Speakers and Sessions

In today’s complex, 21st Century world, it is essential for students to be engaged and ethical learners, thinkers, and citizens. Mind, brain and developmental research has found that students who feel valued and empowered are more likely to be actively engaged in school and their community, perform better academically, have more positive social-ethical behaviors and are more likely to be active citizens. Educators can improve school and civic engagement by empowering students through a sense of meaning and purpose, by giving them a choice and voice in their learning, by promoting real-world problem solving, and by providing opportunities for them to feel valued by contributing to civic, community, environmental and global projects. Discover how to empower students to be engaged learners, ethical citizens, and world problem solvers.

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Explore the Latest Research on:
  • Boosting Student Engagement
  • Enabling 21st Century Learning
  • Empowering Voice and Choice
  • Solving Real-World Problems
  • Applying Mind/Brain Research
  • Engaging Meaning and Purpose
  • Promoting Digital, Global Citizenship
  • Encouraging Community Service
  • Using Deeper Learning and Thinking
  • Ethics, Character and Collaborations
  • Intrinsic Motivation and Achievement
  • Helping Students Change the World
  • Youth Development and Civic Action
  • Improving Reading and Writing Skills
  • Moral Minds, Civility and Courage
  • STEM Learning and Citizen Science

Featured Speakers

Howard E. Gardner, PhD

John H. and Elizabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Author, Multiple Intelligences (2006); Co-Author, The App Generation (2013) and Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics Meet (2002)

Joel Westheimer, PhD

University Research Chair in Democracy and Education, University of Ottawa; Co-Director, “The Inequality” Project; Education Columnist, CBC Radio; Author, What Kind of Citizen? Educating Our Children for the Common Good (2015)

Tony Wagner, PhD

Expert in Residence, Harvard Innovation Lab, Harvard University; Education Advisor to the documentary, Most Likely to Succeed; Author, Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World (2012); Co-Author, Most Likely to Succeed (2015)

Sandra B. Chapman, PhD

Founder and Chief Director, Center for BrainHealth; Professor, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, The University of Texas at Dallas; Co-Author, Make Your Brain Smarter (2014, Reprint Edition)

Chris Lehmann, MA

Founding Principal, Science Leadership Academy; Co-Author, Building School 2.0: How to Create the Schools We Need (2015); Co-Editor, What School Leaders Need to Know About Digital Technologies and Social Media (2011)

Zoe Weil, MA, MTS

Co-Founder and President, Institute for Humane Education; Author, The World Becomes What We Teach: Educating a Generation of Solutionaries (2016), Above All, Be Kind (2013), Most Good, Least Harm (2009) and The Power and Promise of Humane Education (2004)

Daniel J. Levitin, PhD

Cognitive Scientist; James McGill Professor of Psychology, Behavioral Neuroscience and Music, McGill University; Author, A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age (2016), The Organized Mind (2014) and This Is Your Brain on Music (2006)

Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD

Developmental Psychologist; Fellow, Institute for Social Innovation, Fielding Graduate University; Author, Tomorrow’s Change Makers: Reclaiming the Power of Citizenship for a New Generation (2015)

Ron Berger, MEd

Chief Academic Officer, EL Education; Author, An Ethic of Excellence (2003); Co-Author, Learning That Lasts (2016) and Leaders of Their Own Learning: Transforming Schools Through Student-Engaged Assessment (2014)

1) Empowered Minds: Teaching Students to Change the World

Turbocharge Visionary Brain Power: Equip Students to Improve Their World

Sandra B. Chapman, PhD

Founder and Chief Director, Center for BrainHealth; Professor, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, The University of Texas at Dallas; Co-Author, Make Your Brain Smarter (2014, Reprint Edition)

Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era

Tony Wagner, PhD

Expert in Residence, Harvard Innovation Lab, Harvard University; Education Advisor to the documentary, Most Likely to Succeed; Author, Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World (2012); Co-Author, Most Likely to Succeed (2015)

Joining Character and Scholarship: Beautiful Student Work That Contributes to a Better World

Ron Berger, MEd

Chief Academic Officer, EL Education; Author, An Ethic of Excellence (2003); Co-Author, Learning That Lasts (2016) and Leaders of Their Own Learning: Transforming Schools Through Student-Engaged Assessment (2014)

