Public Release: 

Carnegie Mellon Conference Highlights 25 Years Of Progress In Understanding And Improving Teaching And Learning

Carnegie Mellon University

PITTSBURGH -- The latest research in how children learn and how teachers can improve classroom instruction will be highlighted June 11-13 when the annual Carnegie Symposium on Cognition is held at Carnegie Mellon University.

Titled "Cognition and Instruction: 25 Years of Progress," the symposium is sponsored by the university's Department of Psychology, the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research. Speakers at this symposium will describe advances and challenges in four areas, including cognitive development and learning in children, teachers and teaching strategies, new technology tools for instruction and the social contexts of learning. Carnegie Mellon scientists and other internationally known experts in the field of child development and educational research will explore the partnerships forged between psychology researchers and teachers who bring their research into the classroom.

"The first symposium on the topic of cognition and instruction was held in 1974. It focused on the contributions that cognitive psychology could make to the design of instructional materials. We decided that it would be interesting to look at the progress we have made in the past 25 years. It has been significant," said David Klahr, professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University. Klahr also organized the 1974 Cognition and Instruction symposium addressing the collaboration of teaching and research.

"The scientists and teachers who will attend this year's conference are among the very best at what they do, and we are pleased that some are coming from across the country to be with us," he added.

Sharon Carver, director of Carnegie Mellon's laboratory school, The Children's School, is co-organizer of the conference. Like Klahr, Carver is an expert in the cognitive modeling of children's problem-solving skills and the use of such models for designing instructional materials and assessing teaching methods.

Klahr and Carver say that many of the issues that will be presented at the symposium will showcase the increased, and successful, collaboration between researchers and classroom teachers.

"Our laboratory school is a model of how collaborative research on cognition and instruction can impact the way we train teachers, educate young children, work with their parents and involve undergraduates in developmental research and practice," Carver said.

Each day of the conference will focus on a particular theme and will consist of a series of lectures followed by discussion.

Speakers on June 11 will address development and learning and teachers and teaching strategies. June 12 will be devoted to presenting studies about new learning tools and social contexts for learning. The third day (June 13) of the conference will be devoted to looking at the future of instruction and study of how children learn and develop understanding.

Nobel Laureate Herbert A. Simon, the Richard King Mellon University Professor of Psychology and Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon, will give the keynote address -- "Learning to Research about Learning."

Specifics about the conference can be found at: http://www.psy.cmu.edu/cognition+instruction/

The Carnegie Symposium Series is sponsored annually by the Department of Psychology. Past conferences have addressed the topics of consciousness, problem solving and implicit memory. As in other years, all of the talks presented at this year's symposium will be incorporated into a book, which should be available in the year 2000.

The conference will be held in Porter Hall 100 (Gregg Auditorium) on Carnegie Mellon's campus. For specific information about registration, please call Mary Anne Cowden at 412-268-4315 in the Psychology Department.

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