Sydney to host 2012 International Conference of the Learning Sciences

9 September 2010

The University of Sydney has been announced as the host of the 2012 International Conference of the Learning Sciences. It will be the first time the conference has been held in the Southern Hemisphere.

Professor Michael Jacobson, Co-director of the Centre for Research on Computer-supported Learning and Cognition (CoCo) at the University of Sydney, says this recognizes the University's international reputation as an important player in the fields of the sciences and technologies of learning.

The learning sciences is an emerging international and interdisciplinary field that brings together researchers from the fields of education, computer and information science, cognitive science and psychology, artificial intelligence, linguistics, sociology and anthropology to work on problems that are intellectually, economically, and socially central to life in the 21st century.

"In a world where computer technology is fast growing in sophistication, accessibility, and transportability, the opportunities to design learning and collaboration technologies that enhance teaching and learning are becoming increasingly important in international educational research and practice," Professor Jacobson says.

CoCo researchers aim to combine these emerging computer technologies with new knowledge about the learning process in order to develop more effective educational methods.

"At CoCo, we are interested in complex learning in a complex world, and we are researching how people can learn the things they need to know in the 21st century," Professor Jacobson explains.

Among CoCo's exciting projects is the development of computer modelling and virtual reality software that enable new ways of learning designed to help students understand challenging scientific knowledge in areas such as ecosystems and climate change.

"Learning is not just something that people do as children," Professor Jacobson says. "CoCo researchers work at all levels of the learning spectrum, from kids through higher education, and we are interested in developing ways for adults to benefit from life-long learning too."

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