I’m Not Excited, YOU’RE Excited (OK: I’m Excited)

I’ve been going to Learning and the Brain conferences since 2008, so it takes a lot to for a roster of speakers to WOW me. But this week I’m officially WOWed. Next weekend’s conference looks remarkable.

In some cases, I’m happy to see family favorites return to the LatB microphone:

Dan Willingham wrote the book that launched a thousand MBE careers. If you haven’t read Why Don’t Students Like School?, do so. If you HAVE read it, good news: the second edition is coming out soon.

Barbara Oakley has created some of the most popular online courses EVAH. Her topic: “learning how to learn.” Every time I hear her, I’m reminded why so many people rely on her wisdom and experience.

John Almarode and Doug Fisher both manage to apply the learning sciences to their own daily work in inspiring and unexpected ways. They make you think that good teaching really is possible: a reminder we all need these days.

I could go on. And on.

New Voices

However excited I am to hear these speakers again, I might be even more verklempt at the new speakers — or, more precisely, speakers new to Learning and the Brain.

Paul Kirschner is a real giant in this field. He reminds us constantly to be sure that teaching ideas don’t just need to sound good; they need to benefit students. His article Why Minimal Guidance Instruction Does Not Work [link], written with John Sweller and Richard Clark, remains a frequency-cited manifesto for teaching methods that really help students learn.

Daisy Christodoulou has written several field-defining books, beginning with Seven Myths about Education. (I once described this book as having the highest mic-drop/page ratio I know of.) You can see our review of her latest book — Teachers vs. Tech: The Case for an Ed Tech Revolutionhere.

Kenneth Wesson brings a neuroscience perspective to fields that have traditionally been the focus of psychology: for instance, reading instruction, or, the importance of play for learning. I’m deeply curious to hear how his work on the brain can inform our understanding of the mind.

Dylan Wiliam (yes, that’s the correct spelling) helped launch the idea of assessment for learning, and he hasn’t stopped there. His reminder that — in the world of educational innovation —  “everything works somewhere, but nothing works everywhere” keeps us humble and grounded.

Again, I could list many more.

In short, if you haven’t signed up yet, I truly recommend you do so.

tags: category: L&B Blog

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