What really works in teaching & learning?
In 2010, Dr. John Hattie wrote Visible Learning in 2010: an analysis of over 250 million students' data on what works best for teaching & learning.
His research rocked the education world. Read more here.
CoreAtlas was designed using Hattie's top influences on learning: self-grading, metacognition, clarity (all of the strategies you see in the graph below... minus TV), plus insights from cognitive neuroscience.
We are honored that John Hattie is impressed with the CoreAtlas, as his research has had profound effects on our work!
1. Self-grading. (It's the #1 influence on student achievement!)
Which is wild, because it's rarely used in classrooms!
Think about something you're good at. You were almost certainly self-grading the whole time you were learning to do it. For example, if I'm a great musician, that's probably because I self-evaluate/self-grade: Did I play that note well? If not, perhaps I should practice more? Or ask a mentor for help? Self-grading gives you laser-focus on what you're learning, and empowers you to make plans/adjust as needed - something we all need to know how to do in life.
For students to self-grade in school, they need to understand their learning goals (ie: standards can't be written at a college reading level!). CoreAtlas simplifies Common Core & Next Generation Science Standards so students know what they're supposed to learn, and then gives them a metaphorical "journey" space to self-grade, practice metacognition, and experience learning with an embodied growth mindset.
2. Metacognition. (Thinking about thinking)
Your brain becomes better at whatever you use it for.
Neuroscientists call our brain's ability to grow and change "plasticity." This plasticity is exciting, because it means that your brain is developing stronger neural connections all the time based on how it is used... So if you practice writing poetry every day, you'll become better at writing poetry. If you practice telling jokes, you'll be better at telling jokes!
If you want to become a better thinker, you'll want to think about your thinking, which is called Metacognition.
Metacognitive strategies include: visualization, planning, asking questions, naming challenges, self-evaluation (self-grading!)...
Visible Learning places metacognition very high on the effective strategies list as well (see above graph)!
3. Maps and checklists. They help us remember.
Aristotle, Cicero, Sherlock Holmes, and modern day memory champions remember A LOT, and so should you & your students! Our CoreAtlas Map + Guidebook applies the "Method of Loci", or "Roman Rooms" mnemonic technique to school.
While in use for thousands of years, neuroscientists are only now discovering why associating specific memories to physical locations works. While the reasons are complex, a simple reason is that the brain itself cares about space (remember all the wandering around we've done as Sapiens in the past million years?). The hippocampus (in the temporal lobe) and neurons in the parietal lobe (top, back of the brain) both use spatial location information to trigger memories and tell the body how to react to what we encounter.
We take the metaphor "learning is a journey" quite literally... and children feel better about wandering, going at their own pace, and charting their unique path through the standards - like a checklist. Now add stickers and it's just fun!
So JOURNEY ON!... and give yourself a !YAY! Badge whenever you feel proud.
More from Dr. John Hattie on the CoreAtlas:
"I have worked through the CoreAtlas – very engaging, attractive, and seems right on task (both surface and deep learning). I am impressed with the attention to the learning intentions from the very first page, and the multiple pathways through the lessons. The key elements are present including being curious, keeping records of progress, making it your own, and sharing – how to do both the latter at the right times is important and all too rare. The CoreAtlas allows for error, which surely is the essence of all learning – from Not yet, to On my way, yes I got it and I’ve used it in life. This is a pleasure, beautifully laid out, no one right way, and helps student see their learning in action. What is needed now is the evidence of impact on student learning and I am sure you have this in hand. Congratulations on such a stunning contribution."
Results of our beta-tests:
Student surveys from our beta trials last school year reveal students feel more in charge of their learning because of the CoreAtlas.