What Are The Think Tanks?
Literature in the 20th century was paper. Reading was limited to the book or magazine you had in your hand. Literature in the 21st century is digital, and reading is only limited by a brevity of hyperlinks and willingness to search. This is good. We are now being bombarded with science information delivered by podcasts, YouTube, online articles, TED Talks, etc. The quality of the information varies from high to low, but most people have their first encounter with a particular area of research through a short online piece, often a TED Talk or podcast, that stimulates them to look at longer pieces later, to get more information.
This the way we learn in the 21st century, and it is better than ever before!
The Mind, Brain, and Education SIG in JALT is taking advantage of this approach to learning in our MindBrainEd Bulletin Think Tanks. In each monthly Bulletin, we start with a short, accessible online piece – a podcast, video, magazine article, research paper, etc. – about some area of brain science, and follow that with 3-5 reaction papers written by teachers, experts and even students. In other words, we take new discoveries made by the experts and relate those ideas to our own problems, especially those related to teaching.
The Think Tank articles, each 1-4 pages long, can be a reaction to the main piece, pointing out how it relates to teaching, or an expanding it by connecting it to theories or personal experience. Sometimes we include related language lessons as well.
This is the 21st century, where other articles are a click away, so the writing should be enticing, enjoyable and informative, not stiff and overly academic. We want to both teach and entertain our readers. We experiment with writing techniques that go beyond just explaining.