The Royal Society of Canada (RSC), the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) have collaborated to organize a timely symposium on the topic of “Brain Plasticity, Learning and Education.” The symposium will take place from June 14 to June 16 at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada. See here for further information.
Currently, Canada and Israel have a number of groups investigating issues related to brain plasticity, learning, and education, from animal models, to research on the development of cognitive abilities in the human brain. Such research is becoming increasingly important as nations begin to appreciate the role of education in the knowledge economy.
See here and here for recent CEN publications on brain plasticity and education.
The schedule for the CEN Research Group for this term is now available. Select the Research Group tab above.
There will be a PhD symposium entitled ‘Educational Neuroscience: A celebration of recent developments, theory and research’ at the forthcoming PsyPAG 2013 conference to be held at Lancaster University, 17-19 July 2013. Click here for further details. The symposium is sponsored by the BPS Psychology of Education Section. Here’s the abstract:
The symposium aims to present current research in educational neuroscience. The primary goal of this emerging field is to combine research in education, or educational psychology, with research from cognitive neuroscience. This is essential for understanding the cognitive mechanisms that underpin educational success, and provides an understanding of the relevant neural networks associated with learning. Furthermore, research has examined how oscillatory brain mechanisms can affect sensory perception, and how perception builds more complex cognitive systems. Educational neuroscience has wide-ranging implications, not only for how we understand the systems that underpin human learning, but by bringing us one step further to being able to predict different profiles of dysfunction. This knowledge is vital for facilitating diagnosis, and developing interventions that promote learning. The symposia will begin by introducing the conceptual framework of educational neuroscience, as described by Fischer, Goswami and Geake (2010), alongside research which has aimed to examine the electrophysiological basis of working memory in dyslexic individuals, and the consequences of an impaired working memory for learning. Therefore, this symposium aims to exhibit relevant research on brain functioning and learning, in typical and atypical populations. This might include, neuroimaging (e.g., fMRI, PET, EEG and MEG), or genetic studies of neurological function. Research that details how social learning processes have a top down influence upon the development of these cognitive mechanisms will also be welcomed. The symposium offers an excellent opportunity to discuss methodologies, theories and research within the field.
The CEN’s Professor Brian Butterworth, in collaboration with Prof. Yulia Kovas of Goldsmith’s College London, have just published a paper in the journal Science, entitled Understanding Neurocognitive Developmental Disorders Can Improve Education for All.
Professor Butterworth said “We now know that there are many disorders of neurological development that can give rise to learning disabilities, even in children of normal or even high intelligence, and that crucially these disabilities can also co-occur far more often that you’d expect based on their prevalence.
“We are also finally beginning to find effective ways to help learners with one or more specific learning disabilities [such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and autism], and although the majority of learners can usually adapt to the one-size-fits-all approach of whole class teaching, those with specific learning disabilities will need specialised support tailored to their unique combination of disabilities.”
See here for full UCL press release.
On April 17th, Prof. Michael Thomas gave a public lecture as part of Birkbeck’s Science week, on the topic of ‘The latest findings in autism research’.
Read a blog on the lecture here.
Appearing in the journal Trends in Neuroscience and Education:
Author: Michael S. C. Thomas. Title: Educational neuroscience in the near and far future: Predictions from the analogy with the history of medicine
Abstract: Educational neuroscience is an emerging field that, proponents argue, holds great promise for the future of education. Several commentators have drawn an analogy between what neuroscience might contribute to education in the future, and what science has historically contributed to medicine. In this article, I pursue the analogy in greater detail, in order to provide a glimpse of the possible implications of the discipline for education.
CEN’s Chloe Marshall and Michael Thomas gave keynote presentations to the Reading Recovery – Teacher Leader Professional Development Meeting at Institute of Education, on 7 March 2013.
Their talks gave an overview of recent cognitive neuroscience research on reading acquisition and developmental dyslexia. How does our knowledge of the brain basis of reading inform intervention for reading difficulties?
Full-time & Part-time, enrolling for 2013/2014 now
Information available here
In November 2012, the CEN ran a public workshop on literacy: “How do we get children reading?”, organized by Marshall. It attracted a capacity audience of 90, including teachers, educational psychologists, SENCOs, teaching assistants, speech and language therapists, and researchers.
Speakers included Kate Prentice (Cambridge Centre for Neuroscience in Education), Jared Brady (Head Teacher, St. Mary’s School Battersea), Mairead MacSweeney (CEN), David Bedford (children’s author), and Charles Hulme (UCL).
In collaboration with the Learning Skills Foundation charity, the CEN gave its 4th Public Policy Seminar in Whitehall in October 2012, entitled ‘Are We Wired For Science? Applying Neuroscience to the Mainstream Curriculum’.
The CEN’s Denis Mareschal and Andy Tolmie presented the latest research on how neuroscience can inform our understanding of science education. The seminar attracted a paying audience of 100.
See here for a report of the Seminar published in the Psychologist Magazine.