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Fall 2014 Seminars-EC
Fall Seminars 2014 - WC
Focused, Organized Minds:
Using Brain Science to Engage Attention in a Distracted World
November 20-22, 2014
Boston, MA

Classroom attention is under siege. Today’s technology is creating more classroom distractions and disorganization. Yet, academic testing and Common Core State Standards require students to be more focused and organized in order to succeed. Neuroscience may offer a way to engage these attention, organization and study skills. Discover classroom strategies and new cognitive technologies to improve student focus, planning and executive function skills.

Learning Objectives:

  • Gain knowledge about the brain science of attention
  • Apply strategies to increase focus and reduce distractions
  • Examine ways digital devices are causing disconnected families
  • Use iPads, apps and video games for attention, reading and STEM
  • Apply organizational skills to your classrooms, workplace and home
  • Implement teaching methods to boost executive function and thinking

Who Should Attend:

  • Educators & Parents
  • Curriculum & Staff Developers
  • Speech-Language Pathologists
  • PreK-12 Teachers & Administrators
  • Learning Specialists & Special Educators
  • Psychologists, Social Workers & Counselors
  • ADHD, Autism & Sensory Disorder Specialists
  • Reading, Science, Math & Technology Teachers
  • Executive Function & Organization Experts
  • Occupational, Career & Health Professionals
  • College, University & Teen Educators
  • School Reformers & Policy Makers
  • Superintendents, Principals & School Heads

Download Conference Brochure (pdf)


Official hashtag for updates and related stories: #LB39




Combining cutting-edge research with practical findings, Dr. Goleman will delve into the science of attention. In an era of unstoppable distractions, he will argue that now more than ever, students must learn to sharpen focus if we are to survive in a complex world.

Daniel J. Goleman, PhD, Psychologist; Science Journalist; Twice Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize; Former Visiting Faculty Member, Harvard University; Author, Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence (2013), Social Intelligence (2006) and Emotional Intelligence



We live in an age of technology distraction, chronic multitasking, surplus of negative emotions and a brain-energy crisis. Coach Meg will share a new model for organizing your mind in a disorganized world. She will explain how our human ability to learn, adapt to change and be engaged, productive, collaborative, creative and thinking strategically depends upon a well-functioning prefrontal cortex, the CEO of the brain, as well as how today’s way of life is generating lousy operating conditions for our prefrontal cortex.

Margaret Moore, MBA, (aka Coach Meg), Co-Founder/ Co-Director, Institute of Coaching, McLean Hospital, Affiliate of Harvard Medical School; Author, Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life (2012) and “Train Your Brain to Focus” (2012, Harvard Business Review)


The information age is drowning us with an unprecedented amount of data. At the same time, we're expected to make more — and faster — decisions about our lives than ever before. Dr. Levitin will discuss how the latest findings from brain science can help us to regain a sense of mastery over the way we organize our homes, workplaces, time and lives in the age of information overload.

Daniel J. Levitin, PhD, FRSC, Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience; Director of the Laboratory for Music Perception, Cognition and Expertise, McGill University; Author, The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload (2014), Foundations of Cognitive Psychology (2010) and This Is Your Brain On Music (2006)



Childhood, family life and education have rapidly changed in thrilling ways and in challenging ways. Today’s family life is undergoing a massive transformation with children constantly texting their friends and playing on iPads and parents working online around the clock. At the same time, schools are increasingly using technology as a primary tool for learning and older students are spending more time on screens than on any other activity (including sleep). Many students describe a big disconnect between who they are at school, and who they are online, struggling with an online culture that is the antithesis of family and school values. Dr. Steiner-Adair will push the pause button to look at some of the psychological fallouts from our fast-paced adaptation to technology and will refresh our thinking about how to educate and raise children in the digital age and how to use technology as an ally to strengthen family connections and school communities.

Catherine Steiner-Adair, EdD, Clinical Instructor, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Associate Psychologist, McLean Hospital; Author, The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age (2013)



Focus in Learning

Combining cutting-edge research with practical findings, Dr. Goleman will delve into the science of attention. In an era of unstoppable distractions, he will argue that now more than ever, students must learn to sharpen focus if we are to survive in a complex world.

