Schools and the new ecology of the human mind

Domenico Parisi

in Neuroscience in Education

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199600496
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739187 | DOI:
Schools and the new ecology of the human mind

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The human mind does not function in a void, instead it functions in a specific ecology, and the ecology of the human mind does not remain always the same but it changes historically. In the last decades digital information technologies have created a new ecology for the human mind, and today's schools have problems in achieving their goals because what they offer to students is the old ecology of the mind: books, lessons, and a ‘vertical’ social structure with the teacher at the top. Learning in schools happens almost exclusively through language but learning through language, for many students, is not sufficiently accessible and motivating. The new digital technologies (visualizations, animations, computer simulations, virtual reality, computer games, the Internet) make it possible to learn by participating in a ‘horizontal’ social structure, to supplement language with other communication channels, and to learn by doing rather than by being told. Scientists should help educational systems to identify advantages and limitations of the new digital technologies for learning and education, to indicate how to overcome the many resistances which are encountered when one tries to question, and to change radically an age-old educational system and, since the new informational technologies have tremendous potential for learning, to participate in the design, implementation, and testing of new digital technologies that realize this potential.

Keywords: learning; language; digital technologies; horizontal social structure

Chapter.  4466 words. 

Subjects: Neuroscience

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