When Prof. Regina Panasuk organized the first Graduate School of Education Colloquium on Educational Research and Practice, her goal was to provide a forum for her mathematics and science education doctoral students to present their research outside the classroom. That initial event, which was held in 1996 and drew a crowd of 30, has grown to an annual gathering of more than 200 education professionals from across the region and showcases the research of students in all Graduate School of Education’s doctoral programs.
“This is a place for educators to share ideas,” says Panasuk.
This year’s colloquium, scheduled for April 26 at the University’s Inn & Conference Center, will feature keynote speaker Prof. Maryanne Wolf, director of the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts University. In her address, “The Evolving Brain in the Time of Digital Transition,” Wolf will discuss how computers and other electronic devices are impacting learning. Wolf is author of the acclaimed 2007 book “Proust and the Squid,” which looks at how the brain learns to read.
With the proliferation of hand-held and tablet computers, technology’s impact on learning is of heightened interest to educators and researchers.
“This new era of computers changes the way children read,” says Panasuk, who was named University Professor in October, a three-year appointment that is the highest distinction bestowed on a UMass Lowell faculty member. “Digital gadgets should be used cleverly, as a means, not as an end.”
Also on the schedule are research presentations on mathematics coaching, teaching fiction, preparation programs for preschool teachers and professional learning communities for teachers. A poster session will highlight the work of doctoral students. Faculty, students, and educators, superintendents and other school administrators from around the region will be attending, Panasuk says. The Colloquium Journal featuring doctoral students’ research will be released at the event.