Daniel J. Goleman, PhD, Psychologist; Science Journalist; 2 Time Pulitzer Prize Nominee; Former Visiting Faculty Member, Harvard University; Author, Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence (2013), Social Intelligence (2006) and Emotional Intelligence (2005)

Distracted Minds Living in a Connected World

Dr. Gazzaley will explain how our brains manage the river of data that constantly floods it, how our capacities can be exceeded and the consequences of interference on our performance. He will discuss how our fundamental processing limitations interact with our increasingly saturated world of media, as well as growing expectations of immediate responsiveness. He will conclude with a discussion of potential remedies to this inference dilemma via both modifying our behavior and harnessing brain plasticity to enhance our cognitive abilities.

Adam H. Gazzaley, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco; Assistant Adjunct Professor, Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California, Berkeley; Host of the PBS-Special, The Distracted Mind; Co-Author, “Probing Plasticity of Attention and Working Memory” (2014, Cambridge Handbook on Applied Perception Research) and “Video Game Training Enhances Cognitive Control in Older Adults” (2013, Nature)

The Brain, Meditation, Attention and Cognition

Dr. Lazar will present data from her lab and others on the impact of meditation training on brain structure and function, focusing on how practice can enhance cognitive skills such as attention and processing speed.

Sara W. Lazar, PhD, Assistant Professor in Psychology, Harvard Medical School; Associate Researcher in the Psychiatry Department at Massachusetts General Hospital; Board Member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy; Co-Author, “Mindfulness Starts With the Body: Somatosensory Attention and Top-Down Modulation Of Cortical Alpha Rhythms in Mindfulness Meditation” (2013, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience)

Early Attention Problems and Achievement – Can Attention Skills Be Trained?

Dr. Rabiner will review the research linking early attention difficulties to short- and long-term academic achievement problems. He will review efforts to train and enhance children’s ability to pay attention and focus.

David L. Rabiner, PhD, Associate Dean, Trinity College of Arts and Sciences; Faculty Fellow, Center for Child and Family Policy, Duke University; Founder, Attention Research Update Newsletter; Co-Author, “Attention Problems and Academic Achievement: Do Persistent and Earlier-Emerging Problems Have More Adverse Long-Term Effects?” (2014, Journal of Attention Disorders)
chand o'neal

Laser Focus: Using the Arts as a Tool to Harness Creativity and Increase Attention in Classrooms

Dr. O’Neal will discuss current findings from a recent Kennedy Center study identifying ways in which the arts have been used to increase focus and attention in elementary classrooms. She will include highlights from the research showing teacher response data on how the arts have increased attention and focus in their own elementary school classrooms and student outcomes that resulted from integrating the arts.

Ivonne Chand O’Neal, PhD, Director of Evaluation, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Former Co-Investigator and Research Director at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles; Researcher studying creativity and the arts in the classroom

Better Focused and Focused Better

Ms. Hill will discuss the two sides of the attention coin – developing students’ capacity to focus and attend – and teaching in ways that engage and sustain attention. Effective tools and approaches to developing sustained attention, selective attention, divided attention, and flexible attention will be discussed, as will the role of teaching students about their brains and how attention works. Better focus means better learning. But, even when students have the capacity to focus, school is often the last thing they want to focus on. Techniques to get and sustain attention will be explained and modeled.

Betsy Hill, MAT, MBA, President and Chief Operating Officer, The Brainware Company and Learning Enhancement Corporation; Business Management Professor, Lake Forest Graduate School of Management

The Unengaged Mind: Understanding Boredom and Attention in the Classroom

Boredom is a serious challenge for students and teachers alike, yet surprisingly little is known about the underlying mental processes that occur during this aversive state. Dr. Fenske will discuss his recent studies that advance our understanding of how the brain's emotion and motivation systems both influence and are affected by attention and will provide important clues about boredom and how to optimize student engagement.

Mark J. Fenske, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience and Applied Cognition, University of Guelph; Co-Author, “The Unengaged Mind Defining Boredom in Terms of Attention” (2012, Perspectives on Psychological Science) and The Winner's Brain: Eight Strategies Great Minds Use to Achieve Success (2010)

Focused Minds: Maximizing Student Attention and Engagement in the K-12 Classroom

Dr. Almarode will explore the ins and outs of attention and engagement in the K-12 classroom. How do we get students to the edge of their seats for new learning and then keep them engaged? This session will link the most recent research on attention and engagement and how to foster and nurture both in the age of distractions and Common Core State Standards.

