Learning with Novelty – Gangnum Style!

A new phenomenom has hit the internet and you may have heard of it- PSY Gangnam Style! This newbie Korean singer with “cheesy” dance moves (as he quoted himself) has been #1 on the itunes stores for weeks. Recently, he appeared on the Today Show and The Ellen Show. His dance moves are being copied all over the world from Australia to Saudi Arabia!

So, what makes PSY and his style so special? One word- Novelty! That’s right and this word novelty is actually a form of helping people learn and retain new information. Amazingly, this can be related to the field of Education. Just as new video games and tech toys grab young people and adults attention, alike, so does anything new! Yes-anything! So try something new, the next time you want to get someone’s attention in or outside of the classroom.

Brain research confirms that novelty is a mechanism for learning. It aids in retaining new information. However, once the “newness” has worn off, another type of novelty will continue the process.

Imagine using this silly video to teach children with. The possibilities are endless. Children could compare the original version to the American version. Students could research and translate the original Korean lyrics to American. They could study the impact of viral videos on the web or even calculate the percentage of You Tube “hits” each day. Quite simply, they could write about how the song made them “feel” the first time that they heard it. Math, Social Studies, Foreign language, Technology and Writing can be taught with one simple song!

Now keep in mind that this song has the word “sexy” as part of its lyrics-so it may not appropriate for the classroom (well, it may even be banned). However, this platform of learning through novelty, language and You Tube, can be used in so many educational ways.

How could you use a You Tube video to teach your students?

Saudi Gangnam Style:

Psy on the Ellen Show:

“Environmental Novelty is Associated with a Selective Increase in Fos Expression in the Output Elements of the Hippocampal Formation and the Perirhinal Cortex”