TGI Newsletter Issue #35 Learning CAN be fun. Training SHOULD be fun.
Training Games ARE fun!
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Dreams, Sleep and Memory
We still don't understand exactly why we dream, although there are some prevailing notions. Sigmund Freud published The Interpretation of Dreams in 1900 and presents an idea which most believe still to be relevant. This is the idea that dreams are a function of repressed emotions. Freud tells us that dreams are "the royal road to knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind." The tendency of modern people to trace their problems to childhood traumas or other repressed emotions begins with Freud. One of Freud's more important discoveries is that emotions buried in the unconscious surface in disguised form during dreaming, and that the remembered fragments of dreams can help uncover buried feelings (Reading About the World, Volume 2, edited by Paul Brians). The idea that we can actually help ourselves cope with the stresses of everyday life is truly alluring. No one would doubt the interest evoked for anything that provided us with insight into ourselves. Freud believed that dream content was a sort of mixture of repressed childhood anxiety, and the previous day's occurrence. This appears sound because our dreams do seem to, at least as far as content is concern, reflect recent experience. According to Brandan Schulze (©1997 ThinkQuest Team 11189), "If our minds have been dealing with too much denial, regression, or repression, it causes an internal conflict, a dream in this case, to take place. This prevents us from building up intolerable states of psychological tension in waking life. This is why, if you become too emotional, it actually works to sleep it off." So dreams in deed do have a purpose, and act as a kind of daily tension release value.

A second theory, advanced by Evans (1984) suggests that dreams are a by-product of the nightly reorganizing efforts of our brains. During REM sleep, the conscious mind goes offline and our brain begins the process of "scanning in" and sorting through the information gathered during the day in order to commit it to memory. During sleep, our conscious mind somehow peeks behind the curtain and catches glimpses of the brain feverishly sorting and filing. These bits and pieces are considered and interpreted by the mind as if we were still awake, and these interpretations become the content of our dreams. Interesting, and not without some sense of being exactly correct. We've all had the experience of sleeping on a problem that, after resting, results in our shouting "EUREKA, why didn't I think of that yesterday". It makes sense that after all the facts are considered, properly sorted and filed, answers to problems materialize. It also feels right that our dreams might be a hodgepodge of yesterday's sensory inputs which we somehow try to string together into some logical story line. Often the story line causes us to scratch our heads the next morning, as we try to reconstruct the dream.

In 1983, Crick & Mitchison (F. Crick & G. Mitchison - The function of dream sleep. Nature 304, 111-114) proposed that one function of REM sleep was as an unlearning mechanism. Their theory of dreams, similar to Evans, sees the brain operating during REM sleep to sort through the multitude of yesterday's sensory inputs. We know the brain is extremely active during REM sleep. Crick and Mitchison believe that what our brain is actually doing is busily cleaning up our neural networks. We take in so much sensory input during the day, it makes sense we would need to discard or erase what Crick and Mitchison refer to as "spurious memory". What better time to clean up our neuronal networks than while we are asleep; when sensory input has all but ceased.

Further evidence and adding strength to Evans' as well as Crick and Mitchison's theories is the fact that we perform better after a good night's rest. This from Bill Klemm, Ph. D. Found in his article entitled Getting from Here to There: Making Memory Consolidation Work, "Experiments have shown that human memory performance unexpectedly deteriorated if learning sessions were increased to four 60-minute sessions at regular intervals on the same day. In other words, the more the subjects were trained, the poorer they performed. However, this interference did not occur if subjects were allowed to nap for 30-60 minutes between the second and third sessions. This is yet another reason why students should not cram-study for exams. Learning should be optimized by rehearsing the same learning material on separate days where normal sleep occurred each night.

Furthermore, a recent study conducted by Prof. Avi Karni and Dr. Maria Korman of the Center for Brain and Behavior Research at the University of Haifa found a ninety minute daytime nap helps speed up the process of long term memory consolidation. The hope of further research is to discover methods to accelerate memory consolidation in adults and to create stable memories in a short time. Until then it's nice to know as I age that napping is a good thing and sweet dreams!

Let TGI Customize a Game for You!
As many of you who have visited our site ( know we are constantly coming up with new training games and tools. I talk to many of our customers and know that they often want the game that they purchase to have the look and feel of their own organization. Because our games are built in MS PowerPoint and Excel there is already a fair amount of customization you can do on your own. We thought it might be nice however if we took the ability to customize a game one step further, so we did! TGI now offers a Custom Quiz Show. We actually add your own graphics, logos and organization colors, usually from your own website. There are three game formats to choose from and other operational choices you can make to get just the game you're looking for. Here is the web page for the TGI Custom Quiz Show along with the PDF Help file we provide to explain the games' features and benefits. (sorry, this product is no longer available)

Famous Quotes
Leslie HartHuman Brain & Human Learning 1983 — "All around us are hand-compatible tools and machines and keyboards, designed to fit the hand. We are not apt to think of them in that light, because it does not occur to us that anyone would bring out some device to be used by human hands without being sure that the nature of hands was considered. A keyboard machine or musical instrument that called for eight fingers on each hand would draw instant ridicule. Yet we force millions of children into schools that have never seriously studied the nature and shape of the human brain, and which not surprisingly prove actively brain-antagonistic."

Henry David Thoreau — "Dreams are the touchstones of our characters."

Diogenes Laertius — "We are more curious about the meaning of dreams than about things we see when awake."

TGI Presents Mac 6-Packs
Our new Mac 6-Pack Games are designed to work on a Mac but will also work on a PC !

