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Workskhop 1: Cognitive and educational neuroscience: possibilities and challenges

The first workshop in November 2-3 will focus on contributions from cognitive and educational neuroscience as well as a paneldiscussion about applicability in educational contexts

This first workshop takes place in November 2-3.

Day 1 will be held in English and focus on cognitive and educational neuroscience research from the view of three keynote speakers. Day 1 will also bring up examples of cognitive and educational neuroscience research in school and end with a panel discussion of the challenges with cognitive and educational neuroscience in education.

Day 2 will be held in Swedish and have a focus on learning strategies and learning methods. Day 2 has a particular emphasis on including teachers, headmasters, school leaders etc., with the intention to build collaborative research that are of reciprocal benefit


Program: Day 1 (in English)

November 2

10.00 Registration opens for check-in

12.45 – 13.00 Workshop opens: Bert Jonsson         

13.00 – 14.00  Professor Deborah Youdell, University of Birmingham, UK: The contribution of neuroscience to education: possibilities and challenges

Professor Youdell will focus on the promises and risks of education’s encounter with neuroscience and invite an exploration of the possible trajectories for education and educationists.

14.00-14.10. Coffe

14.10 – 15.0  Associate professor Kenny Skagerlund: Neural correlates of children’s and adults’ number processing and how they relate to mathematical abilities and mathematics anxiety on functional Connectivity being predictive of mathematical ability. 

Associate professor Skagerlund will focus on functional Connectivity in the brain as predictive of mathematical ability

15.10 - 15.20 Coffe

15.20 - 16.20 Professor Torkel Klingberg: Mathematical learning, spatial reasoning and cognitive training.

Professor Klingberg will focus on Spatial and mathematical abilities and cognitive training

16.20 - 16.50  Panel discussion: Challenges with cognitive and educational neuroscience research Moderator: Professor Håkan Fischer 

19.00  Invited Conference dinner


Program: day 2 (in Swedish)

November 3

08.15 - 08.30 Inlärningsstrategier: En översikt (Bert Jonsson)           


08.30- 09.30: Universitetslektor Carola Wiklund-Hörnqvist, Post-doc Sara Stillejsö: Testbaserat lärande: evidens från beteende- och neurovetenskapliga studier

Presentationerna fokuserar på användande av test som ett medel för inlärning

09.30 – 09.40  Kaffe

09.40 - 10.40 Universitetslektor Mathias Norqvist, professor Johan Lithner & universitetslektor Linnea Karlsson Wirebring:  Kreativ matematik: Evidens från ögonrörelser och hjärnavbildning

Presentationerna fokuserar på hur imitativa respektive kreativa uppgiftstyper påverkar lärande i matematik

11.40 - 10.50  Kaffe

10.50 - 11.50  forts Johan Lithner, Mathias Norqvist  Linnea Karlsson Wirebring

11.50 - 13.00 Lunch

13.00 – 13.45 Paneldiskussion: Evidensbaserade metoder och implementering i utbildningskontexter. Moderator: Bert Jonsson

13.45 - 14.00   Framåtblick: Kommande workshops (Bert Jonsson

Registration of interest

If you are interested in participating, please email us ed.neuroscience@umu.se. However this is not for sign up, we will distribute a link for signing up later when it becomes clearer whether the workshop will be held blended or only digital.

Travel allowance

Note that if the workshop is held blended (partly in real life), it will be possible to apply for travel expenses. However, this funding is limited with speakers prioritized



The contribution of neuroscience to education: possibilities and challenges.
Professor Deborah Youdell, University of Birmingham, UK

Governments and education policy makers internationally are convinced that new developments in cognitive science and neuroscience have the capacity to answer longstanding unanswered questions about learning and, in turn, transform education practice. This is an exciting proposition, yet it can fail to appeal to educationalists when it is framed in a way that seems to overlook the wealth of knowledge about classrooms, pedagogy and learning relationships that has been generated in the field of Education over many decades, or when it advocates for interventions that seem detached from the complexities of real classroom contexts. When we interrogate the evidence base for ‘neuroeducation’ – as colleagues and I have in a recent systematic review of cognitive science interventions in education commissioned by the UK’s Education Endowment Foundation – we find much material but relatively few intervention studies about which we can feel highly confident. And translation from laboratory studies to classroom interventions remains a persistent challenge. Despite these limits and criticisms, the enthusiasm for neuroeducation is beginning to generate a new hegemony and educationists need to understand its terms decide how to respond in and to this.
In this paper I offer a view of this terrain, consider the promises and risks of education’s encounter with neuroscience and invite an exploration of the possible trajectories for education and educationists.

Professor Deborah Youdell is Head of the School of Education and Professor of Sociology of Education. Her work is at the forefront of the developing field of biosocial and educational neuroscience, which brings emerging knowledge together with social science accounts of education to generate new insights into learning and the learner.

Mathematical learning, spatial reasoning and cognitive training.
Professor Torkel klingberg

Spatial and mathematical abilities are strongly associated. Here we analyzed data from 17,648 children, aged 6-8 years, who performed 7 weeks of mathematical training together with randomly assigned, spatial cognitive training with tasks demanding more of spatial manipulation (mental rotation or tangram), maintenance of spatial information (a visuo-spatial working memory task) or spatial, non-verbal reasoning. We found that what type of cognitive training children performed had a significant impact on mathematical learning, with training of visuo-spatial working memory and reasoning being the most effective. This large, communitybased study shows that spatial cognitive training can result in transfer to academic abilities and
that reasoning ability and maintenance of spatial information is relevant for math learning in young children

Torkel Klingberg, MD, PhD, is Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. His work on child brain development and cognitive training is at the international front line. Professor Klingberg leads a major Swedish project on child development, lectures regularly at international conferences, is the recipient of several prizes, and serves as a member of the Nobel Assembly.

