A popular conference hosted by Hope College for educators has returned for an eighth year.

The annual "Midwest Brain and Learning Institute" is convening at the Haworth Inn and Conference Center at Hope on Monday-Friday, June 23-27. Co-sponsored by Hope and the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District, the institute is being attended by 125 educators from local school districts as well as Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, Ohio and Texas.

The institute is intended for educators who work with students of all age levels, including pre-school teachers, K-12 educators and college professors. The event is organized particularly with educators from West Michigan in mind but regularly draws attendees from throughout the state and beyond. This year's institute is focusing on "Technology and the New Brain."

The program's format itself has been designed in light of the research and emphasizes the guiding principle that learners must be actively involved. The institute's settings have been varied to include whole-group presentations, question-and-answer panels, small-group learning clubs and opportunities for informal discussion. Enrollment is capped at 125 in keeping with the organizers' goal of enabling all of the participants to be actively engaged.

Monday is focusing on system change in education. The keynote speaker is Alan November, co-founder of the Stanford University Institute for Educational Leadership through Technology.

Tuesday is examining neuroscience and learning. The keynote speaker is G. Christian Jernstedt, who is director of the Center for Educational Outcomes, an adjunct professor of community and family medicine, and a professor of psychological and brain sciences at Dartmouth College.

Wednesday is considering the diversity of learners from a biological perspective. The keynote speaker is David Ross, who is director of the Center for Applied Technology (CAST) and co-author of "Universal Design for Learning."

Thursday is exploring neuroscience implications for classroom practice. The keynote speaker is Marcia Tate, who is a consultant and author of "Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites!"

Additional presenters include Ronna Alexander, a local artist and graphic organizer who will graphically record all the presentations and events for the week; and Cindy Strunk, who is an educator from Waco, Texas, a National Board Certified Teacher and a Susan Kovalik Associate, who will provide opportunities to consider appropriate movement options that will enhance learning in the classroom and school.

The institute will conclude Friday morning with a session led by the institute's staff to help the participants determine ways that they can integrate the program's information into their own practice as educators.

More information about the institute may be obtained online at http://braininstitute.org/