CIRCL Newsletter – Issue 18, May 2016


Computer Science for All has been in the national spotlight, and it is an area where Cyberlearning projects are making important contributions. Below we cast a spotlight on the PACT project and also celebrate Matthias Hauswirth, a Computer Science professor from Switzerland who has spent a year with the CIRCL team as an International Fellow at SRI’s Center for Technology in Learning (CTL). See also the new Evidence-Centered Design primer — an introduction to this important methodology for building assessments, which has been recently used in assessments of both computational thinking and science aligned to NGSS.

We also hope to see you at upcoming CIRCL events. You can participate virtually in CL’16 on June 5-6 and “attend” the Video Showcase May 17-23. We continue to produce a series of high quality webinars, and these are always archived for later viewing. Check out the recordings of the wonderful Partnering for Impact talk by David Dockterman as well as the Databrary webinar on storing research video. Finally, we invite you to visit the new @CIRCLEducators feed and blog, which reach out to practitioners on topics related to cyberlearning. If you work with a teacher who might be interested in sharing a perspective, please let us know.

Cyberlearning 2016: Updated Program, Webcast & Twitter

An updated program for Cyberlearning 2016: Designing for Deeper, Broader, and More Equitable Learning is available. (The event was rescheduled to June 5-6 due to the January blizzard.) Virtually all participants and sessions have been reconfirmed; thank you! The program for the June event will be the same as originally planned for January, with one additional, optional demo event on Day 2 (Monday): From 4:30-6 pm, invited posters and demos will be presenting in the NSF Atrium (the lobby of the NSF building at 42 Wilson Blvd). Attendance is open to all CL16 participants.

Please invite your colleagues and students to register for the webcast and join the twitter conversation using the hashtag #NSFCL16. We especially recommend checking out the four keynotes via webcast: Linda Chaput, Jim Shelton, Nichole Pinkard, and Peggy Weil. For more information, follow CIRCL on Twitter and Facebook, and check the Cyberlearning 2016 page.

New CIRCL Primers: Trends, ECD, and Smart & Connected Communities for Learning

CIRCL Primers are brief summaries of key topics in the field of cyberlearning, used to build capacity in the field and to give people a sense of cyberlearning’s main themes. CIRCL is pleased to announce three new primers contributed by members of the community:

Primers are developed by small teams of volunteers, and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Want to write or contribute to a primer? Learn how.

Featured Perspective: Meet Matthias Hauswirth

Matthias Hauswirth is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Informatics of the Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) in Lugano, a young research university in the Mediterranean, “most beautiful” part of Switzerland. Matthias spent the past 10 months as an International Fellow at the Center for Technology in Learning (CTL) at SRI International, working with the CIRCL, PACT and STEM+C ‘Thinking Outside the Box’ teams. He has developed tools and technologies to support learning and teaching, including a student-built and operated interactive science center, dubbed a “Pop-up Exploratorium” by a CTL colleague.

Matthias Hauswirth

Tell us more about the “Pop-up Exploratorium”!

This was a 3-day informal learning event to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of our Faculty of Informatics. Originally, the idea was to do a few public lectures. But, inspired by my visits to places like the Exploratorium, The Tech Museum of Innovation, and the i-factory at the Swiss Museum of Transportation, I pushed my colleagues to do something bigger – something to really encourage the next generation to go into informatics and help adults in the community understand what was going on at our university. Read more of Matthias’s perspective.

Project Spotlight: Principled Assessment of Computational Thinking

An interview with Marie Bienkowski, computer scientist and deputy director of SRI International’s Center for Technology in Learning (CTL), about the applying evidence centered design (ECD) to create assessments that support valid inferences about computational thinking practices.

PACT Project

What is the big idea of your project work?

Our work focuses on a principled approach to designing assessment tasks that can generate valid evidence of students’ abilities to think computationally. Assessing computational thinking broadly is a long-term goal, but for practical reasons, we’ve begun by assessing computational thinking instantiated in a particular course, Exploring Computer Science (ECS). What is unique about ECS is that it has a focus on creating equal access to computing for students who are traditionally underrepresented in the computing workforce. Learn more about PACT.

NSF Opportunities: Cyberlearning INT, US Ignite, SL+, CS for All, Disabilities Education, Presidential Awards

Letters of Intent for NSF Cyberlearning Integration (INT) Projects are due May 9.

NSF invites proposals for the US Ignite: Networking Research and Application Prototypes Leading to Smart & Connected Communities solicitation. Proposal deadline: June 14.

NSF Science Learning+ is an open call for proposals for Partnership Grants through an international funding mechanism. The aims of SL+ are to strengthen the research and knowledge base; bridge the practice and research gap; and/or share knowledge and experience in informal STEM experiences. Proposals due June 14.

