Synthesis and Envisioning 2013

A gathering of NSF-funded cyberlearning projects to synthesize what is known and envision what could be accomplished by future cyberlearning efforts. The meeting, held June 26-27 in Arlington, VA, was supported by NSF grant IIS-1233722 and our reception sponsors NYSCI, The Concord Consortium, SRI, and EDC.

Archived webcasts and slides are available below.


Webcast recordings:

Slides from the Webcast presentations:

Slides from working group report outs:


Thematic Working Groups

  1. Deeply fostering student reasoning via high quality dynamic visual models, simulations, and immersive visual environments (Ballroom A)
  2. Reimagining school: How can cyberlearning research lead to transformations with solid grounding in learning theory? (Ballroom B)
  3. Supporting discourse, expression, argumentation, and other forms of collective knowledge building in cyberlearning environments (Hemingway 1)
  4. “Cyber Informal” – The cutting edge of informal learning: makers, mobile and more! (Hemingway 2)
  5. New, Big Data in Learning (Ballroom A)
  6. Engagement: Affiliate, interest, identity. Reach kids! (Ballroom B)

Big Idea CIRCLs (Wednesday)

  1. Embodied Cognition (Cythia Carter Ching)
  2. Equity Issues (Erica Halverson)
  3. Virtual Learning at National Scale (Beverly Woolf)
  4. CYDR: Cyberinfrastructure for Design Research (Sharon Derry, Alan Hackbarth)
  5. Gates Foundation – Studies, Funding, and More (Ed Dieterle)
  6. Creativity (Eric Hamilton)
  7. Open CIRCL Feedback: Tagging, Websites and More (Marianne Bakia)

Town Hall (Thursday 3-5 pm ET)

Tweet comments or suggestions using the #cyberlearning hashtag.

Evaluation (Thursday 5 pm ET or soon after)

Please complete the Post-Meeting Evalution Survey.

Virtual Participation

About 90 remote attendees participated by watching (and tweeting) the webcasts, or joined the Fireside Chat and Birds of a Feather Google Hangout sessions.


Webcast recordings:

Slides from the Webcast presentations:

Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts were used for discussion in the Fireside Chat and Birds of a Feather sessions. To learn more about Google Hangouts, see our short Google Hangout Guide.

Speed Networking (Wednesday 4-5 pm ET)

Spend 10 minutes meeting another person in a Google Hangout room, then change rooms and meet a new person! Registration for this activity is closed.

Fireside Chat (Thursday 11-12 pm ET)

Meet with an NSF program officer. Registration for this activity is closed.

Birds of a Feather (Thursday 12-1 pm ET)

Join a Google Hangout room to chat with others with similar interests. Registration for this activity is closed.

Inclusive design in online education (Clayton Lewis, University of Colorado Boulder). Because of the flexibility of machine representations, cyberlearning has enormous potential to create opportunities for people with disabilities. Design for inclusion often leads to creative insights, as well as being of value in itself, for example by pushing the development of new representations, such as sonified presentations of spatial information, that may have benefits for many learners. How can cyberlearning researchers develop these opportunities?

Policy implications of considering cyberlearning as a socio-technical system (Nora Sabelli and Britte Cheng, SRI International). The socio-technical perspective considers the technical and social conditions and drivers of learning. This discussion will explore how the goals of cyberlearning rely on dynamic inter-relationships between human and technical factors and how these relationships must then also be considered in policy contexts in order to achieve programmatic goals.

Learning in immersive environments (Chris Dede, Harvard University). Participants can decide the structure of the discussion: an overview of EcoMOBILE and EcoMUVE, a general discussion of immersion and learning, or both.

Agenda (Eastern Time Zone)

The Synthesis and Envisioning Meeting featured two tracks, summarized below. See also a more detailed agenda.


The face-to-face track (blue) focused on synthesis and envisioning of research on Cyberlearning themes selected by the participants. Using six hours of available working time, participants worked to develop a common understanding of the state of the art and envision what should happen in the next 3-5 years. Each group reported out on its accomplishments and also plan for collective work over the coming year.

The blended track (orange) included both face-to-face and virtual participants. Opening plenaries were webcast and provided essential information to all attendees. Interactive online events allowed people to meet each other. The Synthesis and Envisioning working groups reported out at the closing webcast, followed by a Town Hall meeting about the Cyberlearning community and discussion of next steps.

Hotel and Meeting Location

Westin Arlington Gateway
801 N. Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22203 Google Map
Nearest Metro: Ballston – MU (Orange Line), 0.4 km/0.3 miles

Nearby Restaurants

Some recommendations on Yelp:

More on Washington, D.C.


1. Who can attend this meeting?

NSF Cyberlearning project PIs and a few other invited participants, space allowing. Anyone can register for virtual sessions.

2. Who pays for and books travel?

This is a substitute for a PI meeting; hence each PI must pay for and book their own travel.

3. Can I attend part of the meeting?

This is a working meeting and we strongly encourage those who are coming to commit to the 2 full days. Virtual participation is available for those who cannot attend in person.

4. The conference hotel is full, what should I do?

Try other nearby hotels: Comfort Inn Ballston and Holiday Inn Arlington at Ballston.

5. How do I see the webcast?

Register for the virtual sessions and you will receive an email with instructions.

6. Google Hangouts isn’t working for me!

See our Google Hangouts guide.

7. What if I have a question before or during the event?

Email us. During the event we may not respond as quickly, but we will have staff checking email and will try to get back to you asap.