John T. Almarode, PhD, Assistant Professor, College of Education, James Madison University; Co-Author, “Energizing Students: Maximizing Student Attention and Engagement in the Science Classroom” (2008, The Science Teacher)

Focusing on Classroom Attention and Learning

Mr. Watson will begin by introducing the neural subsystems, which by acting together create human attention. He will then look at specific teaching techniques, which support each one. Mr Watson will explain how understanding how attention really works in human brains, and knowing the strategies that support it most effectively, teachers can more easily promote student focus and enhance learning.

Andrew C. Watson, MEd, Founder and President, Translate the Brain; Former Dean of Faculty, The Loomis Chaffee School; Named “2011 Teacher of the Year” by Loomis Chaffee Student Council



The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight In The Age Of Information Overload

Daniel J. Levitin, PhD, FRSC, Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience, McGill University; Author, The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload (2014), Foundations of Cognitive Psychology (2010) and This Is Your Brain On Music (2006)


Organizing the Disorganized Child: Simple Strategies to Help Executive Function in Order to Achieve Success in School

In this talk for parents, teachers, administrators and school psychologists, Dr. Kutscher will discuss the root of organizational and executive function problems in schools and provide a clear plan to help your students and children develop an organizational system that really works. Learn about organizational styles, how to help students get organized in school and at home to get assignments done, and how to teach study skills such as note taking, studying, reading, synthesizing and test-taking.

Martin L. Kutscher, MD, Pediatric Neurologist; Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology, New York Medical College; Author, Kids in the Syndrome Mix of ADHD, LD, Autism Spectrum, Tourette's, Anxiety, and More (2014, 2nd Edition); Co-Author, ADHD—Living Without Breaks (2009) and Organizing the Disorganized Child: Simple Strategies to Succeed in School (2009)

Helping Sensory Children Get Organized in a Disorganized World

Ms. Dalgliesh will share strategies to help parents and educators create external organization through structure, routines and visual aids to help organize and empower rigid, anxious or distracted kids. Sensory kids, who are often overwhelmed by their environments and have challenges with executive function skills, need tools that help them break things down, eliminate distractions and create a visual guide for tasks. You will leave with strategies and real-life organizing examples that they can immediately be put to use with your students, patients, and/or your own children.

Carolyn G. Dalgliesh, BA, Professional Organizer and Member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO); Founder of Systems for Sensory Kids, LLC; Creator of the SSK Sensory Organizing System; Member of the Board of Governors for Bradley Hospital, Brown University; Author, The Sensory Child Gets Organized: Proven Systems for Rigid, Anxious, or Distracted Kids (2013)


PASS Theory and the Focused, Organized Mind

Dr. Goldstein will lay the foundation for how the mind works relative to neurocognitive processes based on the work of Renowned Soviet Neuropsychologist Alexander R. Luria. First, he will discuss planning, attention, simultaneous and successive processing and the role these abilities play in the manner in which students access and acquire knowledge as well as interact in the classroom and perform on exams. He will discuss ways that these executive abilities can be observed informally as well as formally evaluated. Discover strategies that can be used by educators to assist students in making better use of their abilities and thereby improving their school performance.

Sam J. Goldstein, PhD, Assistant Clinical Instructor, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Utah; Affiliate Research Professor of Psychology, George Mason University; Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Attention Disorders; Co-Author, Handbook of Executive Functioning (2014) and Comprehensive Executive Functioning Inventory (2013)

Extreme Classroom Makeover: Organize the Classroom to Develop Independent Executive Function Skills

This talk will include dozens of practical strategies to help teachers organize and use the classroom to help students be more organized and develop independent executive function skills to achieve the common core standards. Learn how you can use the classroom environment and technology to teach students to initiate and transition between tasks, be prepared for lessons, be less prompt dependent, sense the passage of time and pace themselves to complete tasks in allotted time frames. Tame the paper monster! Support students in managing their papers/binders and personal spaces (desk/cubby/locker), in bringing work home and returning assignments to school.