Global Citizenship: Empowering Students to Change the World

Michael A. Soskil, MS

Elementary Head Teacher who has engaged his students in global causes, such as providing filters for clean drinking water to children in the slums of Nairobi and fighting child labor in India and Africa; 2016 Global Teacher Prize Top 10 Finalist

Teaching Tomorrow's Change Makers: The Power of Service, Citizenship and Social Change

Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD

Developmental Psychologist; Fellow, Institute for Social Innovation, Fielding Graduate University; Author, Tomorrow’s Change Makers: Reclaiming the Power of Citizenship for a New Generation (2015)

Empowering Global Students and Citizens

Connie K. Chung, EdD

Associate Director, Global Education Innovation Initiative; Lecturer on Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education, who helped create a K-12 global citizenship education curriculum; Co-Author with Harvard Professor Fernando Reimers on the book, Empowering Global Citizens: A World Course (2016); Co-Editor, Teaching and Learning for the 21st Century: Educational Goals, Policies and Curricula from Six Nations (2016)

2) Citizen Minds: Empowering Civic Education & Digital Citizenship

Empowerment through Education: Equipping Today's Students with the Skills Necessary to Become the Leaders, Innovators and Problem-Solvers of Tomorrow

Amy L. Carrier, BS

Founder and Principal Consultant, Empowerment Through Education; Co-founder, The Big Education Project; Former Urban Classroom Teacher

Beyond Wit and Grit: Can We Raise Good Citizens?

Howard E. Gardner, PhD

John H. and Elizabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Author, Multiple Intelligences (2006); Co-Author, The App Generation (2013) and Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics Meet (2002)

Creating the 21st Century Schools and Citizens We Need

Chris Lehmann, MA

Founding Principal, Science Leadership Academy; Co-Author, Building School 2.0: How to Create the Schools We Need (2015); Co-Editor, What School Leaders Need to Know About Digital Technologies and Social Media (2011)

What Kind of Citizens? Educating Our Children for the Common Good

Joel Westheimer, PhD

University Research Chair in Democracy and Education, University of Ottawa; Co-Director, “The Inequality” Project; Education Columnist, CBC Radio; Author, What Kind of Citizen? Educating Our Children for the Common Good (2015)

Educating for Moral and Civic Purpose

William Damon, PhD

Director, Stanford Center on Adolescence; Professor, Stanford University; Author, Failing Liberty 101 (2011), The Path to Purpose (2009) and Bringing in a New Era in Character Education (2002); Co-Author, The Power of Ideals (2015) and Good Work (2002)

Engaging Parents, Schools and Communities in Support of Positive Youth Development

Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD

Developmental Psychologist; Fellow, Institute for Social Innovation, Fielding Graduate University; Author, Tomorrow’s Change Makers: Reclaiming the Power of Citizenship for a New Generation (2015)

Revitalizing Civic Learning for Empowering Youth

Meira L. Levinson, DPhil

Associate Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Team Member, “Justice in Schools” Project; Author, “Action Civics in the Classroom” (2014, Social Education) and No Citizen Left Behind (2012)

Children Are Citizens: Engaging Young Children in the Community to Create Powerful Learning

Benjamin Mardell, PhD

Director, Early Childhood Education Program, Lesley University; Project Director, “Children Are Citizens”, Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Co-Author, “Engaging City Hall: Children as Citizens” (2014, New Educator)

Participation in School and Community-based Organized Activities

Jennifer A. Fredricks, PhD

Professor of Human Development, Connecticut College; Author, Eight Myths of Student Disengagement (2014); Co-Author, “Development of Achievement Motivation and Engagement” (2015, The Handbook of Child Psychology)

Promoting Purpose and Engagement Through Civic Education and Student Voice

Dana L. Mitra, PhD

Associate Professor of Education; Director, Willower Center for Ethics and Leadership, College of Education, Pennsylvania State University; Author, Student Voice in School Reform (2008); Co-Author, Civic Education in the Elementary Grades (2015)

Contributing to the Civic Society: The Characteristics Associated with Civic, Community and Cultural Participation Among Adolescents

Sara K. Johnson, PhD

Postdoctoral Associate, Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development, Tufts University; Co-Author, “The Study of the Development of Civic Engagement Within Contemporary Developmental Science” (2015, Research in Human Development)

