Speakers

Professor and Director, Southwest Center for Mind, Brain and Education, University of Texas at Arlington, USA.

Title: Tools, Challenges and Advancement in Mind, Brain and Education

Dr. Marc Schwartz biography

Marc Schwartz is Professor of Mind, Brain and Education at the University of Texas at Arlington, where he directs the Southwest Center for Mind, Brain and Education. The Center identifies and supports promising research agendas at the intersection of the cognitive and neurosciences and education. The Center also provides researchers, practitioners, students and policy makers opportunities to work together to inform research agendas, educational practice and leadership. Professor Schwartz developed and currently oversees a master’s degree program in Mind, Brain and Education where graduate students use the tools and models from MBE to develop and test promising solutions in contexts such as schools, hospitals, museums and new educational ventures. Professor Schwartz is a charter member of the International Mind, Brain and Education Society (IMBES), and its past vice president and two term president. To this end he organized numerous conferences and symposia focusing on how collaboration can lead to more critical and rigorous use of the tools and models emerging at the interface of education, cognitive science and neuroscience. His articles have focused on the challenges that teachers and students face in understanding scientific models and the additional challenges that teachers face in helping students construct complex understandings that have rich personal meanings. His work has also focused on the challenges and complexities of working across multiple disciplines to create effective collaborations in MBE. Most recently Dr. Schwartz edited a new book, Research in Mind, Brain and Education exploring the birth and evolution of the field of Mind, Brain and Education. The book illustrates through the voices of leading experts in the field how their research and personal experiences are contributing to the creation and development of a new field of study.

Director of the Centre for Educational Neuroscience

Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at Birkbeck, University of London, UK.

Title: How can educational neuroscience aims to use insights into brain function to shape educational practices – how can it help children with special educational needs?

Dr. Michael Thomas biography

Michael Thomas has been Director of the University of London Centre for Educational Neuroscience since 2010, a cross-institutional research centre which aims to advance translational research between neuroscience and education, and develop practical applications within education. In 2003, Michael established the Developmental Neurocognition Laboratory within Birkbeck’s world-leading Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development. The focus of his laboratory is to use multi-disciplinary methods to understand the brain and cognitive bases of cognitive variability, including developmental disorders and individual differences. Within educational neuroscience, his work includes understanding the role of inhibitory control in children's science and math learning, investigating the influence of cell phone use on adolescent brain development, linking findings on sensitive periods in brain development to their educational implications, and building links between genetics, environment and education in children’s developmental outcomes. His work on developmental disorders includes current projects on childhood development in Williams syndrome, Down syndrome, Fragile X, and autistic spectrum disorder. In 2006, his research lab was the co-recipient of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education, for the project “Neuropsychological work with the very young: understanding brain function and cognitive development”. Michael is a Chartered Psychologist, Fellow of the British Psychological Society, and Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.

Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University, Japan Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Tokyo, Japan

Title: Education and learning as intrapersonal and interpersonal phenomena

Dr. Katsumi Watanabe biography

Katsumi Watanabe is Professor at Waseda University and Visiting Associate Professor at University of Tokyo. He received B.A in experimental psychology and M.A. in life sciences from the University of Tokyo and his PhD in Computation and Neural Systems from California Institute of Technology, for his work in crossmodal interaction in humans. He was a research fellow at National Institutes of Health (USA) and a researcher at the National Institute of Advanced Science and Technology (Japan). His research interests include: scientific investigations of explicit and implicit processes, interdisciplinary approaches to cognitive science, real-life applications of cognitive science, and behavioral change.

Associate Professor at the Department of Psychology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, China

Title: How can Educational Neuroscience contribute to the identification and treatment of dyslexia? Some perspectives based on a few studies

Dr. Urs Maurer biography

Urs Maurer is an Associate Professor at the Department of Psychology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research focuses on cognitive and neural aspects of spoken and written language processing. He is particularly interested in reading acquisition, dyslexia, and second language learning. One goal of his work is to use neural markers of language processing to inform screening and intervention practices for dyslexia. His research involves behavioral and functional neuroimaging techniques, such as EEG and fMRI. He received his PhD at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. He then pursued postdoctoral studies at the University of Zurich and at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City. Before joining the Chinese University of Hong Kong he was a Research Professor at the University of Zurich, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Associate Professor, School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, UK.

