March 16, 2006

John Bransford

Attended a talk given by John Bransford today. He is currently at the University of Washington, having previously spent time at Vanderbilt. He has written several books on the learning sciences. This is an umbrella term which describes how people learn in many settings: museums, k-12 schools, homes, libraries, churches, workplaces etc. Throughout our lives most of our learning is informal. This field is being studied in an interdisciplinary way using neuroscience, psychology, psychology and others. The International Society of the Learning Sciences has more information about this emerging field and they also publish the Journal of the Learning Sciences. More and more universities are adding programs in the learning sciences to their offerings.

Bransford's current project is The LIFE Center. The kinds of questions that Bransford and his colleagues ask are: What do people need to learn about for a high quality life? How do people learn about health care, nutrition, finances, local environmental conditions.

Books that were recommended mentioned during the talk were:
*Fish is Fish by Leo Leonni (A children's picture book that shows how when something is explained to a fish, the fish interprets it in light of what it knows).

Books edited or co-edited by John Bransford
How People Learn
How Students Learn
Preparing Teachers for a Changing World

Books on the changing needs of society in the future
The World is Flat Friedman and Wyman
The Power of Productivity William Lewis
The New Division of Labor Levy and Murnane

A book that describes the intellectual aspects of everyday work:
The Mind at Work by Mike Rose

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