividly describes the way our minds stay busy, keeping us away from inner peace and true happiness. I think it is the antithesis of mindfulness. At times I convince myself that my monkey is more agitated and on worse behavior than many: it usually jumps to conclusions, has wild swings of mood, and growls too frequently. Really, though, I'm not alone. Our monkeys are all prone to such behavior.
Monkey Mind is, of course, endemic to human beings of all chemical make-ups. However, it is a serious challenge to kids who brim with the energy and distraction of ADHD--not to mention their parents, teachers, siblings and police officers! Of course, some of us who like the way we operate wear the label as a badge of honor. (Sort of like John Belushi's character, in Animal House who wears a food-stained sweatshirt that simply reads: COLLEGE.)

Those of us with diagnosed (medically or culturally) as living with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or Hyperkinetic Disorder as officially known in the UK, are generally considered to be dealing with a developmental disorder, largely neurological in nature, affecting about 5% of the world's population. Researcher have mapped the disorder to other affects on the brain's development.

clipped from www.reuters.com

Children and teenagers with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have developmental delays of up to three years in some regions of the brain, U.S. researchers said on Monday.

"The sequence in which different parts of the brain matured in the kids with ADHD was exactly the same as in healthy kids. It's just that everything was delayed by a couple of years," said Dr. Philip Shaw National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Mental Health.

Shaw said the delays are most pronounced in regions of the brain that are important for controlling thought, attention and planning.

ADHD is a condition suffered by about 2 million U.S. children that often becomes apparent in preschool and early school years. Children with ADHD have a tougher time controlling their behavior and paying attention.

The finding was based on imaging studies involving 223 children and teens with ADHD and 223 without the disorder.

The Metacognitive Anti-Complaint Campaign

Will Bowen, a Kansas City minister recognized that word choice determines thought choice, which determines emotions and actions.designed a solution in the form of a simple purple bracelet, which he offered to his congregation with a challenge: go 21 days without complaining.

Each time one of them complained, they had to switch the bracelet to their other wrist and start again from day 0. It was simple but effective metacognitive awareness training.

Here are a few of the changes I noticed then and am noticing again now:

1) My lazier thinking evolved from counterproductive commiserating to reflexive systems thinking. Each description of a problem forced me to ask and answer: What policy can I create to avoid this in the future?

2) I was able to turn off negative events—because the tentative solution had be offered—instead of giving them indefinite mental shelf-life (and “open loop” in GTD parlance), resulting in better sleep and more pleasant conversations with both friends and business partners.

3) People want to be around action-oriented problem solvers. Training yourself to offer solutions on-the-spot attracts people and resources.

The Most Innovative Ways to Nap

My favorite activity synergized with funky furniture and gadgetry!
clipped from www.fastcompany.com
The Most Innovative Ways to Nap
With increasing awareness about the health benefits of sleep, napping is becoming both more popular and more acceptable -- not just on college campuses. The opportunity to cater to this trend has caught the attention of entrepreneurs, and in recent years, there has been a slew of new products and services that facilitate napping. Here are some of the most interesting ways to catch a few reinvigorating minutes of rest when you can’t just jump into bed.

Human Brain One of the technologies, is a iTunes-like music streamer that uses an algorithm to combine music, words and rhythms.

pzizz is a mac and windows software application that generates random soundtracks which help you regain your energy. pzizz currently sports two modules: energizer and sleep. The service uses Neuro Linguistic Programming to achieve optimal brainwave action.

Neuro Linguistic Programming is defined as the influence of language patterns on the brain. It shows us how language patterns program our minds and form our views.

NLP is a system in which the brain is viewed as a computer that can be reprogrammed to think and feel in a way that helps people achieve specific goals.

Morality: Your Inner Chimp

A fantastic podcast aired on April 28, 2007 and profiled on Chicago's WBEZ This American Life. Listen to more on the Science of Morality.

Turns out, when faced with moral dilemmas, there is a band of chimps in our brains, duking it out. And it requires some alpha chimp arbitration!

clipped from www.wnyc.org
Where does our sense of right and wrong come from? We peer inside the brains of people contemplating moral dilemmas, watch chimps at a primate research center share blackberries, observe a playgroup of 3 year-olds fighting over toys, and tour the country's first penitentiary, Eastern State Prison. Also: the story of land grabbing, indentured servitude and slum lording in the fourth grade.

Then we'll move from inner chimp to outer. Dr. Frans de Waals lets us watch a chimp fight at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta. And we'll turn our navel-gazing toward the furrier navels of the chimps to learn a little more about this thing called morality: where it comes from, its evolutionary benefit, and why you can't guilt-trip an ape.