Neural correlates of children’s and adults’ number processing and how they
relate to mathematical abilities and mathematics anxiety.
Associate professor Kenny Skagerlund

In my talk I will present research where we have investigated how the human brain representsnumerical information. In particular, we investigate the so called Triple Code Model (TCM), which refers to the three different codes in which we represent number symbolically and nonsymbolically. We investigate how different areas of the brain are responsible for different codes, and how it potentially differentiates across ontogeny – from childhood to adulthood.
Moreover, we investigate how different cognitive abilities and mathematical abilities are correlated with various activation patterns and how they relate to numerical representations, both using task fMRI and resting-state paradigms. We also highlight neurocognitive correlates and potential mechanisms responsible for the way in which math anxiety (MA) may interfere with mathematical abilities. Math anxiety is a negative emotional reaction to situations involving mathematical problem solving. This emotional reaction impairs performance on math tasks, and research suggests that MA is caused by either aberrant default mode network(DMN) regulation or hyperconnectivity of amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC) Previous research has looked at MA in relation to complex arithmetic, but research with behavioral data suggests that MA may interfere with basic number processing. It is unclear whether MA show aberrant connectivity patterns during processing of numbers. In our research, we will discuss how MA may be tied to specific regions and their interconnectivity in both children and adults.

Kenny Skagerlund is an associate professor in psychology with an interest in the behavioral and neurocognitive underpinnings of mathematical cognition. Currently he is focusing on developmental dyscalculia and how various cognitive abilities and neural substrates may be involved in the learning disorder

Testbaserat lärande: evidens från beteende- och neurovetenskapliga studier. Universitetslektor Carola Wiklund-Hörnqvist, Post-doc Sara Stillejsö

Traditionellt sett används test/prov i skolan främst för att utvärdera elevers lärande, snarare än som ett verktyg som främjar långvarigt lärande i sig. Frånskilt från detta har flertalet studier inom kognitiv psykologi påvisat evidens för att testbaserat lärande leder till bättre hågkomst över tid jämfört med flertalet andra pedagogiska metoder. I fokus för denna presentation är: vad är testbaserat lärande, varför är testbaserat lärande så effektivt och vad
händer i hjärnan, samt hur är det av relevans för undervisning och lärande i skolan?

Sara Stillesjö arbetar som post doc vid institutionen för tillämpad utbildningsvetenskap vid Umeå Universitet. Saras forskning handlar om hur hjärnans funktion med avseende på minne och lärande kan ge information om hur och varför aktiva lärandemetoder, såsom testbaserad inlärning, är gynnsamt för varaktigt lärande.

Carola Wiklund-Hörnqvist är universitetslektor vid Institutionen för psykologi, Umeå universitet, samt legitimerad grund- och gymnasielärare i svenska och psykologi. Hennes forskning handlar främst om relationen minne och lärande med fokus på testbaserat lärande. Detta studeras både i klassrumsmiljö och med funktionell hjärnavbildning (fMRI). 

 Kreativ matematik: Evidens från ögonrörelser och hjärnavbildning. Universitetslektor Linnea Karlsson Wirebring, professor Johan Lithner & universitetslektor Mathias Norqvist:

Forskningsprogrammet ”Lära matematik med imitativa och kreativa resonemang” startade2009 med fokus på hur olika typer av matematiska resonemang (imitativa och kreativa) kanpåverka lärande. I ett stort antal studier har vi arbetat tvärvetenskapligt med forskare frånmatematikdidaktik, psykologi och neurovetenskap. Med ett antal olika metodologiska ansatser
har vi undersökt hur imitativa respektive kreativa uppgiftstyper påverkar lärande. Under detta pass kommer vi att presentera programmets grundläggande idé samt beskriva några av de studier som vi genomfört, med speciellt fokus på ögonrörelser och hjärnavbildning, samt de lärdomar vi har dragit från vårt tvärvetenskapliga arbete. Ögonrörelsestudierna har fokuserat
på hur elever läser uppgifter och om det går att se skillnader i val av lösningsstrategier beroende på uppgiftsdesignen. Här finns det relativt tydliga resultat som pekar på att elever som får lösningsmetoder presenterade enbart implementerar dessa, utan att ställa sig frågan varför de fungerar. Hjärnavbildningsstudierna har fokuserat på effekterna av de två olika
uppgiftstyperna, både på prestation och på hjärnans aktivitet. Resultaten från dessa studier tyder på att kreativa resonemang har gynnsamma effekter både på prestation och hjärnaktivitet en vecka efter förvärvandefasen.

Linnea Karlsson Wirebring  är universitetslektor med inlärning, minne och beslutfattande som forskningsintresse, med en särskild betoning på pedagogisk neurovetenskap. Ett fokus är effekter av kreativa matematiska resonemang och testbaserat lärande på hjärnaktivitet och prestation   

Johan Lithner är professor i matematikdidaktik. Han studerar om och hur kreativ problemlösning i matematik kan leda till bättre lärande än att följa givna procedurer. För närvarande bedriver han tillsammans med lärare och forskare tre forsknings- och utvecklingsprojekt som undersöker hur undervisning kan stödja kreativ problemlösning.

Mathias Norqvist är universitetslektor på institutionen för naturvetenskapernas och matematikens didaktik vid Umeå universitet, samt legitimerad grund- och gymnasielärare i matematik och naturkunskap. Hans forskning handlar för närvarande om matematiska resonemang och hur elever kan utveckla sin resonemangsförmåga.

Senast uppdaterad: 2022-08-11