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Stanford University School of Medicine

Science education afresh — podcast shares concepts to boost learning

Stanford education researcher Bryan Brown, PhD, thinks everyone would love science -- if they had the right opportunity to learn about it. I happen to agree. After all, who isn't curious about why some hair is curly, or how plants translate sunlight into sugar?

Brown explains some strategies to get people interested in this "Schools In" episode with hosts Dan Schwartz, PhD, dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Education, and Denise Pope, PhD, a senior lecturer at the school.

Brown's research has found that teaching scientific concepts using plain language -- like "little green packets" rather than "chlorophyll" -- improves students' learning, while reducing their stress, or the amount of effort they need to devote to the topic. After students master the concepts, instructors plug in the technical terms, he said.

The key is to relate the science to something already in the scope of a student's knowledge, or community, Brown explained. It might be tricky to find the connection, he admitted, but taking the time to do so makes all the difference.

Brown, along with Pope and Schwartz, also discussed how and when to use technology to improve student engagement and how Brown fosters scientific inquiry in his own children.

Take a listen -- it might even pique your curiosity in the science of science learning.

Previously: A Stanford expert in the science of learning turns his attention to medical education, Building a bridge between education and neuroscience and Stanford inventors designs low-cost science tools for the world
Thumbnail image by OpenClipart-Vectors

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