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Keynote Descriptions

Thriving Minds: What’s Working, What’s Not, and What’s Next in Teaching with Technology

(70 minute talk followed by Q&A)

Educational technology has survived its early challenges – but is it thriving yet? This keynote opens with an overview of what evidence-based, engaging, technologically-enhanced teaching can look like in practice, with specific examples drawn from multiple disciplines. It then considers areas within educational technology where challenges remain, and approaches that can address those challenges. These include making students our allies in the fight against distraction and disengagement; explicitly considering cognitive principles when developing, incorporating and evaluating new technologies; and nurturing innovation among faculty and instructional designers.


Design for the Mind: Strategies from the Psychology of Learning

(60 minute talk, optionally followed by additional 45 minute breakout session)

Educators are all in the business of changing minds. We build new memories, guide students in developing new skills, and promote the development of values and mindsets. Attention, memory, and higher thought processes are three aspects of the mind that are particularly critical to learning, and are areas where instructional technology can be the most helpful. In this talk, we explore principles connected to these three aspects of the mind, emphasizing the unique advantages that technology offers as we strive to use these principles in our teaching.


Learning at the Intersection of Cognition, Motivation, and Technology: Making the Most of What Research Tells Us

(50 minute talk or 1.5-2 hour interactive session)

One of the great promises of educational technology is that it helps us take advantage of research findings from cognitive, brain, and learning sciences in our quest to create evidence-based, effective learning activities. But, there is a catch: these kinds of activities often require more effort from students, not less, and students lacking self-regulation skills will miss out on many of their benefits. This talk presents a framework for bringing cognitive and motivational research together in our teaching, with examples of technologically-enhanced learning activities that make the most of what we know about how the mind works.


We Know What to Do – So Why Don’t We? Mobilizing Campus Communities to Support Teaching and Learning

(60 minute interactive talk, optionally incorporating time for small groups discussion)

Our era has seen barriers to higher education fall: More people are getting to learn, in more times and more places, than ever before. We also know more than ever about the science of learning, which allows us to design better and more compelling educational experiences for our students. And yet, there remain significant gaps between what we know and what happens in practice. Administrative obstacles, unclear objectives and goals, even philosophical differences can all get in the way of creating positive change that lasts. This interactive talk focuses on common barriers we face in our push for more effective approaches to teaching and learning, and practical ways to overcome them.


Teaching Students to Think: Insights from Cognitive Psychology

(60 minute interactive talk)

There is wide consensus that a college education should equip students with thinking skills such as critical reasoning, problem solving and logical analysis. Yet these abilities can be surprisingly difficult to build, sometimes eluding even the most expert instructors. And without explicit focus on higher thought processes, the learning experience can easily devolve into memorization and regurgitation.  Fortunately, the research literature in cognitive psychology offers insights that teachers can use to deliberately strengthen thinking skills. This interactive talk surveys theoretical concepts including formal and analogical reasoning, insight and non-insight problem solving, structural elements of problems, expertise, and transfer, all contextualized within teaching and learning.


Mobilizing Faculty for Student Success: The First Year Learning Initiative

(60 minute interactive talk)

In higher education, we know a great deal about how to design courses to support student success, but it can be challenging to get these practices implemented in a systematic way across an entire campus. This session presents the unique approach, documented impacts, and future directions of NAU’s First Year Learning Initiative, through which faculty serving as course coordinators overhauled the pedagogy and design of over 75 courses, including large, high failure gateway courses.