Sarah J. Ward, MS, CCC-SLP, Speech Language Pathologist; Adjunct Faculty, MGH Institute of Health Professions, Massachusetts General Hospital; Co-Director, Cognitive Connections Therapy

Teaching Executive Function Skills In and Out of the Classroom

Teaching young minds to think—clearly and efficiently—is a universal goal of parents and teachers alike. Thinking skills such as planning, goal setting, organizing, prioritizing, self-monitoring, accessing working memory, inhibitory (impulse) control and sustaining focused attention are critical to academic, vocational and relationship success at every age. Most important, the development of these skills allows youth to mature into relationship success at every age. Most important, the development of these skills allows youth to mature into independent, healthy and functional adults. Despite the importance of these “executive function” skills, these thinking processes are not systemically taught at home or in schools and are not the focus of mainstream school curriculums. Rather, schools emphasize the content or the “what” of learning. Executive function skills are the “how” of learning. When a student has poor or underdeveloped executive function skills, they can appear disorganized, unprepared and unmotivated. Mr. Kros will explain that by providing explicit instruction in executive function processes, parents and teachers can significantly elevate the thinking abilities in their children and students.

Frank J. Kros, MSW, JD, Social Worker; Child Advocate; President and Co-Founder, The Upside Down Organization; Executive Vice President, The Children’s Guild; Director of the National-At-Risk Education Network; Co-Author, Creating the Upside Down Organization: Transforming Staff to Save Troubled Children (2005)

Organizing the ADHD Brain in Children and Teens

Students with ADHD have a hard time organizing their belongings and also their thoughts, which can have a large impact on their academic functioning. Dr. Tuckman will discuss the relevant executive functions involved in these areas and offer strategies to help these students perform closer to their potential.

Ari Tuckman, PsyD, MBA, Clinical Psychologist; Author, Understand Your Brain, Get More Done: The ADHD Executive Functions Workbook (2012), More Attention, Less Deficit: Success Strategies for Adults with ADHD (2009) and Integrative Treatment for Adult ADHD (2007)



Smart But Stuck in School: Emotions and Unfocused Minds in Teens and Young Adults

Many bright students get “stuck” in an unproductive rut of disinterest and spiraling discouragement with school due to executive function impairments of ADHD and entangled emotions. For some this occurs early in their school years; for others, challenges of high school or college disrupt an earlier pattern of success. Dr. Brown will describe a variety of ways in which these students can be recognized and helped to get “unstuck.”

Thomas E. Brown, PhD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry; Associate Director, Yale Clinic for Attention and Related Disorders, Yale University; Author, Smart But Stuck: Emotions in Teens and Adults with ADHD (2014) and A New Understanding of ADHD in Children and Adults: Executive Function Impairments (2013)

New Insights into ADHD from Neuroimaging of the Brain

The diagnosis and treatment of ADHD remains a complex and controversial issue, including the extension from childhood ADHD to adult ADHD. Dr. Gabrieli will present new neuroimaging findings that offer evidence about the brain basis of ADHD. First, there are functional brain differences between individuals with childhood ADHD who go on as adults to persist with ADHD or remit from ADHD. Second, functional brain differences support the emerging idea that executive dysfunctions are dissociable from ADHD. These findings are examples of how neuroimaging findings can converge with clinical and behavioral findings to advance progress in a scientific understanding of ADHD.

John D.E. Gabrieli, PhD, Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences; Director, Athinoula A. Martinos Imaging Center, McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Co-Author, “Brain Differences Between Persistent and Remitted Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder” (2013, Brain)

The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age

Dr. Steiner will explain attention training through neurofeedback or computer cognitive exercises in the context of elementary and middle school students with ADHD, attention and engagement difficulties and executive function deficits. You will review a research update on these approaches and see a live demonstration of neurofeedback.

Catherine Steiner-Adair, EdD, Clinical Instructor, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Associate Psychologist, McLean Hospital; Author, The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age (2013)

Nowhere to Hide: The Impact of Stress on the Brains and Behavior of Students with LD and ADHD

Dr. Schultz will explore the negative impact of chronic stress on the cognitive function and emotions of students with LD and ADHD. You will learn about the cycle of fear, avoidance, stress and escapism that characterize the behavior of many students who do not fully understand their own learning differences. The DE-STRESS model of intervention will offer practical interventions for putting kids back on the track to success by helping students find success that builds competence and confidence.

