Is Our Children Learning #422

May 19, 2017

This week on science for the people, we're taking on the educational system. We'll be talking with Ulrich Boser about what people think they know about education. It turns out that education is a lot like driving: everyone thinks they're well above average in their knowledge, which means half of us are probably wrong. Then, we'll speak with education researcher Luis Leyva about how math education privileges some at the expense of others. We may not think about it, but the way we have always taught math leaves many people of color behind. Finally, we'll speak with cognitive neuroscientist Suzanne Dikker about taking neuroscience research out of the lab and into the classroom, where she shows that brains that are learning together look a lot alike.

This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.


  • Ulrich Boser
  • Luis Leyva
  • Suzanne Dikker
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Guest Bios

Ulrich Boser

Ulrich Boser is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and writes about education. He is the founding director of the Center's science of learning initiative. and the author of "Learn Better: Mastering the Skills for Success in Life, Business, and School, or, How to Become an Expert in Just About Anything".

Luis Leyva

Luis Leyva is an assistant professior in mathematics education in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Vanderbilt University. He became certified as a K-12 mathematics teacher in New Jersey and was recognized as a recipient of the 2011 Distinguished Student Teacher of Year Award by the New Jersey Department of Education. In addition to his teacher training, Leyva holds over six years of professional experience in higher education initiatives funded by the National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Education, including living-learning communities and summer bridge programs, designed to increase STEM retention and success among students underrepresented in terms of gender and race. He received a Ph.D. degree in mathematics education with a graduate certification in women's and gender studies from Rutgers University.

Suzanne Dikker

Suzanne Dikker is a cognitive neuroscientist at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Her research merges cognitive neuroscience, education, and performance art in an effort to understand the brain basis of human social interaction. Together with media artist Matthias Oostrik and other collaborators from both the sciences and the arts, she uses portable EEG (emotiv) in a series of crowd-sourcing neuroscience experiments / interactive brain installations that investigate the role of brainwave synchronization between two or more people in successful communication.