First, Dr. Fischer opened the conference by talking about the emerging field of Mind, Brain, and Education, and its advances around the world in places including the United States, Japan, Argentina, France, and China. Dr. Fischer recommended a recent book as a guide to the world of MBE: Understanding the Brain. He especially recommended the chapter on neural nets, a helpful model for characterizing how the brain turns outside stimulus into thoughts and actions.
Dr. Fischer also emphasized how important it is as educators to be cautious with terms like “brain-based education”–more often than not, this is an advertising slogan rather than a claim based in scientific fact. There are insights to be drawn about education from neuroscience, but it will benefit teachers, policy-makers, and students to be cautious in the conclusions that we draw.
Dr. Fischer segued to Dr. Rosen’s speech with the statement that students today see their digital devices as an extension of themselves–and that this has positive and negative consequences. Regardless, he said, this is something we have to consider as we work to design and deliver curriculum to this increasingly tech-centric generation.