Jerome J. Schultz, PhD, Clinical Neuropsychologist, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Former Co-Director, Center for Child and Adolescent Development; Author, NOWHERE TO HIDE: Why Kids with ADHD and LD Hate School and What We Can Do About It (2011)

Stress, Meditation and ADHD

Scientists have said, “stress mimics ADHD”, as the cognitive and behavioral effects of acute and chronic stress closely resemble the symptoms of ADHD. Dr. Stixrud will focus initially on the effects of stress on attention and on what current research suggests are the core executive functions, namely inhibition, working memory, and cognitive flexibility. He will then turn to the important role that meditation can play in alleviating stress and allowing the developing brain to function in a more coherent and focused manner. Research will be presented on both Mindfulness Meditation and Transcendental Meditation, and suggestions will be offered for developing meditation programs in schools.

William R. Stixrud, PhD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, George Washington School of Medicine; Adjunct Faculty, Children’s National Medical Center; Director, The Stixrud Group; Co-Author, “ADHD, Brain Functioning and Transcendental Meditation Practice” (2011, The Journal of Psychiatry)

The Effects of Early Adversity on the Brain, Attention and Cognitive Development

Dr. Nelson will provide a brief overview to the impact of early adverse experience on brain development as well as select aspects of cognitive development. He will specifically focus on the effects of toxic stress, maltreatment and neglect on development, attention and executive function.

Charles A. Nelson, III, PhD, Director of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School; Research Director, Division of Developmental Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital; Co-Author, Romania's Abandoned Children: Deprivation, Brain Development, and the Struggle for Recovery (2013)

When Traumatic Brain Injuries Cause a Child's Mind to Become Unfocused and Disorganized

Dr. Goldstein will provide a brief overview of statistics concerning the etiology and course of a traumatic brain injury in childhood, particularly focusing on children and adolescents of school age. He will discuss the most common behavioral, cognitive and emotional symptoms related to TBI, offer a framework for educators to understand the course of recovery and adaptation, and will explain the role neuropsychological assessment plays in treatment planning and monitoring. He will also discuss new emerging technologies focused on rehabilitating children struggling with the adverse consequences of TBI.

Sam J. Goldstein, PhD, Assistant Clinical Instructor, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Utah; Past Board of Directors, Brain Injury Association of Utah; Author of the e-book, Understanding and Managing Traumatic Brain Injury Cases for Attorneys (2014)



The Top-Down Control of Attention

Our senses are normally flooded with information, only a small portion of which is behaviorally relevant at any given moment. Our attentional systems are needed to block out distracting information in order to stay on task. However, difficulties in keeping attention focused have become common, not only in ADHD, but in a wide variety of psychiatric disorders. Behavioral methods alone are not often sufficient to alleviate attentional problems, but neural imaging studies have suggested a possible new approach using neurofeedback.

Robert Desimone, PhD, Doris and Don Berkey Professor of Neuroscience, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences; Director, McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Co-Author, “Neural Mechanisms of Object-Based Attention” (2014, Science)

Can Computers Train Attention at School? Impacts of Computer Cognitive and Neurofeedback Training on Childhood Attention and ADHD

Dr. Steiner will explain attention training through neurofeedback or computer cognitive exercises in the context of elementary and middle school students with ADHD, attention and engagement difficulties and executive function deficits. You will review a research update on these approaches and see a live demonstration of neurofeedback.

Naomi J. Steiner, MD, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician, Tufts Medical Center; Assistant Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine; Co-Author, “Neurofeedback and Cognitive Attention Training for Children With Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Schools” (2014, Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics)


Neuro-Gaming: Enhancing Perception, Attention and Cognition with Video Games

Dr. Green will examine the current research on the perceptual, attentional and cognitive consequences of playing various types of commercial video games (i.e., games designed with only entertainment in mind - not 'brain training'). In particular, the literature to-date shows that playing a sub-set of highly visually active and cognitive demanding games leads to enhancements in skills from low-level visual abilities (e.g., contrast sensitivity) up through higher level cognitive processing (e.g., multi-tasking or task-switching). These enhancements are of a scope and scale that researchers have begun to use these off-the-shelf games for a variety of real-world purposes including better focus, rehabilitation or job training.

