AIMS Colloquium Series: First Installment

A Center for thinking about learning and thinking ought to do so within a public forum. Well at least that is how I see things. As I have mentioned in other blog posts, one of my tasks here at the Center is to spearhead the Colloquium Series. I will be visiting the topics from the individual colloquium talks throughout the year; in this blog post I would rather outline the broad goals and purposes of this series.

With our mission to impact the scientific and mathematical experiences of children, through work with teachers, we at the Center are constantly looking for ways to communicate what we believe are important and evidence-based understandings of good educational practice. We also are looking to vet the ideas we are seeking to understand to the broader public, because it is part of our vision to translate knowledge into practice.

Towards these goals then, we provide bi-monthly guest speakers, designed for our AIMS Scholars but open to all. These talks range across a broad spectrum of teacher interest, from philosophical (the tenets of Radical Constructivism), curriculum-based (Mathematical Modeling, the Next Generation Science Standards), and pedagogical subjects (a full series on Professional Noticing in the classroom).

The Colloquium Series is connected to our ZPC Podcast as well. When a speaker at a scheduled talk runs out of time or has a follow-up to a topic they only got to briefly touch on, we can explore these in greater depth in the podcast that we record later. So, twice per month, we will release a 20-minute conversation with a colloquium speaker.

So far, one theme seems to be emerging from our colloquium topics: student knowledge. Looking at the titles, and hopes, most of our speakers are taking a very “student-centered” focus, rather than a curriculum focus. This fits nicely with the AIMS focus on Constructivist epistemology, which guides us to consider what the learner already knows about the subject we want them to come to understand, then capitalize on that knowledge as we assist the student to enter their zone of greatest potential for constructing new knowledge.

Keep an eye out every second and fourth Monday of each month, August through May. Science, math, philosophy, pedagogy, and advice all will be part and parcel of our Colloquium Series. Join us in the Center for collaboration, snacks, and healthy conversations, or online via Adobe Connect (instructions are posted to our website www.aimsedu.org).

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