This episode was funded by The Wellcome Trust.
Welcome to the Learning Scientists Podcast – a podcast for teachers, students, and parents about evidence-based practice and learning.
In this episode, the two of us – Dr. Yana Weinstein (UMass Lowell) and Dr. Megan Sumeracki (formerly Megan Smith; Rhode Island College) – introduce ourselves and tell you a bit about our backgrounds, how we came to start the Learning Scientists project, and what we’ll be talking about on this podcast.
Yana was born in Russia, grew up in England, spent a bit of time in France, and moved to the US in 2008 – first to St. Louis, MO (to do a postdoc at Washington University in St. Louis with Roddy Roediger), and then to Boston 5 years ago to start her faculty position at UMass Lowell.
Megan has lived in the United States her entire life. She grew up North of Chicago, went to Purdue University for her undergraduate education, Washington University in St. Louis for her Masters, and back to Purdue for her PhD. She then took a 1-year position at Utah State University Eastern, before settling into her position at Rhode Island College.
So, we met at Washington University in St. Louis 8 years ago, but we didn’t really work together at the time. A year and a half ago, however, everything changed as we re-discovered each other on Twitter and launched the Learning Scientists project.
The Learning Scientists project
Originally, we started searching for students who wanted help studying. Did you know that once every few minutes, someone tweets asking “how to study”? See for yourselves! To learn more about how the project emerged spontaneously from our Twitter interactions, see this story.
Make sure to follow us on Twitter @AceThatTest.
With the help of Samuel Sumeracki, a strategic communication expert – and now, Megan’s husband! – we started a website and blog. Our first blog post was called Communication Breakdown Between Science and Practice in Education. We got a variety of responses to this blog post, and in the past 18 months we’ve learned a lot and realized that we were somewhat naïve when we started the project and wrote that post. See here for our 1-year reflection post, where we elaborate on how the project evolved from that first post.
The Lab to Classroom model
In this first podcast episode, we discuss our experiences in the classroom, and debunk one of the myths surrounding cognitive psychology and education: that we only collect data in the lab. We do, in fact, start in the lab; but then, we build our way up to the classroom.
For an example of the lab to classroom model in practice, see this blog post.
Six Strategies for Effective Learning
In this podcast, we’ll be focusing on 6 strategies that have the most evidence supporting their effectiveness. Here are the 6 strategies, with links to our dedicated page for each strategy, where you can find posters, blog posts, and other free downloadable resources:
For more about the 6 strategies, see this blog post. Recently, we’ve been discussing these strategies with teachers and students. One of the 12 year olds we talked to in the UK even co-authored a blog post with us!
For the next 6 months, we’ll be taking one of these strategies in turn and presenting research evidence as well as implementation ideas, and hopefully providing even more opportunities for teachers, students, and parents to interact with us.
Speak to you soon!
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