3) Thinking Minds: Engaging Real-World Problem Solving

Using Writing as an Avenue to Empower and Develop Deeper, Higher Thinking

Leslie E. Laud, EdD

Founding Director, thinkSRSD; Lecturer, Reading Specialist Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School; Co-Author, “Empowering Students to Write” (2015, Association for Middle Level Educators Magazine)

Fostering Complex, Critical and Creative Thinking for the Classroom

Patti Drapeau, MS

Consultant, Maine Department of Education; Part-time Faculty, University of Southern Maine; Author, Sparking Student Creativity: Practical Ways to Promote Innovative Thinking and Problem Solving (2014) and Differentiated Instruction (2004)

The World Becomes What We Teach: Educating a Generation of Solutionaries

Zoe Weil, MA, MTS

Co-Founder and President, Institute for Humane Education; Author, The World Becomes What We Teach: Educating a Generation of Solutionaries (2016), Above All, Be Kind (2013), Most Good, Least Harm (2009) and The Power and Promise of Humane Education (2004)

Inspiring Engaged Thinking and Innovation in 21st Century Students

Jacquelyn F. Gamino, PhD

Assistant Research Professor; Director, Adolescent Reasoning Initiative, Center for BrainHealth, The University of Texas at Dallas; Co-Author, “Higher Order Strategic Gist Reasoning in Adolescence” (2011, The Adolescent Brain)

Half-Truths and Lies: The Brain Science of Critical Thinking

Daniel J. Levitin, PhD

Cognitive Scientist; James McGill Professor of Psychology, Behavioral Neuroscience and Music, McGill University; Author, A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age (2016), The Organized Mind (2014) and This Is Your Brain on Music (2006)

Mind, Brain and Education Research: Informed Pathways for Purposeful Teaching, Learning and Thinking

Glenn Whitman, MALS

Director, Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School; Co-Author, Neuroteach: Brain Science and the Future of Education (2016) and "Assessment and the Learning Brain: What the Research Tells Us" (2014, Independent School)

Student Engagement for Deep Thinking in the 21st Century

Bryan K. Harris, EdD

Director of Professional Development and Public Relations, Casa Grande Elementary School District; Educational Consultant; Author, Creating a Classroom Culture That Supports the Common Core (2013) and Battling Boredom (2010)

4) Engaged Minds: Motivating with Purpose, Choice & Voice

Learning to Choose, Choosing to Learn: The Keys to Student Motivation

Mike Anderson, MS

Educational Consultant; National Milken Educator Award recipient; Author, Learning to Choose, Choosing to Learn (2016); Co-Author, What Every Teacher Needs to Know K-5 Series (2011)

Motivation to Learn: Promoting Student Voice and Self-Efficiacy

Michael J. Middleton, PhD

Klara and Larry Silverstein Dean, The School of Education, Hunter College; Former Dean, College of Education and Human Development, University of Massachusetts-Boston; Co-Author, Motivation to Learn: Transforming Classroom Culture to Support Student Achievement (2014) and "Navigating the Classroom Current" (2014, Motivation Matters, Educational Leadership)

Motivation in Learning: Insights from Multi-Method Approaches

Kou Murayama, PhD

Neuroscientist; Director, Motivation Lab; Associate Professor, School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading; Co-Author, “Why Children Differ in Motivation to Learn” (2015, Personality and Individual Differences) and “How SelfDetermined Choice Facilitates Performance” (2014, Cerebral Cortex)

Engaging Students: Creating Classrooms of Choice, Collaboration and Deep Learning

Jennifer A. Fredricks, PhD

Professor of Human Development, Connecticut College; Author, Eight Myths of Student Disengagement (2014); Co-Author, “Development of Achievement Motivation and Engagement” (2015, The Handbook of Child Psychology)

Why Is Interest Powerful for Learning?