Some of our most popular PowerPoint based games now for Macintosh:

TGI PowerPoint Mac 6-Pack Quiz Show Games
TGI PowerPoint Mac 6-Pack Ice Breakers
TGI PowerPoint Mac 6-Pack Team Builders

Single User Lifetime License $99.99

Products From TGI
Contact [email protected] or call 602-750-7223

Free TGI Icebreaker Game –
Valentine's Day Quiz Questions

We've included a free TGI PowerPoint or Excel based Ice Breaker Game in this newsletter and promise to send you a free game with each and every issue! These games are great fun, and will make your meetings, presentations and training sessions more interactive and engaging. Right-click and save the file to your computer. The download link is only active in newsletters sent out to TGI subscribers.

Educating the Human Brain
Training games are all about grabbing attention to facilitate learning. That's why I reprinted this article on Rothbart and Posners book Educating the Human Brain (Below). We structure our games so that the instructor or trainer can pulse between the game and new learning. The game acts to focus attention, and by pulsing in and out of the game, the trainer can achieve higher levels of retention and learning. Here's the article...

Good news! Michael Posner and Mary Rothbart, distinguished researchers in attention and development, have collaborated on Educating the Human Brain (2007), a very important and informative book that focuses principally on our attention system and its developmental capabilities.

The authors argue persuasively that although attention is an innate brain property, early explicit instruction can enhance its consciously controlled elements. Effectively attending to the dynamics of a challenge doesn't insure a successful response, but not appropriately attending to it typically leads to an unsuccessful response. Developing a robust attention system is thus a critical first step in the development of effective problem solving and response skills.

One could similarly say that knowing how a cognitive system functions doesn't insure that educators can immediately improve its performance, but not knowing how it functions almost insures that professional folklore will drive instructional practice. Understanding attention and other brain systems is thus a first step that educators must take towards improving the cognitive capabilities of students. It's now become basic knowledge for 21st century educators who will implement the biologically driven instructional interventions that are already beginning to emerge.

Posner and Rothbart's book makes demands on readers who have a limited understanding of the neurobiology of brain systems and processes. The good news is that a continually increasing number of educators can now comprehend the professionally exciting research discoveries and teaching interventions that Posner and Rothbart describe. My advice to the rest is to get informed, because neurobiological discoveries will increasingly drive 21st century educational policy and practice.

The book begins with a fascinating explanation of how biological research became a factor in our understanding of teaching and learning. Central to this is an excellent explanation of the capabilities and constraints of neuroimaging technology. The authors' long distinguished research careers give them the credibility that can only come from those who were actually involved in the emergence of the cognitive neurosciences.

The heart of the book is focused on the dynamics of the three distinct networks that regulate attention: (1) the alerting network that prepares us to receive new information and maintains a necessary level of alertness, (2) the orienting network that shifts the current focus to something deemed possibly more important, and (3) the executive network that draws heavily on memory to recognize the identity of the new challenge (foreground), determine its significance, and separate it from background information (which it then merely monitors or ignores). Since it's often not clear whether a challenge is a danger or opportunity, or which of several current challenges is most important, this network is critical to the resolution of such ambiguities. A dysfunctional executive network may attempt to solve the wrong problem, or to solve problems it doesn't understand. This error occurs at all levels, from within individual brains to the sets of interacting brains that constitute a company or government. The development of the conscious regulation of our emotions, thoughts, and behavior (which is what attention does) is affected by such elements as temperament and the environment in which a child lives—and the book discusses these factors in a manner that will be very helpful to educators and parents.

Children differ in their attentional preferences, and in their capacity to regulate attention. What an odd world it would be if we were all culturally and cognitively cloned, with the same interests and abilities. The individual differences that mentors thus confront are challenging, but to complain about them is like a custodian complaining that the floors are dirty. Human variability defines our assignment.

The book provides an excellent explanation of the underlying neurobiology of spoken/written language and numeracy. Within this discussion, the authors describe the kinds of interventions that already show promise in improving the attentional capabilities of young children, so that they will not be hampered by the attentional demands of the school and its curriculum. The concomitant explosion of new developments in computer and videogame technologies will play an important role in the development of effective and appropriate training interventions.

Educating the Human Brain is a very informative and optimistic book for those who have a basic understanding of our brain and its processing systems. It projects a future in which many of the problems that educators and parents currently confront will be ameliorated.

The renowned neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga commented on the book: Anybody who thinks that neuroscience is not yet ready for the field of education had better read this book. Posner and Rothbart lay out a sensible and accessible story that will impact the classroom for years to come.

This article was created by Scientific Learning.

TGI Presentation Game 4.0

Step 1 - Bring your entire PowerPoint presentation into the Presentation Game
Step 2 - Add in our fun, fully animated TGI Interactive Game Slides to enhance your presentation.
Step 3 - With just a push of one button instantly add the automated scoreboard and many great game features to ALL of the slides in your presentation.

In less than a minute, transform any PowerPoint presentation into an Interactive PRESENTATION GAME. Features include a Game Scoreboard, Random Selectors, Random Number Selectors, and plenty of ready-to-go interactive game slides to engage your audience.

Need more information on the Presentation Game? Click here to open the PDF Help file which is included with the Presentation Game. Click here to open a brief PowerPoint presentation to guide you through the steps for creating and playing the Presentation Game.

Single User Lifetime License $99.99
Buy Now

Deal Game Ultima
Our Deal? Game XF is based on the popular television show "Deal or No Deal" with participants answering your training questions to keep the values they choose. Add this great game to your training program! All the excitement, sounds and tough decisions of the real game!

Will they take a chance
and buy the lockbox
or play it safe
and take the offer?

For full game features description, go to:
(Single User License $ 99.99)

(sorry this game is no longer available)

Become a TGI Affiliate
Have a website or blog? Earn a whopping 43% commission by promoting our training games. TGI's affiliate program gives you the opportunity to sell Training Games products on your website. Simply copy and paste simple product links into your website. Click here for detailed information or to enroll as an affiliate today.

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