As a result of the pandemic, technology, and lifestyle changes, students are more stressed and less mentally and physical healthy, active, and engaged. Students are getting less sleep, exercise, play, and active learning activities. A 2022 US Report Card of Physical Activity found fewer than 1 in 10 children ages 6-17 meets federal guidelines for at least 60-minutes of moderate exercise daily, only 62% of US school districts require elementary schools to provide regularly scheduled recess or play time, and only 22% of high school students get 8 hours of sleep. Yet, Learning Science research shows moving, sleeping, playing, socializing, and active, meaningful activities are essential for improving mental/physical health, wellbeing, grades, and teaching. A 2020 Report on “Connecting the Brain to the Rest of the Body” by the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University found that the “environments we create and the experiences we provide for young children and their families affect not just the developing brain, but also many other physiological systems, from cardiovascular function and immune responsiveness to metabolic regulation. All of these systems are responsible for our lifelong health and wellbeing.”

This interdisciplinary conference will bring neuroscientists, psychologists, researchers, and educators together to explore the “Science of Learning” and how the mind, brain, and body are interconnected for learning, memory, brain health, and wellbeing. Discover ways to build and retrieve memories; encourage active “minds-on” learning; promote play and movement; develop wellbeing and happiness; and establish effective teaching practices to improve student learning.

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This conference will be presented as a hybrid conference. You can either attend in person in Boston or participate virtually. Click here for more details.


Educators, Parents
Curriculum, Staff Developers
Speech-Language Pathologists
PreK-12 Teachers, Administrators
Learning Specialists, Special Educators
Psychologists, School Psychologists, Counselors
Early Childhood Educators, Professionals
Superintendents, Principals, School Heads
Teen, PE, Health, Reading, Technology Educators
Social Workers, Wellness, Mental Health Professionals
School of Education, Teacher Leaders
College, University Professors

Featured Speakers

The Science of Wellbeing: Training Students for Healthy Brains, Mental Health, and Learning

Richard J. Davidson, PhD

William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry; Director of the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior and the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience; Founder & Director of the Center for Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Renowned for his scientific studies on emotions, wellbeing, and the brain; Friend and Confidante of the Dalai Lama; Named one of “The Most Influential People in the World” by Time Magazine in 2006; Co-Author, “Emotional Well-Being: What Is It and Why It Matters” (2023, Affective Science), “COVID-19 Pandemic Effects on College Student Mental Health” (2023, American College Health),  Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body (2007) and The Emotional Life of Your Brain (2012); Co-Editor, The Mind’s Own Physician (2012)

The Science of Learning: Building Memories and Active, Effective Learners

Barbara A. Oakley, PhD, PE

Ramon y Cajal Distinguished Scholar of Global Digital Learning, McMaster University; Professor, Industrial and Systems Engineering Department, Oakland University; Co-Author, Learn Like a Pro (2021), Uncommon Sense Teaching: Practical Insights in Brain Science to Help Students Learn (2021), and Learning How to Learn (2018); Author, Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential (2017) and A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (2014)

The Good Life: Connecting Brain, Body, and Childhood Experiences to Health, Happiness, and Wellbeing

Robert J. Waldinger, MD

Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School; Director, Center for Psychodynamic Therapy and Research, Massachusetts General Hospital; Director of the Harvard Study on Adult Development, the longest, most comprehensive scientific study of happiness and wellbeing ever conducted, which followed adult subjects for 75 years and is now studying their children to examine how childhood experiences affect health and wellbeing; Co-Author, The Good Life: Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness (2023)

How Teaching Happens: Teacher Effectiveness and What It Means in Practice

Paul A. Kirschner, PhD

Emeritus Professor of Educational Psychology, Open University of the Netherlands; Visiting Professor of Education,  University of Oulu; President, International Society for Learning Sciences; Member of the Dutch Educational Council; Co-Author, How Teaching Happens (2022), How Learning Happens (2020), Evidence-Informed Learning Design: Creating Training to Improve Performance (2020), More Urban Myths About Learning and Education: Challenging Eduquacks, Extraordinary Claims, and Alternative Facts (2019),Ten Steps to Complex Learning (2017, 3rd Edition), and Urban Myths About Learning and Education (2015)

Extending the Mind Beyond the Brain: Connecting the Body and Movement to Learning and Thinking

Annie Murphy Paul, MS

Journalist; Writer; Fellow, Learning Sciences Exchange, New America, and The Jacobs Foundation; Served as Senior Advisor at the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning, Yale University; Awarded the Mental Health Journalism’s “Rosalynn Carter Fellowship”; Author, The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain (2021), "How Humans Think When They Think as Part of a Group" (2021, Wired), Origins (2011), and The Cult of Personality Testing (2005)

The Science of Effective Teachers

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, EdD

Director, USC Center for Affective Neuroscience, Development, Learning, and Education (CANDLE) who has been studying and monitoring the brains of effective teachers to see how they connect with and motivate their students; Professor of Education, USC Rossier School of Education; Professor of Psychology, Brain, and Creativity Institute; Faculty, Neuroscience Graduate Program, University of Southern California; Member of the Council of Distinguished Scientists at the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development, Aspen Institute; Past President, IMBES (International Mind, Brain and Education Society); Recipient of the 2008 Transforming Education Through Neuroscience Award from the Learning & the Brain Foundation and IMBES; Author, Emotions, Learning, and the Brain: Exploring the Educational Implications of Affective Neuroscience (2015); Co-Author, “Understanding Emotional Thought Can Transform Educators’ Understanding of How Students Learn” (2020, Educational Neuroscience), “Building Meaning Builds Teens’ Brains” (2020, Educational Leadership), “The Brain Basis for Integrated Social, Emotional, and Academic Development” (2018, Aspen Institute), and "Embodied Brains, Social Minds, Cultural Meaning: Integrating Neuroscientific and Educational Research on Social-Affective Development (2017, American Educational Research Journal)

Making Schools Work: Bringing the Science of Learning for Active “Minds-on” and Playful Classrooms

Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, PhD

Stanley and Debra Lefkowitz Faculty Fellow; Department of Psychology, Temple University; Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution; Fellow, Cognitive Science Society, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, and American Educational Research Association; Co-Author, Making Schools Work: Bringing the Science of Learning to Joyful Classroom Practice (2022), “Active Learning: “Hands-on” Meets “Minds-on” (2021, Science), “Play Could Help Reduce ‘COVID-19’ Slump in Learning” (2020, Child & Family Blog), “Cognitive Behavioral Science Behind the Value of Play: Leveraging Everyday Experiences to Promote Play, Learning, and Positive Interactions” (2020, Journal of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Psychotherapy), Becoming Brilliant (2016), Play = Learning (2009), and A Mandate for Playful Learning in Preschool (2008)

Making Schools Work: Bringing the Science of Learning for Active “Minds-on” and Playful Classrooms

Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, PhD

Unidel H. Rodney Sharp Professor of Education; Departments of Psychological and Brain Sciences and Linguistics and Cognitive Science, University of Delaware; Director, Child's Play, Learning, and Development Laboratory; Co-Author, Making Schools Work: Bringing the Science of Learning to Joyful Classroom Practice (2022), "Active Learning: 'Hands-on' Meets 'Minds-on'" (2021, Science), “Brain Science and Guided Play” (2019, Serious Fun: How Guided Play Extends Learning), Becoming Brilliant (2016), Play = Learning (2009), and A Mandate for Playful Learning in Preschool (2008)