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Understanding Your Students' Brains

Understanding Your Students' Brains

With so many claims about education products and practices, what does it mean to be "research-based" when it comes to knowledge of the brain? Whether you want to learn about brain-based teaching methods, help students improve reading and writing skills, or explore the possibilities brain research provides, the Education Connection of is for you....

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James Hodgson
James Hodgson (Faculty)
15 years ago
This site (developed by Scientific Learning Corporation), provides a number of
simple tutorial modules on topics related to brains, minds and learning. These
modules are simple by design, being aimed at the public in general and the
teachers and parents of children with specific difficulties in language and
reading in particular.

What concerns me most about this site is that it is primarily a promotional
medium for a specific and controversial computer-based intervention program,
Fast ForWord. It is, in my opinion, a subtly produced Infomercial. I'd have
serious reservations about using it in teaching unless students are
sophisticated enough to separate the science from the sales pitch.

[NOTE: Time spent examining the site: 2 hrs].

Technical Remarks:

For a fairly thorough and even-handed review of the Fast ForWord Language
intervention program, check out the report provided by the Florida Center for
Reading Research. It's available at:]

There is an extensive and growing literature on the issues and controversies
surrounding the theoretical and clinical basis of Fast ForWord. The following
articles (along with their citations) provide starting-points for anyone wanting
more information on those issues.


Agnew, JA, Dorn, C. & Eden, GF (2004). Effects of intensive training on auditory
processing in reading skills. Brain & Language, 88, 21-25.

Alexander, AW & Slinger-Constant, A-M. (2004). Current status of treatments for
dyslexia: Critical review. J. Child Neurol. 19(10), 744-758.

Friel-Patti, S, Loeb, DF, Gillam, RB. (2001). Looking ahead: An introdution to
five exploratory studies of Fast ForWord. Am. J. Speech-Language Pathol. 10,

Hook, PE, Macaruso, P & Jones, S. (2001). Efficacy of Fast ForWord training on
facilitating acquisition of reading skills by children with reading difficulties
- A longitudinal study. Annals of Dyslexia, 51, 75-96.

Mody, M. & Studdert-Kennedy, M. & Brady, S. (1997). Speech perception deficits
in poor readers: Auditory processing or phonological coding? J. Exp. Child
Psych, 64, 199-231.

Tallal, P, Merzenich, MM, Miller, S & Jenkins, W. (1998). Language learning
impairments: Integrating basic science, technology and remediation. Exptal Brain
Res. 123, 210-219.
Used in course? Yes
Karen Smith-Gratto
Karen Smith-Gratto (Faculty)
21 years ago
I went through the site to see what the different links held. While I would not
use this site within a specific lesson. It could be a good source for students
trying to decide what kind of research paper or oral report to give in an
undergraduate Educational Psychology course.

Technical Remarks:

The links worked and there seemed to be no problems accessing the different