Proposals related to the NSF DCL: Computer Science for All can still be submitted as EAGERs, Supplements, and to other programs including DRK-12, ITEST, Cyberlearning, and CORE.

A new NSF DCL on research in disabilities education invites proposals focused explicitly on advancing knowledge about STEM teaching and learning, and workforce development, for individuals with disabilities, such as dyslexia or autism. Proposals are due September 8.

NSF is recruiting nominations for the 2017 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. Nomination deadline is June 17.

Opportunities: Video Showcase, Speech Workshop, LearnLab & More

Video Showcase

On May 17-23, more than 150 projects will showcase 3-minute videos of their innovative work broadening participation and access to STEM in the 2016 VIdeo Showcase. We invite you to view the videos and to interact with each of the presenters online.

A workshop on the use of speech technology in education research will be held in DC on June 4 (between the DRK-12 PI meeting and CL’16), hosted by Chad Dorsey (The Concord Consortium) and Cynthia D’Angelo (SRI) as part of a NSF Cyberlearning CAP grant. There are also possibilities for virtual participation during and after the workshop. Apply to participate.

Simon Initiative’s LearnLab Summer School will be held July 11-15, 2016 at Carnegie Mellon University. This is an intensive 1-week course focused on creating technology-enhanced learning experiments and building intelligent tutoring systems. Application deadline: May 15.

The third Learning with MOOCs conference will be held at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA, on October 6-7, 2016. Abstracts are due May 15.

Share your work on mobile learning in a new edited book Mobile Learning: Perspectives on Practice and Policy. Abstracts for book chapters are due May 15.

Job Openings

The College of Education’s Department of Teacher Education and Learning Sciences (TELS) at North Carolina State University invites applications for a Teaching Assistant Professor of Digital Learning & Teaching (DL&T). Screening of applications has begun; apply soon.

Resource & Tech Corner: CIRCL Educators, Manylabs, CODAP, & More

CIRCLEducators is a blog that reaches out to practitioners on topics related to cyberlearning. It was started by Einstein Fellow Natalie Harr and continued by Mary Patterson during her Einstein Fellowship. Judi Fusco (of CIRCL) has begun writing for the blog, and is recruiting practitioners to be interviewed or to write about relevant topics. if you work with a teacher who might be interested in sharing his or her perspective, please let us know. Follow @CIRCLEducators and share with interested teachers!


Manylabs is an open science skunkworks that makes and support open tools for science and education and provides space for a network of passionate inventors to realize their ideas. Learn more about how they combine making, writing, STEM, and collaborative learning to create a low-cost approach to STEAM-learning: 21st Century Notebooking, an open platform for learning.

The Common Online Data Analysis Platform (CODAP) has launched a new Twitter feed @CODAPDataSci. Follow for regular updates and to stay in touch with the CODAP community.

Through My Window

Through My Window is a free engineering curriculum for grades 4-8 that integrates STEM and literacy. Three flexible components can be combined in different ways to fit a wide range of informal ed settings: a young adult STEM mystery novel Talk to Me, interactive online learning adventures (modules) about engineering topics, and a teachers’ curriculum guide. Through My Window is looking for new partnerships. Email Outreach Coordinator Isabel Huff ( for questions about the curriculum, free customized lesson plans for your programs, bulk paperback book discounts (the book can also be read free online), free professional development offerings, or information about implementation stipends. provides a searchable catalog of federally supported citizen science projects, a toolkit to assist with designing and maintaining projects, and a gateway to a federal community of practice to share best practices.

TalkBank provides a suite of transcription, coding, and annotation tools for video analysis and sharing of video data. TalkBank is an alternative approach to Databrary, which was recently highlighted in a CIRCL Webinar.

Books & Publications

Have a recent publication or article about your cyberlearning project, or that you think the community should know about? Let us know and we’ll announce it here!

The Maker Movement in K-12 Education: A Guide to Emerging Research (2016), by Benjamin Herold, features work by several cyberlearning researchers.

Connected Science Learning is a new online journal by NSTA and ASTC for STEM educators that bridges in-school and out-of-school STEM learning and showcases highly effective programs, practices, collaborations, and research taking place between these two learning communities.

Teacher Learning in the Digital Age: Online Professional Development in STEM Education, edited by Chris Dede, Arthur Eisenkraft, Kim Frumin, and Alex Hartley (2016), examines exemplary models of online and blended teacher professional development.

Share Your News

Have some news (project highlights, publications, job opportunities, etc.) that you want to share? Contact CIRCL.

CIRCL is supported by NSF grants IIS-1233722, IIS-1441631, and IIS-1556486. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.