Mind-wandering is common in the classroom and while students are studying on their own.  This is not surprising given that these activities often demand long periods of attention. In this video, Dr. Karl Szpunar (University of Illinois at Chicago) talks about interventions that can reduce and redirect mind wandering to keep students on task.

About the Author

Karl Szpunar is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Chicago. He completed a Ph.D. at Washington University in St. Louis and postdoctoral fellowships at the Rotman Research Institute and Harvard University. His research examines the cognitive and neural underpinnings that give rise to the ability to reflect on the personal past and future. Using both behavioral and brain imaging techniques, Dr. Szpunar also conducts research aimed at developing interventions to reduce or redirect mind-wandering in educational contexts.

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In 2015, Cameron Broumand, an entrepreneur and father of three living in Los Angeles, stumbled upon a media article on the science of learning. After reading the piece, he realized that the valuable research findings in cognitive psychology and the learning sciences were almost entirely unknown to the public and, more surprisingly, to teachers. How could this be?! Broumand decided to find out, so he called Dr. Robert Bjork, a distinguished research professor at UCLA and one of the world’s leading experts in human learning and memory. After an insightful conversation with Dr. Bjork about the disconnect between research and practice, Broumand recognized an opportunity to improve our educational system. Shortly thereafter, he—along with Clement Mok, an award-winning designer and digital pioneer—founded the company, Lasting Learning. The goal of the company? To provide information to the public about how the science of learning can help transform and improve the way people teach and learn. Broumand asked learning scientists, Dr. Nick Soderstrom and Saskia Giebl, M.Sc. (both of whom were in Bjork’s lab at the time), to join the team. They happily agreed and, with the help of Carri O’Neill, have been giving talks, workshops, and webinars around the country ever since. The UCLA-Lasting Learning team has had the privilege to talk with thousands of teachers, coaches, parents, students, and athletes about how they can leverage the science of learning to enhance their educational practices. We look forward to talking with many more!