As a result of the pandemic, stress, and digital distractions, students are less engaged, focused, and motivated than prior to COVID. A 2021 EdWeek Research Center survey found that student motivation and morale are significantly lower than they were prior to the pandemic with 87% of teachers reporting less student motivation. A 2023 Gradient Learning Poll found 80% of teachers concerned about their students’ engagement in the classroom. Research by Gloria Mark at the University of California, Irvine, has found that our focused attention spans have dropped from an average of 2.5 minutes 20 years ago to only 47 seconds by 2021. 

This interdisciplinary conference will bring neuroscientists, psychologists, researchers, and educators together to explore the science of attention, focus, and motivation and the impacts of stress, exercise, mindfulness, and technology on student engagement. Discover ways to increase student motivation and focus, reduce digital distractions, and boost 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
Classroom, Reading, Technology Teachers
Social Workers, School Counselors
College, University Professors

Featured Speakers

How to Motivate Students

Carol S. Dweck, PhD

Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology, Stanford University, Courtesy Professor of Education, Stanford Graduate School of Education; One of the World's Leading Researchers on motivation and mindsets; Author, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (2006); Co-Author, "Mindsets and Mental Health" (2023, Nature Mental Health), "Teacher Mindsets Help Explain Where a Growth-Mindset Intervention Does and Doesn't Work" (2022, Psychological Science), "Motivation: A Valuation Systems Perspective" (2019, Emotion in the Mind and Body), Academic Tenacity: Mindsets and Skills That Promote Long-Term Learning (2014), and Self-Theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality and Development (2000)

The Distracted Mind: Attention, Technology, and Exergames

Adam Gazzaley, MD, PhD

Director, Neuroscape; Professor of Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco; Co-Founder and Chief Science Advisor, Akili Interactive Labs; Creator of VR games, such as Engage, NeuroRacer and the Glass Brain, a 3D brain visualization that combines neuroimaging technologies of MRI and EEG to display personalized, real-time brain activity while learning; Host, PBS special "The Distracted Mind with Dr. Adam Gazzaley"; Co-Author, “Enhancing Attention in Children Using an Integrated Cognitive-Physical Video Game” (2023) and The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World (2016)

The Joy of Movement: How Exercise Can Improve Engagement

Kelly M. McGonigal, PhD

Health Psychologist; Award-Winning Psychology Lecturer, Stanford University; Invited Lecturer, Stanford University School of Medicine; Recipient of the Walter J. Gores Award, Stanford University’s highest teaching honor;  Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Yoga Therapy; Author, The Joy of Movement: How Exercise Helps Us Find Happiness, Hope, Connections, and Courage (2019), The Upside of Stress (2016), and The Willpower Instinct (2011)

Attention Span: A Ground-Breaking Way to Restore Focus and Flow in Students

Gloria J. Mark, PhD

Chancellor's Professor of Informatics, University of California, Irvine; Researcher on the impact of digital media on people’s lives and our decreasing attention span; Author, Attention Span: A Groundbreaking Way to Restore Balance, Happiness and Productivity (2023); Co-Author, “Understanding Smartphone Usage in College Classrooms” (2019, Computers & Education)

The Science of Motivation

Ayelet Fishbach, PhD

The Jeffrey Breakenridge Keller Professor of Behavioral Science and Marketing, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago; Past President of the Society for the Science of Motivation and the International Social Cognition Network; Winner of the Society of Experimental Social Psychology’s Best Dissertation Award and Career Trajectory Award, the Society of Consumer Psychology’s Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, and the Fulbright Educational Foundation Award; Author, Get It Done: Surprising Lessons from the Science of Motivation (2022)

Bright Kids Who Couldn’t Care Less: Rekindling Your Student’s Motivation

Ellen B. Braaten, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School; Executive Director of the Learning and Emotional Assessment Program (LEAP), Massachusetts General Hospital; Co-Director of the Clay Center for Healthy Young Minds; Author, Bright Kids Who Couldn’t Care Less: How to Rekindle Your Child’s Motivation (2023); Co-Author, Bright Kids Who Can’t Keep Up: Help Your Child Overcome Slow Processing Speed and Success in a Fast-Paced World (2014)