Dr. Alex Thornton taught for seven years in Canada and Boston before shifting his focus to Educational Leadership. As Doctor of Education at RTSG Neuroscience, he brings his expertise in education and school program implementation to the consulting firm’s education related projects and studies. RTSG creates large scale interventions that use exercise to benefit groups of people. Dr. Thornton works in schools to maximize the benefits of physical education. His work has shown that, if done correctly, PE can improve academic performance in other subjects. He also collaborates closely with other educators, researchers and renowned thinkers to bring findings from sleep, nutrition, play, and Neuro/Biofeedback research to educational and organizational settings. His goal is to incorporate findings from neuropsychology into educational practice. Dr. Thornton joined us at the ISTE 2016 Conference EdTekTalks to share his findings on using exercise to change school cultures and optimize student learning. Using EEG and ERP data, he outlined in his talk the ways that exercise promotes attention and brain growth. Just a couple minutes of exercise can help students focus better and retain more information. The other side of the coin, however, is proper sleep. Memory is consolidated during sleep, and as students are getting less sleep than they did in the past—partly due to constant access to the Internet, online games, etc.—they are struggling harder to learn and retain information. Technology, says Thornton, interferes with both exercise and sleep, but also offers ideas and solutions to get more exercise and sleep. For educators and parents, finding the right balance is key to helping students do their best learning.
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