Speakers

The 2016 NZ Educators’ Neuroscience Conference committee has invited an exciting array of speakers to tell their stories on a range of topics.


Keynote Speakers

DR DAVID MOREAU

Dr David Moreau is a Research Associate with the Centre for Brain Research at the University of Auckland. Originally from France, David completed his PhD at the University of Lille and then spent three years as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Princeton University before moving to New Zealand in 2014. David has an extensive research background in cognitive training. He is particularly interested in the interaction between sensorimotor experience and cognition, and uses various neuroscience tools and techniques, ranging from fMRI to EEG, DTI, tDCS, biomarker tracking and advanced modeling (e.g. Monte Carlo, MCMC, random walks, Artificial Neural Networks). His work suggests that sensorimotor experience reliably shapes cognitive abilities, a line of research that recently led to cognitive enhancement programmes based on complex motor training.

The combination of physical and cognitive components within training programmes has proved particularly effective in eliciting substantial cognitive and physiological improvements. This idea has been tested empirically and led to recent peer-reviewed publications. It is also especially relevant considering the rise of cognitive deficits and neurological diseases in modern society.


TO BE ANNOUNCED

A representative from the Feuerstein Institute will speak on the most researched and cognitive development programme in the world, with 3,000+ peer reviewed and published pieces of research. This significant research and its published outcomes detail compelling evidence of transformational change in the brain's ability to regenerate neurons. The Feuerstein programme is now in over 40 countries and the results speak for themselves.

This link will give you an idea of its potential.


PROF. ADELE DIAMOND

We are pleased to announce we have confirmed Canadian-based and internationally acclaimed neuroscience researcher, Prof. Adele Diamond, as one of our keynote speakers.

Adele is the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of British Columbia (UBC), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (FRSC), and was recently listed as one of the 15 most influential neuroscientists. One of the pioneers in the field of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, Adele is at the forefront of research on the executive functions which depend on prefrontal cortex (PFC) and interrelated brain regions. Executive functions include 'thinking outside the box' (cognitive flexibility), mentally relating ideas and facts (working memory), and giving considered responses rather than impulsive ones, resisting temptations and staying focused (inhibitory control, including selective attention). These abilities are critical for creative and flexible problem-solving, meeting unanticipated challenges, self-control, reasoning, and the discipline to persevere) and success in all life’s aspects.

Dr. Diamond studies how executive functions are affected by biological factors (e.g., genes and neurochemistry) and by environmental ones (e.g., impaired by stress or improved by interventions) especially in children. Her discoveries have improved treatment for medical disorders and impacted early education. Recently, Adele Diamond has turned her attention to the possible roles of traditional activities, such as music and dance, in improving executive functions, academic outcomes, and mental health. In dozens of recent talks (including a TEDx talk) and on the NPR show, On Being with Krista Tippett, Dr. Diamond points out there is a reason dance, play, storytelling, art, and music have been part of human life for tens of thousands of years and are found ubiquitously in every culture; that perhaps we have discarded the wisdoms of past generations too lightly.


Guest Speakers

 

JEREMY MAYALL

Jeremy is a Composer/Producer/Performer originally from Hamilton, NZ. He considers himself a Creative Collaborator, and most recently was the Mozart Fellow (composer-in-residence) at Otago University for 2014-2015. He has a PhD in music composition from Waikato University.

His work has been focussed on the exploration multimedia, multisensory, interdisciplinary projects. Recent collaborations have included work with neuroscientists, astronomers, sensory scientists, musicians, dancers, poets, silks performers, theatre practitioners, perfumers, bakers, authors, sculptors, filmmakers, pyrotechnicians, lighting designers and visual artists.

ABSTRACT – Music and the Brain
“Without music, life would be a mistake” – Friedrich Nietzsche

People are naturally multi-sensory beings. But due to the visually-dominated world we live in, it is often easy to forget how powerful the other senses are for how we experience life. Especially how the other senses affect our brains and our memories.

As a composer, I am fascinated by the role that music plays in our lives, and how snippets of sound can be extraordinary triggers for memory and emotion. Music can affect the way we feel, and the way we experience the things around us.

By realising the power music has, as an almost magical medium for learning and retaining information, we can begin to develop methods to facilitate ideal learning environments for students of all levels.

This talk aims to explore: some of the connections music has with the brain, emotion and memory; how music can enhance creativity; some approaches for how to use music as a soundtrack for learning to help students retain information, be attentive and enhance the learning experience; and how music (and the arts) can help us to find a sense of mindfulness in our everyday lives.


