Keynote speakers

Our keynote speakers will capture the essence of the conference topic "Changing Perspectives and Approaches in Contemporary Teaching"


Marilyn Cochran-Smith is the Cawthorne Professor of Teacher Education for Urban Schools and Director of the Ph.D. Program in Curriculum and Instruction at the Lynch School of Education, Boston College. A teacher education scholar and practitioner for more than 40 years, Professor Cochran-Smith is a frequent presenter nationally and internationally and is widely known for her work about teacher education research, practice and policy and for her sustained commitment to teacher education for social justice with inquiry as the centerpiece.

During the spring 2016 semester, Dr. Cochran-Smith lived in Auckland, New Zealand where she was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Auckland and worked with the Project RITE research team. In 2014, she received the Distinguished Scholar Lifetime Achievement Award from the Literacy Research Association (formerly the National Reading Conference), and she was named the 2014 Bjorn Christiansen Memorial Lecturer at the University of Bergen in Bergen, Norway. Dr. Cochran-Smith gave a keynote address at the 2014 annual meeting of the European Education Research Association (EERA) in Porto, Portugal, and the keynote address at the 2014 annual meeting of the Association of Teacher Educators in St. Louis, Missouri. She has also lectured recently in New Zealand, Sweden, England, Ireland, Israel, and Singapore as well as at many universities and professional associations inside the U.S. Dr. Cochran-Smith was President of AERA in 2004-2005 and Vice President of AERA for Division K (Teaching and Teacher Education) from 1998-2000. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Education, the Laureate chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, the international education honorary society, and a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association. From 2011-2015, she served as the first Chair of the National Academy of Education’s Professional Development Committee, which oversees the NAEd/Spencer Foundation dissertation and post-doctoral fellowship programs and is now an elected member of NAEd Board of Directors.
Dr. Cochran-Smith has written nine books, five of which have won national awards and recognitions, and more than 200 articles, chapters, handbook chapters, and editorials on teacher education research, practice and policy, social justice, and practitioner research. From 2000-2006, she was the editor of the Journal of Teacher Education. She and Susan Lytle are the founding co-editors of the Teachers College Press book series on Practitioner Inquiry, which now includes 50 books by practitioners or about practitioner research. Cochran-Smith began her educational career as a primary school teacher where she worked for 6 years as a third, fifth and sixth grade teacher. In 1975, she won her first professional award-- the Outstanding Young Educator Award for her school district.
For more information about Dr. Cochran-Smith, please click here.

Professor Jasminka Ledić, Ph.D. has been a full professor with tenure employed at the Department of Education at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Rijeka University since 1982.

She has published twelve scientific monographs and a number of research and professional papers in the area of education, individually or as a co-author. Her research interests are related to higher education, the European dimension in education, history of education and civil society.

She has led and participated in several research projects on the international and national level. She is currently head of the Croatian Science Foundation project: “Academic Profession Competencies Framework: Between New Requirements and Possibilities” (APROFRAME) as well as the project supported by the University of Rijeka: “The European Dimension in Education: Approaches and Challenges”. She was a Fulbright grant recipient and she won the Annual State Award “Ivan Filipović” for contribution to the development of higher education. She also received the Annual Award of the City of Rijeka for her contribution to the popularization of science as a member of the steering board of the association ''Zlatni rez''.

Branko Bognar, Associate Professor, was a primary school teacher for six years and a pedagogue in a primary school. In the role of a school pedagogue he tried to help teachers to introduce changes in order to break the boundaries of traditional teaching. In his teaching at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek, he uses Moodle – an online learning management system ( in which students can find various teaching and learning materials related to the courses he teaches. A particularly important activity is a discussion on the web forum which lasts for several weeks and fosters constructivist learning.

He led the scientific project “The Development of creativity in the lifelong education of teachers”. Within this project he was responsible for leading teachers – action researchers’ learning communities mostly by using Moodle system available at He also participated in the organisation of International conference “Creative approach to teachers' education” in Požega at the end of September 2009 (

Branko Bognar participated in the establishing of international Educational Journal of Living Theories and is a member of its editorial board. He is also a member of editorial boards of Croatian journal for philosophy of education “Metodički ogledi” and “Life and school”.

He cooperated with Pestalozzi Programme, which is the Council of Europe programme for professional development of teachers and education actors. Within this programme he led education for groups of teachers – action researchers by using an online platform ( This action research project gathered participants from nine European countries. One of the project outputs was the book Creating an online community of action researchers. "This book represents an example of a transformational enterprise in which several practitioners from different parts of Europe gather in the Pestalozzi Programme community of practice and set out to learn how to become action researchers. While many books focus on how to carry this out, this publication is action research in action. In addition, it features examples of how participants can use online social platforms and affordable web applications in their collaboration and learning practices." (Bognar & Mompoint-Gaillard, 2017)

His main professional interest is connected with introducing changes into educational practice whose aim is to break the boundaries of traditional teaching. Accordingly, he endeavours to promote the idea of action research in Croatian educational context and abroad particularly by using web-based technologies and e-learning. In addition, he puts emphasis on development of teachers’ and students’ creativity and creative approach to science.

Marilyn Cochran-Smith
Cawthorne Professor of Teacher Education and Director of the Ph.D. Program

Lynch School of Education, Boston College

Jasminka Ledić
Full Professor with tenure

Department of Education at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Rijeka

Branko Bognar
Associate Professor of Pedagogy

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, J. J. Strossmayer University of Osijek