The University of Washington's School of Nursing, School of Education - LIFE Center (Learning in Formal &Informal Environments) and the University's Educational Outreach Center in consultation with the Neuroscience Advisory Committee are collaborating with the Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD) in this project which will engage middle school science teachers, students and parents/community groups in an innovative program of neuroscience education focused on answering the questions, "How do I learn?" and "How do I teach students about how they learn?" This exciting and innovative project, How Do I Learn: Neuroscience Advances Inform Learning will utilize neuroscience research to enhance teaching and learning and to stimulate students to pursue in careers in neuroscience. Rather than develop curriculum for an already overcrowded school year, this project will equip teachers with teaching skills that they can use with any subject they currently teach. It will engage students in understanding more about how they learn, and will give parents and other interested community groups the knowledge they need to support learning. There are three goals for How Do I Learn that target three different groups: middle school teachers, students and their families/communities. The goal for teachers is to increase their knowledge of neuroscience research related to learning and their use of cognitive learning models, related teaching resources, and pedagogical skills. The student goal is to broaden their knowledge of the brain and learning, of research processes, and of neuroscience careers. For parents and community groups the goal is to increase their access to neuroscience topics related to learning. To enhance teacher knowledge and skills the team will offer a Summer Institute (SI) and online Professional Learning Community (PLC). Information from both the SI and PLC will form the basis for a free online course hosted by UW Extension that will be developed over the five years of the project. Students will benefit from the skills their teachers develop and will also participate in an online project designed to use their understandings of neuro-cognition and of neuroscience careers. Parents and other groups will be invited to participate in selected aspects of the SI/PLC activities, and will have a devoted web location where translated information about neuroscience related to learning and neuroscience careers will be highlighted. NIH-funded neuroscientists are involved via the Neuroscience Advisory Committee and participation in activities such as the SI and PLC. The strong successful partnership of three UW departments, the neuroscience advisory committee, and the Puget Sound Educational Service district assures that How Do I Learn will advance both education and neuroscience careers.
An educated public and a vibrant representative population of neuroscience researchers are critical to the public health of the United States. This project will strengthen teaching and learning skills for middle school teachers and students by making evidence based teaching information available. It will also provide information on neuroscience careers to teachers, students and families/communities.