The conference on Spatial Learning described below had 80 attendees from across the country, and was a great success.

Integrating Cognitive Science with Innovative Teaching in STEM Disciplines: Spatial Learning in STEM

Friday, September 18, 2015:  8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, September 19, 2015: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Hilton Orrington Hotel, Evanston, IL 60201

The conference is intended for faculty in the STEM disciplines to learn and discuss how spatial intelligence and spatial skills come into play in undergraduate education in engineering, natural sciences and biological sciences.  Students vary in their capabilities and the conference will address what impact this has on their learning and on persistence in a variety of STEM fields, and how spatial skills can be improved.  Development of these skills begins early in development, however, so some discussion will be devoted to the precollege years, but the focus will be on undergraduate education.  It is expected that most of the audience will have minimal expertise in these particular topics, so the invited talks will be long enough to give substantial background, but still leave time for questions.  Further discussions will take place in breakout sessions and over meals. For an introduction to the field, prospective attendees may wish to review the Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center website. The 2015 conference will follow the format of a previous conference about cognitive science and STEM education at Washington University in St. Louis.

The conference is generously sponsored by Northwestern University through the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Northwestern Center for Engineering Education Research, the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education, as well as the Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center.

Attendees are welcome to submit posters on any topic of interest to STEM educators, and/or to cognitive scientists in the field of university education. 

Conference Chairs

  • Robert A. Linsenmeier, Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Neurobiology, and Ophthalmology, Northwestern University
  • David  H. Uttal, Department of Psychology and School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University

Speakers (alphabetical)

  • Sarah W. Bednarz, Department of Geography, Texas A&M University
  • Kenneth D. Forbus, Department of Computer Science and School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University
  • Stephanie M. Gardner, Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University
  • Wade Goodridge, Department of Engineering Education, Utah State University
  • Andrew F. Heckler, Department of Physics, Ohio State University
  • Nora S. Newcombe, Department of Psychology, and PI of the Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center, Temple University
  • Amy Shelton, Department of Psychology and Director of Research, Center for Talented Youth, Johns Hopkins University
  • Thomas Shipley, Department of Psychology, Temple University
  • Sheryl A. Sorby, Department of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics, Michigan Technological University
  • Mike Stieff, Department of Chemistry, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • David H. Uttal,  Department of Psychology and School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University
  • Jonathan Wai, Talent Identification Program, Duke University