EduTECH began with a plenary address by neuroscientist and author, Baroness Susan Greenfield, on how the digital world will change the way we think and learn. The Baroness focussed on the question – What is Thinking?
Greenfield cited brain research which established that enriched environments lead to brain cell growth. Brain cells branch out increasing their surface area making them a bigger target for connections to other brain cells.
Using the example of a gold wedding ring Greenfield talked about the different ways a baby through to an elderly person might think about it. A baby is all about making connections in a sensory manner. Then as we grow, we make other connections about the ring, its material, its origin, its worth, its symbolism in the context of promises, marriage, children, divorce, happiness, sadness, fulfilment, loss. Increasingly complex connections are built from that original baby who simply wanted to put the gold ring in its mouth.
Effects of technology in today’s environment
Greenfield establishes that a formula to co-exist and grow our thinking alongside screens is: Stories + Physical Activity + Individuality.
Read more about Susan Greenfield’s research in her book – Mind Change: How Digital Technologies Are Leaving Their Mark on Our Brains