Irvine, Calif., Feb 1, 2017 Last week more than 100 education influencers from across the U.S. gathered at the Deeper Learning Symposium: Empowering Your Math Superheroes in Irvine, California. Hosted by the neuroscience and education non-profit MIND Research Institute, the two-day event featured top innovators, including Matthew Peterson, Ph.D., neuroscientist and co-founder of MIND; Greg Toppo, USA Today K-12 education writer; Brian Seymour, Director of Instructional Technology for Pickerington Local School District; Alissa Crans, Ph.D., Professor of Mathematics at Loyola Marymount University; and many more.
Starting on Thursday, January 26th, the event welcomed attendees with an “Interactive Journey” in which participants experienced a typical math class through the eyes of a student immediately followed by a concept class filled with research-based innovation. Peterson then presented the theory that four key neural subsystems must be activated for deeper learning in math to occur: problem solving and creative ideation, perception-action schemas, academic discourse, and episodic experiential knowledge. “All students have the cognitive horsepower to become mathematical superheroes,” said Peterson. “We need to create educational environments that allow them to tap into those underlying neural subsystems so that they can develop those mathematical superpowers.”
Attendees of the Deeper Learning Symposium also had the opportunity to work with Shannon Duncan’s 6th grade students from McPherson Magnet School and experience neuroscience-based instruction come to life in the “Innovation Room”. Neural-charged learning was showcased through a variety of hands-on activities for participants to experience and potentially replicate within their own schools.
During afternoon breakout sessions on Thursday, Brian Seymour, Greg Toppo, Alissa Crans and other speakers discussed several trending ideas across education with attendees. Topics such as innovative blended learning practices, equitable access for English Language Learners, and student engagement through game-based learning challenged Symposium participants to reject the “status quo” of math education. "School is a designed experience. We need to think intentionally about the user of the experience: the student,” said Toppo.
Thursday evening featured a “Taste of Math” where attendees were treated to notable chefs’ mathematically-charged menus and demonstrations. The Symposium wrapped on Friday with a panel of education experts, facilitated by Toppo, and discussion on how collaboration, innovation, and perseverance will solve the math education crisis.
Peterson said he hoped that the education leaders who attended the symposium would return to their communities with an increased understanding of how students can learn more deeply through innovation and empowerment when it comes to the subject of math. “The greatest superpower of all is math. With math as a well developed power, you can do anything.”
The Symposium twitter hashtag, #MathSuperheroes, was popular among participants and was trending locally. To view slides, handouts, and other resources from the Deeper Learning Symposium, visit the Symposium Resources Page. More content, including video recordings of the different breakout sessions, will be added in the coming weeks.
About MIND Research Institute
MIND Research Institute is a neuroscience and education social impact organization, dedicated to ensuring that all students are mathematically equipped to solve the world’s most challenging problems. MIND's distinctive visual approach to math and problem-solving is the basis of its innovative, research-proven ST Math® programs for elementary and secondary schools. The visually-based ST Math program has been shown to double or triple schools’ growth rates in math proficiency. Through its MathMINDs movement, MIND engages the community in hands-on mathematical experiences outside of the classroom in an effort to shift the cultural perception of math from being scary and frustrating to exciting and essential. MIND's programs currently reach more than one million students and 44,000 teachers at 3,200 schools in 45 states and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit www.mindresearch.org.
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