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David Anthony Colarusso - Sadly not Havoc Dinosaur
Intermittent musings on the law, science, education, technology, design, and life. Also, I build things: furniture, software, reasoned arguments... To learn more about that, click a persona below for my eponymous website.


For five months in 2007, I fancied myself a bit of an investigative journalist. Inspired by bloggers like Phil Plait and Ben Goldacre, I found myself investigating the pseudoscientific claims of Brain Gym along with my good friend and fellow teacher Kate Farrell. Interestingly, Goldacre linked to our work over on Bad Science. However, for the moment, this category is comprised entirely of posts from that investigation. What can I say? I’ve been busy.

Craving the Placebo Effect, a Business Model?

by David Colarusso - January 17th, 2007

Can business succeed in selling pedagogical snake oil to schools with only an oblique reference to Gardener’s multiple intelligences, a pinch of technobabble, and a promised panacea? What is Brain Gym, and why is it “IN?”

Last week, a fellow teacher and good friend digitalkatie blogged and personally ranted to me about attending a two hour Brain Gym training session. Apparently, it’s all the rage, and she wanted a few exercises for her students. For those of you who don’t know, as I didn’t, Brain Gym is a trademarked set of physical motions, “exercises,” designed to promote academic achievement. Right away, flags started going up. Especially if you visit the Brain Gym UK website and start counting the miraculous claims and ® symbols–14 ® on the main page alone. Now I’m not against making money in education, and in the interest of full disclosure, I run a small educational information management company. However, there’s something a little too slick and too confident about their pitch when you consider it’s for pedagogy.


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