Sleeping, Dreaming, Learning

This post starts with the last paragraph I wrote in a post on Attention and Learning:

The aim of this blog post was to share ideas about attention and learning and to support explorations in personalised teaching, coaching and learning. Fortunately I did not lose a lot of sleep over this post. Researching attention and learning is a wonderful way to ensure high quality of sleep. But just when it is safe to go to bed you might want to think about the attention and learning possibilities of sleep, dreams and nightmares. Richard Stickgold’s work and Antti Revonsuo’s research open up fascinating opportunities to explore the learning possibilities of dreams and nightmares.

One of my Twitter contacts shared with me a link to ScienceDaily and an article titled The Mathematics Behind a Good Night’s SleepMark Holmes and Lisa Rogers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are  using mathematical approaches to sleep research. The ScienceDaily article quotes Mark Holmes: “We wanted to create a very interdisciplinary tool to understand the sleep-wake cycle. We based the model on the best and most recent biological findings developed by neurobiologists on the various phases of the cycle and built our mathematical equations from that foundation. This has created a model that is both mathematically and biologically accurate and useful to a variety of scientists”.

A press release from Rensselaer reports that:

  • The interdisciplinary model is based on the best and most recent biological findings developed by neurobiologists on the various phases of the cycle and built our mathematical equations from that foundation. This has created a model that is both mathematically and biologically accurate and useful to a variety of scientists.
  • Lisa Rogers spent last summer with neurobiologists at Harvard Medical School to learn about the biology of the brain. She investigated the role of specific neurotransmitters within the brain at various points in the sleep-wake cycle. This work trained Lisa to read electroencephalography (EEG) and electromyography (EMG) data on the brainwaves and muscle activity that occur during the sleep cycle. This biologic data forms the foundation of their mathematic calculations.
  • An 11-equation model of the sleep-wake cycle was developed. The research team is working to input differential equations into an easy-to-use graphic computer model for biologists and doctors to study.
  • Lisa Rogers will continue her work on the program after receiving her doctoral degree in applied mathematics from Rensselaer. Her work on the mathematics of the sleep-wake cycle has earned her a postdoctoral research fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF). With the fellowship, she will continue her work at New York University and begin to incorporate other aspects of the sleep-wake cycle in the model such as the impacts of circadian rhythms.

A newsletter reporting Lisa’s postdoctoral fellowship notes that:

The human sleep-wake system is a widely researched yet still only partially understood frontier in both the biological and mathematical sciences. Even though extensive measurements have been made of brainwave activity generated during sleep, and much progress has been made on the anatomy of the brain and it’s neurotransmitters, even the basic questions associated with sleep as yet have no definite answers. For example: Why do we sleep? Do all animals sleep? Is the sleep function invariable across species? Should sleep be viewed as a recovery process? Does sleep contribute to brain function by reversing some consequences of wakefulness? Alternatively, is sleep a distinct state, not thought to directly contribute to waking brain function? There is a wide variation of sleep patterns within mammalian species, and thus it is important to stay focused on one particular system. In this case, we are focusing on the human system and we are constructing a neurochemically based mathematical system representing the essential steps in the dynamics of the human sleep-wake cycle.

Mark Holmes and Lisa Rogers’ work has received a great deal of publicity since the publication of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute release. Their work has enormous relevance to those working with athletes and underscores the interdisciplinary dimensions of performance. The aim of this post is to add resources to the applied research in athlete (and coach) behaviour and to make an explicit link with Richard Stickgold’s work and Antti Revonsuo’s research.

Postcript

I am grateful to Matthias Melcher for an introduction to Daniel Erlacher‘s work in the Institut für Sport und Sportwissenschaft at the University of Heidelberg.  This is a link to Daniel’s thesis (2005) Motor Learning in Lucid Dreams. This a link to research directions in Daniel’s work (and this a translation from German of his research directions). Daniel is researching: memory consolidation during sleep, sleep before competition, motor activity in REM dreams, and better sleep following physical activity.

Photo Credits

Taking a Nap

Played Out

Sleigh

Food for Thought 2.1

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I had hoped to add to my Food for Thought 1.1 post last week but events overtook me! I was thinking that by the time I reached Adrian Hill‘s blog I would have written a Food for Thought 1.4 post. Instead I am at week two in the Rs.

In this week in review, Ruth Demitroff posted about Blip.fm, Chief Justice John Roberts and Barack Obama’s Inauguration Address. In her post on the Address, Ruth links to a new York Times article by Stanley Fish. Ruth draws attention to text as parataxis and I think this has implications for how we write in our blogs.

Rodd Lucier posted about the inauguration too (as did Pierfranco Ravotto with links to YouTube, Lee Kolbert on the first digital presidential portrait and Lani Hall). In other posts this week Rodd discussed: online identity (and offered advice about security, see too Kristina Hoeppner’s post); pendulum swings in education and included a Teacher 2.0 podcast (see Nellie Muller‘s post along these lines); and concluded the week with a post about Creative Commons.

