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Keynote Descriptions

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. 

You Must Remember This: Why Memory is Important for Learning (Even in the Age of Google)

(75 minute interactive talk)

Contemporary faculty are wary of over-emphasizing memory and memorization in their courses. This aversion to focusing on memory stems from a wide variety of concerns, from the wish to nurture higher thinking skills, to resistance to a culture of over-testing in K-12 education, to repudiation of an outdated and hierarchical “banking” model of learning. These are all valid concerns. However, neglecting or avoiding memory in our teaching creates missed opportunities to take advantage of new research on the importance of developing a knowledge base while developing expertise in an academic discipline. It also sets students up to fail in situations where relying on the Internet for information is impractical or impossible. This interactive presentation challenges common myths and misconceptions about the role of memory for learning, reviews provocative new research linking memory and thinking skills, and offers techniques and technologies that help students develop a solid base of knowledge, without detracting from application or critical thinking.

Learning at the Intersection of Cognition, Motivation, and Technology: Fulfilling the Promise of Teaching with Technology

(70 minute interactive keynote)

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.

Critical Connections for Educational Developers: Five Routes for Bringing Learning Science to Teaching

Educational developers are expert connectors. By bringing together the right people, ideas, and resources, we advance our most cherished cause: expanding access to higher learning. As they work to accomplish this goal, today’s educational developers can draw on a massive and still-growing base of knowledge on how people learn. But is our field truly taking advantage of this evidence base, as consistently and as powerfully as it could? Opportunities for bringing theory to practice involve five distinct groups of participants and stakeholders, all of whom have unique needs and reasons for connecting to the evidence base on learning. In this interactive keynote presentation, Dr. Michelle Miller will identify these critical connections and invite participants to take action to make those connections in their own practices and on their own campuses.

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.