JOSH DAHN

Josh is the Cofounder with Elon Musk and Head of School of Ad Astra School in Los Angeles- an upper elementary and middle school that primarily serves the children of SpaceX employees. Ad Astra is committed to developing analytical thinking through multidisciplinary case studies and simulations. These synthesis projects provide an ethical framework for students to think through contemporary conflicts in environmental policy, space exploration, government surveillance and education. By giving students difficult decisions between seemingly equivalent options, classroom experiences that are meaningful, rigorous, and relevant are created. Josh earned a bachelor's degree in Philosophy and American Studies from Miami University and a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. The school is preparing future leaders who may well play a key role in helping mankind overcome the challenges of the 21st Century. It’s exciting stuff.


CARLA MCNEIL

Carla is the Founder and Director of Learning Matters Ltd. She is the past Principal of Korakonui School, and prior to this was a Mathematics Advisor with the University of Waikato.

Carla is a passionate and experienced educator who has had a rewarding journey through the schooling system as both an educator and a parent. Her interests and passion lies in the advocacy for, and implementation of, quality research based interventions in NZ which lead to the development of self belief, confidence and sustained progress for all learners.

"We invest a great deal of money into students in NZ without fully understanding the science behind the learning process. It is time to bridge the gap between neuroscience research and education initiatives. We must move with the times.”

Carla has presented her story including the successful implementation of the ‘Brain Gain’ programme many times throughout NZ at various conferences as well as to the Minister of Education and other Ministry representatives. Carla believes anything is possible if you set your mind to it, and that all students have much potential to learn, they may just need to be shown how.

She will share her story as well as give us an insight into the direction of her new educational venture Learning Matters Ltd.


ANGELICA BENSON

Lindamood-Bell has pioneered programs to develop the sensory-cognitive processes that underlie reading and comprehension. Over the course of nearly three decades, Lindamood-Bell has served thousands of students.

These students, including children and adults, range from those who wish to achieve excellence, to those who have been diagnosed with dyslexia or ADHD, to those with developmental delays and autism.

Their continued success is due to their unique approach, based on research-validated, sensory-cognitive instruction. They participate in peer-reviewed studies of their programs and instruction, and monitor internally the results at their learning centres and school partnerships to ensure that they maintain exceptionally high outcomes.

They remain committed to making a difference in the lives of the children and adults.


SACHA JONES

Since retiring from the professional circuit three years ago, Sacha Jones is using her experience as an elite sportswoman to help others. Jones, 25, who was ranked as high as 150 in the WTA rankings in 2013, and her friend Stephanie Hughes, have created a website aimed at supporting young women. The website is called www.realyou.co.nz.

Sacha is using her experience in high level sport to inspire young women to reach their true potential. On the website you will find articles written by Sacha and Stephanie, as well as a section called "Conversations", which is a forum where young women can ask questions about anything from body image and peer pressure to communication and relationships; no topics are off limits. From there, they are able to get free, personalised support and feedback from Stephanie, Sacha and other users within the RealYou community.

The concept of RealYou was inspired by their own experiences as a teenager's. "Tennis is an individual sport and at times it comes with a lot of pressure. It can be lonely when you're on the road for months at a time and as such, it demands a lot of self belief and determination not to let your happiness be defined by your results but by you as a person.”


KAREN E WALDIE

Associate Professor Karen E Waldie is at the Research Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Auckland. She became a research fellow with the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study (DMHDS) and joined the Auckland academic faculty in 2001 after falling in love with New Zealand.

Karen Waldie’s research interests can be broadly categorised into those that rely on acute cross-sectional experimental techniques, and those which rely on data collected from longitudinal studies. Her experimental work combines techniques from cognitive neuroscience (e.g., functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG)) and clinical neuropsychology.

Of interest to educators is her current work leading a large fMRI study to determine the neural basis of dyslexia, dyscalculia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (Auckland Comorbidity Study).

Her involvement with national longitudinal studies reflects her interest in life-span development as well as the precursors and determinants of neurodevelopmental disorders. She is a member of numerous professional societies and has published over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters.


 


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Nurturing Young Minds Ltd
192 Centennial Drive
Whitianga 3510
New Zealand
Email: mail@nymconference.com

Campus Link Foundation
P O Box 758
Shortland St
Auckland 1140
New Zealand
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Mobile: +64 (0) 299931600