Saturday, June 16, 2012

Downtime and Memory

People learn significantly better after a walk in nature than after a walk in a dense urban environment, suggesting that processing a barrage of information leaves people fatigued. 

The brain takes advantage of the times that we shovel things into it and when we’re paying attention to the outside world. It also takes advantage of downtime. This could  be an important consideration in education, by allowing learners to have downtime to allow them to consolidate their learning in a reflective head space.

Modern technology tends to make windows of time entertaining, and potentially productive but is it entirely helpful? Researchers, however, highlight an unanticipated side effect: when people keep their brains busy with digital input, they are neglecting downtime that should enable them to better learn and remember information, or come up with new ideas. Researchers have also found that when rats have a new experience, such as exploring an unfamiliar area, their brains show new patterns of activity. However, when these rats take a break from their exploration  they  seem to process those patterns in a way that creates a persistent memory of the experience.  It would be surprising if a lack of downtime didn't affect learning in people in a similar way.

To find out more go to an interesting article on downtime.

1 comment:

  1. I've been enjoying this series! By the way, I finally made a birthday cake graphic organizer for combining process/content goals. I put it up on Slideshare with a link included to your blog post. Let me know if it's okay!