C. Shawn Green, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, College of Letters and Sciences, McPherson Eye Research Institute; Affiliate Faculty Member in the Games+Learning Society, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Co-Author, “Learning, Attentional Control and Action Video Games” (2012, Current Biology) and “Increasing Speed of Processing with Action Video Games” (2009, Current Directions in Psychological Science)

Playing Smarter in a Digital World: Improving Attention and Executive Functioning Through Technology

Drs. Stoner and Kulman will help you be able to choose and use the best and most popular video games and apps for improving attention, ADHD and executive-functioning skills in elementary to college students. They will describe their studies that use video games and apps for improving executive-functioning skills and focus on strategies to enhance the generalization of game-based learning. Participants are asked to bring a smartphone, tablet device or laptop to the session.

Gary D. Stoner, PhD, School Psychologist; Director, School Psychology Program, University of Rhode Island; Co-Author, ADHD in the Schools (2014, 3rd Edition) and “The Effects of Computerized Reading Instruction on the Academic Performance of Students Identified With ADHD” (2005, School Psychology Review) and Randy Kulman, PhD, Psychologist; Founder and President, LearningWorks for Kids; Author, Playing Smart in the Digital World: A Guide to Choosing and Using Popular Video Games and Apps to Improve Executive Functioning in Children and Teens (2014) and Train Your Brain for Success: A Teenager's Guide to Executive Functions (2012)

Paying Attention to STEM: How Mobile Technology and 3-D Simulations Can Improve Math and Science Education

Handheld devices like smartphones and tablets are especially well-suited for managing attention.  Dr. Schneps will show you how these can help manage attention to foster learning in math and science (STEM) education.

Matthew H. Schneps, PhD, Director Laboratory for Visual Learning; Founding Member, Science Education Department, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Harvard University; Renowned for his award-winning media shows, A Private Universe and Minds of Our Own; Co-Author, “E-Readers Are More Effective Then Paper for Some With Dyslexia” (2013, PLOS One)

Rethinking the Reading and Writing Process with iPads


Karen Janowski, MsEd, Adjunct Professor, Simmons College Graduate School of Education;  Assistive Technology Consultant, EdTech Solutions

Multisensory Integration and Attention Shifting with Dyslexia

Why is cross modal attention necessary for learning to read? What is multisensory integration? How is the “redundant target effect” used to measure it? Dr. Harrar will discuss the kind of training that might improve cross-modal attention shifting in people with dyslexia to help improve reading.

Vanessa Harrar, PhD, Banting Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Optometry, University of Montreal; Co-Author, “Multisensory Integration and Attention: Differences in Dyslexics” (2014, Current Biology)

TechnoTeaching: Digital Literacy in the 21st Century

Dr. Wood will help educators kick their teaching up a notch with digital tools. Using case studies, model archetypal teachers and pedagogy that are firmly rooted in classroom practice, Wood (in concert with Nicole Ponsford, co-author of the book TechnoTeaching, via video) will offer insight and guidance for teachers at various points along the Edtech continuum.

Julie M. Wood, EdD, Former Faculty Member and Former Director of the Jeanne Chall Reading Laboratory, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Founder and Director, Julie Wood Educational Consultant; Co-Author, TechnoTeaching: Taking Practice to the Next Level in a Digital World (2014)


Using Technology for Executive Function to Enhance Communication Skills

This talk will address how to use low and high tech tools, apps, iPads, etc. to improve executive function and literacy skills.  Topics will include time management, homework completion, long term project management, note taking, written expression and speed of information processing.

Sarah Ward, MS, CCC-SLP, Speech Language Pathologist; Adjunct Faculty, MGH Institute of Health Professions, Massachusetts General Hospital; Co-Director, Cognitive Connections Therapy



Brain Development and Processing: New Paradigms for Understanding Struggling Learners

Although most children manage the challenges of school successfully, without need for special support, a significant minority can struggle. Our paradigms for understanding these struggles (e.g., dyslexia, ADHD) no longer adequately reflect current advances in cognitive neuroscience, and especially our understanding of brain development. Dr. Waber will review some of these models and discuss implications for appreciating and educating struggling learners.

