125 Stanford Stories

NO. 13
Stanford Today

Thinking big about learning

Thinking Big_panel
Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning John Mitchell, left, Dean of the Graduate School of Education Daniel Schwartz and historian Caroline Winterer, director of the Stanford Humanities Center, converse in the opening panel at the Thinking Big About Learning symposium.
Linda A. Cicero/Stanford News Service
John Etchemendy 2
Provost John Etchemendy moderates the opening session of Thinking Big About Learning. (Photo: L.A. Cicero / Stanford News)
Carol Dweck 3
Carol Dweck opens the second session with a talk explaining her research that bridges developmental, social and personality psychology. (Photo: L.A. Cicero / Stanford News)
Audience 4
Cemex auditorium was fully subscribed for Thinking Big About Learning. (Photo: L.A. Cicero / Stanford News)
Bruce McCandliss 5
Bruce McCandliss explains how the brain changes in response to educational experiences. (Photo: L.A. Cicero / Stanford News)
Jeremy Bailenson 6
Jeremy Bailenson details his work to create immersive virtual worlds. (Photo: L.A. Cicero / Stanford News)
Carl Wieman 7
Carl Wieman discusses effective strategies for teaching science. (Photo: L.A. Cicero / Stanford News)
Audience break 8
The audience takes a break halfway through the presentations. (Photo: L.A. Cicero / Stanford News)
Piya Sorcar 9
Piya Sorcar explains the importance of creating culturally appropriate materials for teaching about HIV/AIDS. (Photo: L.A. Cicero / Stanford News)
Linda DH 10
Linda Darling-Hammond emphasizes teaching skills such as teamwork and problem solving that will serve students in a rapidly changing world. (Photo: L.A. Cicero / Stanford News)
Esther Woj 11
Palo Alto High School journalism teacher Esther Wojcicki describes various methods of empowering students in the classroom. (Photo: L.A. Cicero / Stanford News)
Travis Bristol 12
Travis Bristol talks about the role of gender in the classroom. (Photo: L.A. Cicero / Stanford News)
Scott Doorley 13
Scott Doorley takes the audience through a virtual wormhole into Stanford's future in the year 2025. (Photo: L.A. Cicero / Stanford News)
Philip Pizzo 14
During the fourth session Dr. Phil Pizzo explains Stanford’s new interdisciplinary fellowship program. (Photo: L.A. Cicero / Stanford News)
Petra and Sebastian 15
Petra Dierkes-Thrun and Sebastian Thrun end the program with a talk on the marriage of computer science and humanities in a class that they team taught. (Photo: L.A. Cicero / Stanford News)
Reception 16
Participants gather for an outdoor reception following the symposium. (Photo: L.A. Cicero / Stanford News) Thinking Big About Learning. Stanford 125th Anniversary Symposium. Cemex Auditorium

Stanford symposium puts focus on education

By harnessing the educational power of virtual reality, Professor Jeremy Bailenson aims to raise our awareness of ocean acidification’s devastating effects. If we can “see” the results of our actions on a once-pristine coral reef, Bailenson’s research indicates we will act in more environmentally sound ways.

Advances in brain imaging technology permit Professor Bruce McCandliss to capture the effect of learning experiences on the brain’s circuitry. A new collaborative field – educational neuroscience – offers groundbreaking insights into how students learn.

In October 2015, Bailenson, McCandliss and leaders from fields as diverse as psychology, computer science, education, physics and the humanities discussed their work to better understand and improve learning. Topics ranged from effective teaching strategies in K-12 classrooms to envisioning the university’s role 25 years in the future.

Taking a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach was an overarching theme. We’re in “a renaissance time for learning and education,” said John Mitchell, vice provost for teaching and learning. Experts across disciplines are “working together and thinking about how we can teach and learn better.”

Stanford actively fosters this perspective, and “Thinking Big About Learning” provided an opportunity to share ideas with the greater community. The event, which drew more than 550 participants, was the first in a series of anniversary symposia celebrating Stanford’s 125th year.  

Read more about the speakers and their unique contributions to the future of learning, and visit the post-event web page, where you can watch a video of each presentation.