Title: Unlocking Talent Through Technology: The Use of Touch-Screen Tablets and Interactive Apps to Raise Early Learning Outcomes in Marginalised Children Worldwide

Dr. Nicola Pitchford biography

Nicola Pitchford is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, UK. She investigates the development of cognitive processes and scholastic skills. In partnership with VSO and onebillion, she is evaluating the Unlocking Talent programme by exploring the use of innovative mobile technology to support the acquisition of basic numeracy and literacy skills. She is leading an international research programme, working with disadvantaged primary school children in Malawi, Tanzania, South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Brazil, and the UK. Through randomised control trials and cross-cultural research she is providing the critical evidence base on effectiveness required for scale-up and is revealing the underlying brain basis for learning early numeracy and literacy skills.

Associate Professor, School of Languages; Researcher at the Brain Institute of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

Title: Youth’s brains and violence: neurobiological and molecular effects of toxic stress on cognition and education in vulnerable children

Dr. Augusto Buchweitz biography

Augusto Buchweitz is the primary investigator in two umbrella studies in Brazil that investigate the neurodevelopment of children and adolescents in at-risk situations; more specifically, (1) children at risk for learning disorders (persistent difficulties learning to read and learning maths; http://inscer.pucrs.br/acerta-project/) and (2) adolescents at-risk for chronic stress, living in violent, low SES neighborhoods (the city of Porto Alegre is among the five worst cities in homicides among adolescents in Brazil). These projects involve multicenter collaboration (the former, with two centers in Brazil, and the latter, with a center in Honduras); I am experienced in administering and working with different teams and research protocols. The two projects are funded by largely know agencies, CAPES/Brazilian Ministry of Education and the Interamerican Development Bank. My previous training, in turn, was carried out at the Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging at Carnegie Mellon University (1 year as Visiting Scholar, 3 years as Postdoctoral Research Associate). I was trained in developing fMRI studies design, carrying out data collection and data analyses. At the CCBI, I was involved in three main projects, two of which are still ongoing (www.ccbi.cmu.edu): studies in autism and neurosemantics, which investigate the neural basis of the autism spectrum disorder and the use of machine learning algorithms for classification of brain states, respectively. I was also involved in an Office of Naval Research project on Multitasking at the CCBI (see publications list). As a member of the current application, I believe my expertise working with at-risk populations and with different clinical and typical populations will contribute to carrying out a cross-center, international research project with in culturally different settings.

Assistant Professor, College of Education, United Arab Emirates University, UAE.

Title: Educational Neuroscience and the Future of Teaching and Learning in United Arab Emirates: Thoughts and Reflections

Dr. Sara Al Aleeli biography

Sara AlAleeli is currently appointed as an Assistant Professor in the College of Education at the United Arab Emirates University. Dr. AlAleeli received her Bachelor’s degree from the American University in Cairo and her Masters and Doctoral degrees from Michigan State University. Dr. AlAleeli teaches various undergraduate and graduate courses in language education at UAEU and supervises Master’s students. Dr. AlAleeli’s work focuses on the development of curriculum and instruction in second language education, as well as the integration of innovation and creativity in teacher education programs. Dr. AlAleeli’s research interests lie mainly in two broad areas: second language teaching and learning and the role that culture and innovation play in how developing nations, like UAE, respond to globalization and the need for education reform. Dr. AlAleeli is the recipient of various grants that aim at aligning teachers’ knowledge and practices with twenty-first century skills and the UAE Vision 2021 for education reform. Recently, Dr. AlAleeli’s team of undergraduate students won the EXPO 2020 grant awarded by EXPO University Innovation Program. Dr. AlAleeli considers herself to be an emerging scholar in the field of teacher education who is eager to participate in local, as well as international discussions about education and innovation.

Assistant Professor, College of Natural and Health Sciences, Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Title: Assessing metacognitive monitoring accuracy during high-stake test situations: A cross-cultural study