Breakout Sessions

Joyful Learning: The Challenge to Education
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Three new survival necessities – learning to take responsibilities for one’s actions, working in collaborative teamwork, and realizing that the future of life on this planet is in our hands – must be faced by society as a whole. Educators cannot afford to continue teaching traditional curricula using old pedagogies while the world is changing with dangerous speed all around us. With every technological advance, the power of humankind for accomplishing useful goals increases – but so does its power to do harm as well. Schools failing to prepare young people for the world they are inheriting would be the equivalent of letting small children play with sharp knives, or allowing them to drive trucks.
Education cannot accomplish this by simply providing the right information to children. Abstract knowledge is useful to those who trust abstractions – but many children have difficulty in translating what they learn cognitively into the motivations and behaviors that make the difference between “book knowledge” and actual practice. We need a pedagogy that does not rely only on the brain but also on the heart – and perhaps even on the more primitive safety systems that evolution has built into our biology. “Joyful Learning” will explore the possibilities of such a pedagogy.

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Change Your Brain by Transforming Your Mind
Richard J. Davidson

Richard Davidson’s talk “Change Your Brain by Transforming Your Mind,” will explore the neuroscience of positive human qualities, show how training the mind with even very modest levels of practice can change the brain in beneficial ways and introduce UW-Madison’s new Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center. The center brought the Dalai Lama to campus for its grand opening in May 2010. Davidson is Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and director of the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior.

 


Science Literacy versus Science Denialism
Derrick Pitts

While we live in age of unparalleled science achievement, rarely has an educated population rejected proven basic science to the degree we see today. Why do we allow school districts to reject proven scientific tenets, principles and laws? What do we expect the effect of this will be on our society overall? How will we ever use science to help solve critical issues of our existence on this planet if the importance of science literacy has less importance than celebrity literacy?

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People Who Persevere
Margaret Wheatley

Given the intensity, velocity and downright insanity of events, how do we maintain focus, enthusiasm and spirit for our work?  How do we resist being torn apart from each other by jealousy, judgment and fatigue when it’s essential that we stay together?  How do we learn to live beautifully with uncertainty?

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Virus Hunting: Identifying Tomorrow’s Pandemic Today
Nathan Wolf

The deadliest viruses tend to develop in the animal kingdom before tipping over to the human population. With this in mind, scientists like Nathan Wolfe are busy identifying, tracking and containing viruses around the world, while they’re still in their animal infancy. In this keynote, Wolfe draws on his extensive fieldwork as well as on the latest scientific breakthroughs (some of which he is responsible for) to give a fascinating talk on pandemics. Where do viruses come from? Under what social, ecological and scientific conditions do they spread? What are the hot spots in the world today? And, most importantly, how do we identify and then stop the next pandemic before it jumps–dangerously and suddenly–into the human population?

Dr. Nathan Wolfe, “Virus Hunting: Identifying Tomorrow’s Pandemic Today” from Jake Moskol on Vimeo.


From Abandonment to Enchantment: Awakening Creativity from Within
Lily Yeh

Building community through self-expression and creative actions, that’s what Lily Yeh does with groups. In this workshop, people will experience her methodology, getting to know one another through a unique series of experiences that build connectedness utilizing individual, collective voices and multiple modes of expression. This session will be hands-on, experimental and participatory. It will help attendees create a new, open space into which people can enter on equal footing and find their voices. Thus, people will experience community-building in the making.

Note: Audio is quiet due to session format.

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