K. Ann Renninger, PhD

Developmental and Educational Psychologist; Dorwin P. Cartwright Professor of Social Theory and Social Action; Chair, Department of Educational Studies, Swarthmore College; Co-Author, The Power of Interest for Motivation and Learning (2015); Co-Editor, Interest in Math and Science Learning (2016) and The Role of Interest in Learning and Development (1992)

Motivation Intervention in Education

Chris S. Hulleman, PhD

Research Associate Professor, Department of Educational Leadership, Policy and Foundation, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia; Co-Director, Motivation Research Institute; Adjunct Faculty, Department of Graduate Psychology, James Madison University; Fellow, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; Co-Author, "Making Connections: Replicating and Extending the Utility Value Intervention in the Classroom (2016, Journal of Educational Psychology) and "Motivation Interventions in Education: A Meta-analysis" (2015, Review of Educational Research)

5) Deeper Minds: Engaging Thinking in STEM, Citizen Science & Literacy

Using Citizen Science to Engage Students in STEM Education: From Brooks to Biodiversity

Lisa K. Lobel, PhD

Environmental Biologist; Assistant Professor of Biology, Department of Math and Science, Wheelock College; Visiting Researcher, Biology Department, Boston University; Served as Director of the Colleges of the Fenway Center for Sustainability and the Environment from 2013 – 2015; Co-Author, “Using Citizen Science To Engage Introductory Students: From Streams To Solar System” (2016, Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education)

Test Your Brain: Engaging Students as Citizen Scientists

Laura T. Germine, PhD

Director, The Many Brains Project; Director, Laboratory for Brain and Cognitive Health Technology, McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School; Founder/Director of TestMyBrain.org, a citizen science project that contributes to brain research when students take a brain test

Engaging Young Engineers: Teaching Problem Solving and Decision Making Skills

Kristen B. Wendell, PhD

 Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering; Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Education, School of Arts and Sciences, Tufts University; Co-Author, Engaging Young Engineers: Teaching Problem Solving Skills Through STEM (2015)

Developing Students’ Skills and Interest through Citizen-Science- Inspired Invesigations: From Biology to BirdSleuth

Jennifer Fee, MS

K-12 Program Manager, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell University; Developer, BirdSleuth curriculum; Co-Author, Citizen Science: 15 Lessons that Bring Biology to Life (2013, NSTA Press)

Engaging Citizen Science and Empowering STEM Students and Programs

Bronwyn MacFarlane, PhD

Professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Teacher Education, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; Chair-Elect of the STEM Network; Co-Author, STEM Education for High-Ability Learners (2016)

Think Positive, Act Smart: The Role of Executive Function in Emotional Strength and Resilience

Kathleen M. Kryza, MA

Master Teacher; CIO, Infinite Horizons; Co-Author, Developing Growth Mindsets in the Inspiring Classroom (2011) and Differentiation for Real Classrooms (2009)

Jack A. Naglieri, PhD

Research Professor, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia; Senior Research Scientist, Devereux Foundation Center for Resilient Children; Author, Helping Children Learn, 2nd Edition (2011); Co-Author, Comprehensive Inventory of Executive Function (2012) and Devereux Early Childhood Assessment, 2nd Edition (2012)

6) Ethical Minds: Cultivating Character, Compassion & Community

Changing Moral Minds

Liane Young, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology; Principal Investigator, Morality Lab, Boston College; Co-Author, “How the Mind Matters for Morality” (2015, American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience)

Moral Tribes: Emotions, Reason and the Gap Between Us and Them

Joshua D. Greene, PhD

Director, Moral Cognition Lab; Professor of Psychology; Faculty, Center for Brain Science, Harvard University; Author, “The Rise of Moral Cognition” (2014, Cognition) and Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason and the Gap Between Us and Them (2013)

Humanitarian Neuroscience: Predicting Future Behavior, Education and Criminal Outcomes

John D.E. Gabrieli, PhD

Grover Hermann Professor in Health Sciences and Technology; Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences; Co-Director, Clinical Research Center; Associate Director, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Co-Author, "Neuroanatomical Correlates of the Income-Achievement Gap" (2015, Psychological Science)

Connecting Restorative Justice Practice and Brain Research to School Behavior and Bullying Prevention

Chuck Saufler, MEd

Lead Trainer, Safe Schools for All; Former Consultant/Trainer, Restorative Justice Projects for the Mid-Coast; Former Adjunct Faculty, Maine Law and Civics Education, School of Law, University of Southern Maine; Charter Member, International Bullying Prevention Association; Researcher, Youth Voice Project

Civility, Compassion and Courage: Embracing Your Influence to Be a Change Enterprise

Candice D. Barnes, EdD

Interim Department Chair, Elementary Literacy and Special Education, University of Central Arkansas; Co-Author, Civility, Compassion and Courage in Schools Today (2015) and “Compassion: How Do You Teach It?” (2015, Education and Practice)