As a learning scientist with a focus on cognitive neuroscience, at the University of Washington College of Education LIFE Center (Learning in Informal and Formal Environments), my work is essentially a drive to connect neuroscience with teaching and learning.
As new knowledge and connections are made at the bio-molecular level in brain labs, and as research results emerge from FMRI and other scanning devices, my work is to translate important findings into teaching and learning platforms and to invent applications in classrooms, workplaces, and homes. This work explores settings and processes that are aligned with pedagogical, brain-enabled methodologies, which I believe are instrumental in fostering deep understanding, prolonged engagement, and collaborative outcomes that foster human development.
The challenge is to align what we know and other emergent findings in neuroscience as they pertain to learning with modern teaching and learning settings that include personalized learning demands as well as LMS and other delivery mechanisms. In my lab, we explore enriched experiences that can change learning trajectories and outcomes for individuals in environments that embody challenging resources for social mediation, mentoring, reverse-mentoring, and assorted implementations in real-world scenarios. Other research interests involve socio-cultural perspectives on cognition, learning, graphical and visuo-spatial representation, and use of technology in formal and informal learning environments.
I explore diffusion of innovations systemically across multiple learning environments and stakeholder communities. In particular, I am interested in teacher/learner interaction in various settings, including multi-dimensional design-based implementation research (DBIR) in workplaces and academic institutions.
In particular, my work investigates impacts of co-constructed methodologies in settings that are a mix of informal sites as well as traditional (but evolved) classrooms. I welcome longitudinal research projects for teacher professional development in informal learning environments and blended arenas (MOOCs and SPOCs) that impact student performance and engagement. I look at questions involving fluency in geo-literacy and deep understanding pertaining to consequential everyday issues and ‘sense of place.’ For this research I examine prevailing western worldviews of science that are constructed and derivative of Cartesian principles and philosophic underpinnings and compare them with other worldviews that take native and aboriginal account of the many ways we view our relationship with the planet and with each other.
I was born in Ireland, taught school at all three levels there until I emigrated to the United States in the early 80’s to pursue higher degrees. I worked in the confluence of software and learning systems in companies like Microsoft, Borland, Wall Data, GTE, and Boeing. A solid grounding in mainframes introduced me to the complexities and power of computing for learning systems and artificial intelligence.
Today, I create software systems for learning environments that include k-12, workplace (Industrial) and theoretical (Academic Institutions). I live happily in Seattle where I have schooled four children (two Irish and two American). I like to climb high on Mt. Rainier, sail in the Puget Sound and read in the many coffee shops in my favorite city.
To learn more about Timothy Kieran O'Mahony and his work, visit: www.neuroteachers.org
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