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  • Gaming enhances learning-induced plastic changes in the brain

    Junttila, Katja; Smolander, Anna-Riikka; Karhila, Reima; Giannakopoulou, Anastasia; Uther, Maria; Kurimo, Mikko; Ylinen, Sari; University of Helsinki; Tampere University; University of Bedfordshire; et al. (Elsevier, 2022-04-26)
    Digital games may benefit children's learning, yet the factors that induce gaming benefits to cognition are not well known. In this study, we investigated the effectiveness of digital game-based learning in children by comparing the learning of foreign speech sounds and words in a digital game or a non-game digital application. To evaluate gaming-induced plastic changes in the brain, we used the mismatch negativity (MMN) brain response that reflects the access to long-term memory representations. We recorded auditory brain responses from 37 school-aged Finnish-speaking children before and after playing a computer-based language-learning game. The MMN amplitude increased between the pre- and post-measurement for the game condition but not for the non-game condition, suggesting that the gaming intervention enhanced learning more than the non-game intervention. The results indicate that digital games can be beneficial for children's speech-sound learning and that gaming elements per se, not just practice time, support learning.
  • Mentoring at times of crises: personal reflections on mentoring relationships during COVID-19

    Wassif, Hoda; Wake, Charlotte; University of Bedfordshire (Wiley, 2022-05-06)
    COVID-19 presented a huge challenge for practice, education and all interactions, and mentorship was no different. The purpose of this commentary is to reflect on the juxtaposition between mentors and mentees in dental education during COVID-19. This commentary will focus on the interaction between mentor/mentee outside clinical practice and in relation to supporting and mentoring dental practitioners in the context of postgraduate education. The aim is to share our learning from this experience with other dental educators beyond COVID-19.
  • Genomic insights into recent species divergence in Nicotiana benthamiana and natural variation in Rdr1 gene controlling viral susceptibility.

    Cauz-Santos, Luiz A.; Dodsworth, Steven; Samuel, Rosabelle; Christenhusz, Maarten J.M.; Patel, Denise; Shittu, Taiwo Adewale; Jakob, Aljaž; Paun, Ovidiu; Chase, Mark W.; ; et al. (Wiley, 2022-05-10)
    One of the most commonly encountered and frequently cited laboratory organisms worldwide is classified taxonomically as Nicotiana benthamiana (Solanaceae), an accession of which, typically referred to as LAB, is renowned for its unique susceptibility to a wide range of plant viruses and hence capacity to be transformed using a variety of methods. This susceptibility is the result of an insertion and consequent loss of function in the RNA dependent RNA polymerase 1 (Rdr1) gene. However, the origin and age of LAB and evolution of N. benthamiana across its wide distribution in Australia remains relatively underexplored. Here, we have used multispecies coalescent methods on genome-wide single nuclear polymorphisms (SNPs) to assess species limits, phylogenetic relationships and divergence times within N. benthamiana. Our results show that the previous taxonomic concept of this species in fact comprises five geographically, morphologically and genetically distinct species, one of which includes LAB. We provide clear evidence that LAB is closely related to accessions collected further north in the Northern Territory; this species split much earlier, c. 1.1 million years ago, from their common ancestor than the other four in this clade and is morphologically the most distinctive. We also found that the Rdr1 gene insertion is variable among accessions from the northern portions of the Northern Territory. Furthermore, this long-isolated species typically grows in sheltered sites in subtropical/tropical monsoon areas of northern Australia, contradicting the previously advanced hypothesis that this species is an extremophile that has traded viral resistance for precocious development.
  • A philosophical inquiry into subject English and creative writing

    Belas, Oliver (Routledge, 2022-05-10)
    Table of Contents Part I: Aims & Scope of the Book Chapter 1 Writing in, about, & from the Classroom Chapter 2 Mapping the Terrain of Schooled English & Creative Writing Part II: Problems of Knowledge Chapter 3 Problems of Individual Knowledge Chapter 4 Problems of Curricular & Disciplinary Knowledge: The Curious Case of School English Chapter 5 Reading, Writing, & a Very Rough Sketch of Revised English Studies (Coda to Part II) Part III: Writing Beyond the English Studies Classroom Chapter 6 Thinking as a Kind of Writing, Writing as a Kind of Philosophy; or, On Lightbulb Moments
  • A commentary on soccer match-play simulations for applied research and practice

    Field, Adam C.; Harper, Liam D.; Aldous, Jeffrey William Frederick; Page, Richard M. (Taylor and Francis Online, 2022-05-09)
    Soccer is a fast-growing area of research, demonstrated by a 10-fold increase in the number of PubMed articles derived from the search term ‘soccer’ between 2001 and 2021. The scope of contemporary soccer related articles ranges from match-play observations to laboratory evaluations of performance. The activity profile of soccer match-play is variable and techniques to collect data within matches are limited. Soccer-specific simulations have been developed to simulate the evolving demands of match-play. The evolutionary designs of novel simulations provide a reproducible exercise stimulus for varying researcher and practitioner objectives. The applied researcher can utilise simulations to investigate the efficacy of nutritional interventions and environmental stress on performance, while assessing the physiological and biomechanical responses to representations of match-play. Practitioners can adopt simulations for rehabilitation to progressively facilitate return-to-play processes, while implementing extra top-up conditioning sessions for unused and partial-match players. However, there are complexities involved with the selection of varying simulations which are dependent on the research question or practical application. There also remains a paucity of published information to support researchers and practitioners in selecting from differing simulation models. To assist with researcher and practitioner interpretations, we present a commentary of the current simulations to inform decision-making processes for research and training purposes and enhance the application of future research. An objective scoring system was adopted for rating the research and practical applications of each simulation design. Overall scores of 22, 16 and 18 out of 36 were revealed for free-running (n = 7), non-motorised- (n = 4) and motorisedtreadmill-based simulations (n = 4), respectively.

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