Smart and Connected Communities for Learning:
A Cyberlearning Innovation Lab

May 2-6, 2016
Menlo Park, California

See the CIRCL Primer: Smart and Connected Communities for Learning that was refined during this workshop.

The Center for Innovative Research in Cyberlearning along with KnowInnovation will host a weeklong workshop to catalyze research concepts and partnerships to advance how technology can foster lifelong, lifewide learning across settings in communities. The application due date has been extended to March 1, 2016. Travel expenses will be reimbursed for accepted participants.

The overall goal for this workshop is to stimulate research and development of Smart and Connected Communities for Learning (see CIRCL Primer on SCCL). A successful smart and connected community for learning would demonstrate marked improvement in (a) participants’ awareness of opportunities in their locale for learning, (b) their ability to engage in and sustain related learning experiences in particular settings and across multiple places, and (c) their experience of their community as interconnected in support of learning.

Approximately 25-30 workshop invitees will be selected via an open application process, together representing a diversity of expertise and perspectives in computing, learning, and leading community programs. Attendees are expected to be early- and mid-career researchers with strong capabilities to form new teams to engage in this emerging area (senior researchers may serve as mentors). KnowInnovation will facilitate a creative, free-thinking environment where participants will immerse themselves in a collaborative process around important, complex ideas. The process involves identifying new challenges, discovering and developing breakthrough ideas, and building multidisciplinary teams. Multiple teams are expected to go on to apply to existing NSF competitions for early stage grants, such as Cyberlearning Capacity-building grants, EAGER grants, or Exploratory (EXP) grants, or to other NSF programs as appropriate. Approximately 6 invited mentors will guide the workshop participants, along with an expert facilitation team and selected provocateurs.

Key challenges to be addressed at the workshop will include:

  • How to design for community-scale learning using emerging technology affordances?
  • How to connect learning across settings while leveraging the context in each setting?
  • How to measure and reward learning for individuals, groups, and communities?
  • How to use data to continuously improve smart and connected learning communities?
  • How might institutions of knowledge, places for learning, and the roles of mentors develop and evolve within connected learning communities?
  • What new research about learning becomes possible in smart and connected learning communities?

To address these challenges, the workshop will seek to include workshop participants who have a strength in one of three areas and who are open to engaging with experts in the other two areas. The three areas are:

  • Advances in computation, communications, and infrastructure: Expertise in this area might include context aware computing, community informatics, computer-supported collaborative work, internet of things, big data and data fusion, augmented reality.
  • Advances in learning sciences: Expertise in this area might include situated and social learning, embodied cognition, place-based education, identity development and learning trajectories, computer supported collaborative learning, interest-driven learning, personalization.
  • Advances in related disciplines: Expertise in this area might include engineering of cyberphysical systems, urban planning, community development, youth development, participatory design, sociotechnical systems research, urban/rural studies, organizational science, economics.

Related Resources

CIRCL Primer: Smart and Connected Communities for Learning

CIRCL Webinar on Connected Learning with Mimi Ito (March 3, 2016)

NSF Press Release (Sept 2015): Cultivating smart and connected communities.

NSF DCL (for supplements to existing grants, due March 2016): Supporting Research Advances in Smart and Connected Communities to stimulate research and new technologies to enable more livable, workable, sustainable, and connected communities.

A new report, Accelerating Science: A Computing Research Agenda by Honavar, Hill, and Yelick (2016) seeks to articulate a research agenda for developing cognitive tools and leveraging big data to augment human intellect and enable new modes of discovery — and may inspire some interesting ways to think about smart and connected communities of learners.

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