Deborah P. Waber, PhD, Senior Associate in Psychology; Director, Behavioral Science Core, Children’s Hospital Boston; Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School; Author, Rethinking Learning Disabilities: Understanding Children Who Struggle in School (2010); Co-Author, “Cognitive Ability Changes and Dynamics of Cortical Thickness Development in Healthy Children and Adolescents” (2013, Neuroimaging) and “Information Processing Deficits in Children with ADHD, Inattentive Type and Children with Reading Disability (2002, Journal of Learning Disabilities)

Bright but Can't Keep Up: Helping Children with Slow Processing Speed in a Fast-Paced World

Dr. Braaten will explain the unique way that children with slow processing speed engage with the world. She will provide information to better understand the behavior and learning issues associated with slow processing speed, with a focus on how to help children overcome their challenges and build skills for success.

Ellen B. Braaten, PhD, Director of the Learning and Emotional Assessment Program (LEAP), Massachusetts General Hospital; Assistant Professor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School; Co-Author, Bright Kids Who Can't Keep Up: Help Your Child Overcome Slow Processing Speed and Succeed in a Fast-Paced World (2014)

Brain Differences and Interventions for Struggling Readers

Dr. Christodoulou will discuss how the feat of reading can be achieved with alternative mechanisms in light of structural or functional brain differences in readers. Rather than study how brains differ among reader groups, we ask how readers with distinct brain characteristics are able to still accomplish the feat of reading. Studying distinct reader groups will enhance our understanding of brain plasticity and behavioral equifinality.

Joanna A. Christodoulou, EdD, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, MGH Institute of Health Professions, Massachusetts General Hospital; Co-Author, “Auditory Temporal Structure Processing in Dyslexia: Processing of Prosodic Phrase Boundaries is Not Impaired in Children with Dyslexia” (2013, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience)

Early Executive Control and Academic Achievement: Implications for Education

Executive control, language and processing speed are tightly intertwined in early childhood. As executive control progressively decouples from processing speed and language through the preschool period, it begins to take on unique, discriminative importance for children’s early mathematics achievement. Dr. Clark will discuss her research focused on the changing nature of executive control in early childhood and its relevance for children’s transition to school. Her findings highlight the utility of executive control measures for identifying children who may have difficulty transitioning to formal mathematics instruction, while also illustrating some of the issues in defining and measuring executive control in young children.

Caron A. C. Clark, PhD, Research Fellow, Department of Psychology, University of Arizona; Co-Author, “Gaining Control: Changing Relationships Between Executive Control and Processing Speed and their Relevance for Mathematic Achievement Over Course of the Preschool Period” (2014, Frontiers in Psychology) and “Preschool Executive Functioning Abilities Predict Early Mathematics Achievement” (2010, Developmental Psychology)

Executive Functions, Schools and Academic Achievement

Dr. Gabrieli will discuss his study examining the relations among cognitive skills (processing speed, working memory, fluid reasoning) to scores on statewide tests of academic achievement, and to schools in a large group of 8th grade students. He found that cognitive skills correlated with both test scores and gains in tests scores across middle school. Dr. Gabrieli will discuss the results that show which school a student attended influenced achievement test scores, but not cognitive skills, and how these findings suggest that new curriculum targeted to improving cognitive skills may help students perform better in school.

John D.E. Gabrieli, PhD, Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences; Director, Athinoula A. Martinos Imaging Center, McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Co-Author, “Cognitive Skills, Student Achievement Tests and Schools” (2014, Psychological Science)

The Road to Excellence: Improving Executive Function, Information Processing and Test-Taking Skills for Academic Achievement

Ms. Kamath will discuss an Executive Function training program for middle-high school students to help attain mastery of learning and self- management to improve achievement and transition to high school or to college. She will incorporate executive functions training, including self-regulation, cognitive flexibility, metacognition and academic skills training, including information processing, saliency determination, studying and test-taking skills.

