Healthy Brain Optimize Learning: Turmeric

Research shows health benefits to the brain from curcumin, which is the key compound found in the plant turmeric. Benefits include a reduction or removal of depression, protects the brain from aging, and prevents Alzheimer disease. Researchers studying the compound think that curcumin increases the neurotransmitters for serotonin and dopamine to help with depression. Experiments showed that curcumin was as effective as a person taking SSRI medication. Curcumin protects the brain from aging in three ways. One is that it serves as an antioxidant for the brain to prevent it from free radical damage. It increases blood flow to the brain to help with memory and concentration. Finally, it increases a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which helps the brain create new brain cells.

All the more reasons to regularly add more curry into our diet! I searched for recipes and had good results with this one: Creamy Thai Sweet Curry. I slightly modified the recipe to fit my fridge and added chicken, kale, diced onion, and cinnamon. This could also work well as a vegetarian soup by removing the chicken and increasing coconut milk or regular milk.

References:
1. http://www.curcuminforhealth.com/the-difference-between-turmeric-and-curcumin/
2. https://bebrainfit.com/curcumin-supplements/
3. http://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/turmeric-brain-health.html
4. https://pinchofyum.com/creamy-thai-sweet-potato-curry

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Create an Effective Facebook Page

If you decide that you want to create a FB page for your organization or maybe even integrate as a learning activity for students, you may want to review tips on how to create an effective page. In the process of gathering information, I was surprised to learn the that number one ranked FB page had nothing to do with education or an iconic figure. Instead it focused on a game and the game was Texas Hold ‘em Poker with more than 61 million people following this page. In reviewing the top twenty FB pages, a majority of them were on public figures and celebrities and to a lesser degree commercial products.

1. When you create a page determine its purpose. This will help to target your audience  and the selection of content. Many organizations including schools use Facebook for marketing, but there are many ways to redirect this and focus it on education. One idea might be to have students post and share their resources and document their learning.

2. An effective page has good content that incorporates different forms of media like videos, text, and images. How the content is selected and created will be based on the goals of the organization and the creativity of the behind the content producer. For a school that wants to increase enrollment, they can provide positive stories of staff and students achievements. They could have interviews of students and feature alumni. I visited Oprah’s fan page and I liked how she responded to a major event. Unfortunately it was in response to the tragic shooting in Las Vegas but she gave her personal thoughts and questions for viewers to think about. Bob Proctor, another public figure I reviewed and a legend in personal development  uses his page is promote and inform of upcoming events that he will participate in. FB has a section dedicated to local events and these can provide option to engage students by getting them to participate and share their experience from attending events that are connected to a topic. Another effective way to use a FB page is to connect it to a blog to share lengthier writing compositions.

3. The third step in getting your page headed in the right direction is to make the content  engaging. From a marketing stand point the best way that this can be measured is through likes, comments, and shares. Based on my personal experience on using FB, it seems that people interact with posts that trigger an emotion. This could be to have a funny video or an inspirational photo or quote. In one of the posts from Starbucks, they used sharp looking images of the seasonal cups that they planned to add and then cleverly created user involvement by asking viewers to select the cup that was their favorite.

Resources:

Facebook page for your school: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/creating-dynamic-facebook-page-your-school-anne-obrien

How to get a 100,000 fans in 30 days: https://www.inc.com/brian-d-evans/how-to-get-100k-facebook-fans-in-30-days.html

Most popular FB pages: http://www.jeffbullas.com/the-worlds-20-most-popular-facebook-pages/

A Plan to Stimulate Discussions in Bible Study

After attending several bible studies where the interaction between members was scant, I had an urge to ask the pastor to see if we could make some minor modifications. Fortunately he thought the idea was good.  I created a plan for improving the discussion in Google Docs consisting of two drafts. Draft one was a comparative study to see what another group was doing. Draft two was a comparison of what was currently occurring and the proposed plan. Click the links below to view the documents in Google.

Draft #1 Bible Study Discussion

Draft #2 Bible Study Discussion

 

ASU #1 Innovative School

For the second consecutive year, Arizona State University is the nation’s most innovative school, according to U.S. News & World Report rankings.

The widely touted list compares more than 1,500 institutions on a variety of metrics. The latest review, released today, is based on a survey of college presidents, provosts and admissions deans around the nation. ASU has taken the top spot in each year the innovation category has been considered.

The back-to-back No. 1 rankings demonstrate that the news magazine’s annual poll recognizes ASU’s overarching approach, rather than a single initiative or moment, university officials said.

https://asunow.asu.edu/20160912-asu-news-asu-selected-nations-most-innovative-school-second-straight-year

Course Reorganization Idea in D2L

After reviewing the organization of the D2L Instructor Courses, an alternative design may prove to be beneficial. Instead of having three separate courses, one course divided into the major components Content, Grades, Quizzes, etc. could be used. Each topic would be like a multi-level course with conditions in-place to unlock higher level modules as learners move through the materials. At specific benchmarks, badges would be awarded and a certificate when they complete all components for that particular topic area. This will allow learners to direct their own learning based on their needs. For example if an instructor plans to use Discussions as a primary method for interactions and assessment, he or she may want to develop expertise with this tool and skip Quizzes entirely

This could be tested with one topic such as Content. A design document would be created to clarify the knowledge and skills, organize the modules, determine where to place the conditions and the type of badges to award.

Each module would also serve as a self-containing unit that can be used independently. This will allow custom courses to be created using modules as building blocks for specific individuals or groups after assessing their experience with D2L and determining their wants.

Click here to view the design document draft of the current organization of the modules on content.

UA Community Explores VR

University of Arizona faculty, staff and students battled cowboys and zombies, rose high above the MMT Observatory on Mount Hopkins, and toured Chaco Canyon this summer – all from the air-conditioned comfort of the Science-Engineering Library.

Their adventures, a mix of virtual and augmented reality, were part of the UA’s inaugural VR Summit, held Aug. 4 and 7 to bring researchers and students together for demonstrations and discussion on the state of technology and its use as an instructional tool.

“When we put on the headsets, we are accepting a constructed reality – an alternative reality – and the danger is that there is a point at which we accept that alternative as real,” he added. “We have to be careful, see how far we can go, and then decide not to go there.”

https://uaatwork.arizona.edu/lqp/ua-community-explores-vr-during-summit

Disengage Distracting Thoughts Through Meditation

If you have distracting thoughts or a wandering mind while reading, this could be the answer: meditation once or twice a day. The articled states mind wandering is a normal process that everyone experiences. I personally notice this when I’m reading (even if it’s an interesting subject). In addition to regular meditation, I find that approaching a reading task in sections is helpful. At the beginning of each paragraph make mental goal to complete it without distracting thoughts, and then repeat.

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_focus_a_wandering_mind