Inquiry-based, Interactive Curriculum and Pedagogy Based on Models of Mind and Brain
What does it mean for curriculum to be inquiry-based and interactive? To encourage student engagement and active participation in both individual and group work? To offer teachers a coherent set of materials from which to choose that can enhance their classes? To be a product of on-going development based on research and feedback from the field? The Center for Excellence in Education, Science, and Technology (CELEST) is developing a new and unique educational curriculum, an interactive curriculum based upon models of mind and brain. The educational rationale for CELEST is to fill a gap in connecting math and science education with neuroscience and cognitive science. An understanding of how our brains work has been left out of current national science standards (such as the AAAS Benchmarks for Science Literacy) and state standards (such as the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks) have followed the national trend. This is unfortunate because teachers, administrators, and governments (both at the state and federal level) are necessarily concerned with how students learn. Students are themselves greatly concerned about how their own minds work, including how they learn. CELEST has introduced curricula that not only meet current standards in mathematics and science but also might influence plans for improvements to those standards. Our goal is to enhance standard curricula by providing interactive, model-based activities about mind and brain in software and print, as well as insight into the diverse experimental data that these models explain that are intrinsically motivating to students and helpful to teachers.
Keywords: CELEST, Curriculum, Pedagogy, Inquiry-Based Learning, Interactive Software, Computational Neuroscience, Learning Science
Daniel J. Franklin
Director, Center of Excellence for Learning in Education, Science, and Technology (CELEST)