Sucheta A. Kamath, MA, BC-ANCDS, CCC-SLP, Founder and Director, Cerebral Matters; Former Speech-Language Pathologist and “Partners in Excellence Award” Grantee, Massachusetts General Hospital; Board Member, International Dyslexia Association and Georgia Speech and Hearing Association

Using Cognitive Training to Improve Attention and Retention in the College Classroom

Learn how cognitive skills (required for successful knowledge, retention and achievement) can be influenced by training. Dr. Youman will discuss his current studies examining the effects of meditation on the knowledge and retention in students. He will explain his results showing how focusing the mind can improve students’ retention of information, focus, grades and achievement.

Robert J. Youmans, PhD, Cognitive Psychologist; Assistant Professor of Psychology, George Mason University; Co-Author, “Meditation in the Higher-Education Classroom: Meditation Training Improves Student Knowledge Retention During Lectures” (2013, Mindfulness)

Paying Attention to Dyslexia: How Phonology and Attention Work Together in Reading

Dyslexia is generally thought to be caused by higher-level deficits for phonological processing. However, emerging research indicates that deficits in perceptual attention work hand-in-hand with phonology to impair reading. Dr. Schneps will review the state-of-the-art in this field, and show how techniques for managing attention can help close the gap in reading and implications of using electronic tablet readers.

Matthew H. Schneps, PhD, Director, Laboratory for Visual Learning; Founding Member, Science Education Department, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Harvard University; Co-Author, “Conceptualizing Astronomical Scale: Virtual Simulations on Handheld Tablet Computers Reverse Misconceptions” (2014, Computers & Education) and “Using Technology to Support STEM Reading” (2010, Journal of Special Education Technology)

The Radix Endeavor: Engaging Students with a Multiplayer Online Game for Deeper Learning in STEM

Multiplayer online games can offer great potential to engage students and strengthen STEM learning in and out of the classroom. Come explore The Radix Endeavor, a new educational game for secondary math and science from The MIT Education Arcade. In a robust virtual world, players inquire, explain, problem solve and collaborate as they take on the roles of scientists and mathematicians. Game content is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core State Standards for Math with particular emphasis on the practices and skills that are laid out in each. Dr. Gordon-Messer will highlight the game design and will discuss initial findings from a spring 2014 pilot including teacher implementation models and student feedback.  

Susannah Gordon-Messer, PhD, Education Content Manager, The Education Arcade, MIT Scheller Teacher Education Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, designer and researcher of The Radix Endeavor, a multiplayer online game for STEM learning for middle and high school students



The Dark Side of Pedagogy: Bringing Learning into Focus

Evidence-based strategies often fail to achieve strong outcomes when used in typical classroom settings. Students express strong preferences for pedagogy that is time efficient but yields neutral to negative effects on learning. Despite a teacher’s best efforts, students seem to find very creative ways to turn good pedagogy into diversions that can subvert learning. In this session, we will focus on how students use pedagogical tools and technologies as distractions to subvert learning as opposed to how these tools are designed to be used and how to align student behavior with the intended learning goals in the classroom.  

David B. Daniel, PhD, Professor, James Madison University; Managing Editor, Mind, Brain and Education Journal; Featured in Princeton Review’s 300 Best Professors; Author, “Promising Principles: Translating the Science of Learning to Educational Practice” (2012, Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition)



The Teaching Brain: The Evolutionary Trait at the Heart of Education

While research on the nature and science of learning abounds, shockingly few insights into how and why humans teach have emerged—until now. Ms. Rodriguez will expose the misguided, widely held beliefs about teaching and unveils that teaching is in fact a cognitive evolutionary skill that develops in all humans over time, from birth to adulthood.  Building from an accessible overview of how our brains learn, The Teaching Brain is a revolutionary new framework for understanding teaching in light of the new brain sciences; explains why we need teachers; and reveals what it actually takes to become an expert teacher. 

Vanessa Rodriguez, MSEd, Doctoral Student, Mind, Brain and Education Program, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Program Officer, International Teaching Brain Consortium and International Mind Brain and Education Society; Author, The Teaching Brain: The Evolutionary Trait at the Heart of Education (2014); Co-Author, “Teachers' Awareness of the Learner-Teacher Interaction: Preliminary Communication of a Study Investigating The Teaching Brain” (2013, Mind, Brain and Education Journal)