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As a teacher, it is tempting to conclude that your students will understand and remember simple information (like a brief factor quick directions) that you have just told them. However, consider the situation in which a student, Karla, is still tryingto understand a previously explained concept. Karla's working memory is operating at full capacity with attempts to processearlier information and thus cannot successfully deal with the simple instruction or fact that you have now stated. Workingmemory is altogether too limited to thoroughly process rapidly delivered information.


The concept of attention is one's focus on a given portion of all possible stimuli. This is also the layman's understanding of theterm “attention,” so you are already familiar with this idea. Whatever you are thinking about (i.e., whatever is currently inworking memory) is what you are paying attention to. Wesometimes use the phrase “selective attention” to indicate that we must select a limited amount of information to process, and ignore theremainder of the incoming information streams.

Demonstration activity

Notice how selective attention is necessary to focus on the target voice and number in this activity: (External Link)

Practice and automaticity

The longer a piece of information is effectively processed (e.g., through elaborative rehearsal), the more we understand it and the morelikely we will be to remember it at a later time. In layman's terms, this is called practice. In the classroom, first-graders will need to practice their reading skills more than sixth-gradersbecause the sixth-graders have “put in their time” already and have spent a considerable number of hours practicing their reading to thepoint where it is now automatic. When a skill (such as reading) has been automatized, it requires fewer working-memory resources and thus consumes less space in working memory; this has the benefitof freeing up the remaining space in working memory for other thoughts. For example, how burdensome is it for you to figure out howto pronounce the word “conundrum” compared to the time it would take a first-grader? Because you can easily process this word, you cansimultaneously consider the ideas “conundrum” and “Aunt Mary's wallet is missing from her purse, and we didn't see anyone enter orexit the room.” A first-grader would be capable of comparing these ideas but would require much more time to arrive at a completeunderstanding of the intersection between these two ideas than you would need, because you have already automatized much of the requisiteprocessing.

In summary, then, practice speeds up processing because it automatizes critical skills.

Long-term memory

Long-term memory is just what it sounds like: an area that stores information permanently. To arrive in long-term memory, informationmust have been sufficiently processed in working memory. Stated another way, working memory is the exclusive route to long-termmemory. How does information become “sufficiently processed” in working memory? By considering both the amount of time spent and thequality of processing encountered there. We will discuss different qualities of information processing later. For now, keep in mind that theamount of time one spends thinking about a topic (e.g., preparing for an exam) does not necessarily predict one's memory for that materialat a future point in time.

Duration and capacity

As far as we know, information is maintained in long-term memory indefinitely; there are no known expiration dates here. Additionally,there is no known limit to the amount of knowledge that can be stored in long-term memory. No one can credibly make the excuse that theydon't have room to store any more information!

Now perhaps you can begin to see why it is important for teachers to understand human cognitive architecture. Without fully appreciatingthe capabilities and limitations of the information-processing system, teachers could easily have unrealistic expectations for theirstudents—and that is not good for anybody.

Questions & Answers

How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
how can I make nanorobot?
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
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