Rhondda had a busy week of posts. Early in the week she reviewed the Icerocket search engine. In her next post (It’s not about the technology) she observes that “In the past 12 months I have found an amazing world on-line, that offers me so much for my own professional learning, making me a better teacher and I hope that some of my posts/links have assisted others as well”. She then posted about Worldometers (world statistics updated in real time) and day later abour reading options and DailyLit. Rhondda’s week concluded with her post about useful links. All this whilst preparing for a new school term in Melbourne, Australia.

Pat Parslow’s most recent post was a position paper (with Shirley Williams and Karsten Oster Lundqvist) on the future of social networking.

Nellie Deutsch has been incredibly busy with the Digifolios and Personal Learning Spaces Ning site. Most recently she was involved in a Wiziq discussion about online identity (recording available at the Ning site).

This week the LibraryTechNZ Source post provided an update on digital libraries and library innovations from around the world. In the post

it is the smart and sensitive teacher, endlessly re-inventing her practice, noticing what works for individual kids, that makes the difference. Or the creative and flexible principal, willing to suspend the Big Expensive Program, guaranteed to yield (and I hate the way this word has been co-opted) results–in favor of something that meets the needs of real kids.

Milton Ramirez had a busy week of posts including teaching as an attractive and exciting career opportunity, the results of the PEW report, a discussion (inspired by a post by Doug Johnson) of the impact of books, blogs, articles and columns, three posts on Barack Obama, and a discussion of connectivism. Milton’s last post of the week introduced me to Sugar Labs. I hope to return to Sugar Labs soon!

Mike Gotta drew attention to a Web 0.0 paper from 1991 in his first post of the week. He followed this up with a discussion of the importance of Lotuspere 2009 and Lotus Connections and SharePoint.

Mike Bogle’s Techticker was a mine of information this week. He discussed free culture and Creative Commons and linked to Lawrence Lessig. (Melanie McBride posted about Lawrence Lesig this week too.) Mike’s post reports how he has created an audio archive of Lawrence’s four free culture presentations. Mike includes the workflow of how he did this.

… in the interests of transparency and respect for open source purists, I wanted to include the work flow process I used to ultimately produce the OGG version.  I relied upon as much open source software as I could (as always), however there are two notable exceptions that I’d like to menition. Namely, the process was conducted on Windows XP and included the MP4 codec during the initial rip from YouTube.

(See Mike’s discussion of Open Source this week for his take on sharing.)

Mike’s second post of the week was a slow blog about the Digital Youth Project and includes a video blog about his thoughts. Mike observes that “the results (of the project) point to a dynamic and complex ecosystem of interaction amongst young people that I believe we would do well to consider in discussions on elearning and new media – and in particular the manner with which education should seek to foster engagement and lifelong learning amidst young people.” His final post of the week discusses TOTLOL and children’s digital literacy.

In addition to her post about Lawrence Lessig, Melanie McBride shared news of her presentation at Web Weekend in Vancouver in February. Her talk, “Magazines2.0: The Sharing Revolution,” will consider existing and emergent issues related to the publisher and reader of web2.0 publications.

Matthias Melcher considered connectivist taxonomy this week. His post addresses the visualisation of a taxonomy in a very interesting way and he draws upon his native German landscape to to help him. He concludes that “the concept cluster of learning network/ ecology/ space is too overburdened and deserves some dissection.”

Lisa Lane discussed videoconferencing this week. She reflected on a Business Week article to develop her own use of videoconferencing. Mike Bogle commented on Lisa’s post and shared this link. Lisa responded with a discussion of Seesmic and its potential. (It was interesting to read Kristina Hoeppner’s post on the lens-eye after reading Lisa and Mike’s exchange.)

Lee Kolbert’s post this week took a close look at the potential of Nibipedia for teachers and students. She considers some of the access issues that might occur with some of the content and one of the creators of Nibipedia, Troy Peterson responds to Lee’s observations.  (Stephen Downes posted on Nibipedia too this week.)

Kristina Hoeppner posted three times this week. In her first post she discusses some of the issues raised by the availability of Userfly (a new online service which allows you to record a screencast of anybody who comes to your website) and the appearance of Tumbarumba. Her third post of the week reports the discovery of an apartment in Leipzig that was in an untouched condition from almost a decade before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

I was unable to access Konrad Glogowski‘s blog at the time of writing this summary.

Kevin Jones’ post this week reports on How Conferences Should Be Done and points to the Americorps Ning site.

I could not think of a better place to end my alphabet review this week with a visit to the busy week of Karyn Romeis and her learning journey. Her blog is “a catch-all for things that have caught my eye, links to helpful information and the odd soapbox moment”. Tuesday’s picture of the day was ‘Computer Hell‘ ( “Oh, for a techie to come and look over my shoulder and say, “Ah yes. I see what the problem is.” And then FIX it.”) (By Thursday the Articulate User Community had come to her rescue.) Karyn linked to Blurb in another of her posts and discussed the idea of publishing your own bespoke book.

There are 16 Js in my Nourishment list so I will draw breath here and hope that nature and workflow this week give me an opportunity to write Food for Thought 2.2. I am off to Sydney to celebrate our son‘s birthday. Somehow we have persuaded him that a trip to a Leonard Cohen concert is just what he needs!