CIRCL Newsletter – Issue 20, September 2016

CIRCL News: Cyberlearning 2017 April 18-19 in Arlington, VA

Please hold the date for Cyberlearning 2017, to be held April 18-19, 2017 in Arlington, Virginia. A call for participation will be issued in November. We are looking for community members to join the program committee and help to shape another high impact meeting. Write to to indicate interest.

The high impact of CIRCL Cyberlearning continues. Recently, Janice Gobert presented during the Democratic National Convention. Also, we are working with NSF and the White House on bringing “active learning” (which includes cyberlearning) into events (including a symposium and forum) that will honor over 200 teachers who are receiving Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. And while we’re on the topic of teachers, a big “thank you” to Sarah Costello and Erik Kellner who contributed so much to CIRCL over the summer.

As you begin to think about fall proposals, here’s some food for thought:

CIRCL Workshops on Developing NSF Cyberlearning Proposals

As part of our broadening participation effort, CIRCL will be co-hosting a second series of informational workshops on developing NSF Cyberlearning proposals. Like the 2015 workshops, the series will target participants who have had no prior CFLT funding. This year’s goal is to conduct these workshops at Minority Serving Institutions and to co-host the workshops with their Computer Science or Learning Sciences Department. We are seeking your input on what institutions might be good partners for these events. Please complete a brief form to provide your input/suggestions. Questions? Contact Melody Hachey at

Featured Perspective: Meet Ruth Kermish-Allen

Ruth Kermish-Allen

Ruth is the Executive Director of the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance (MMSA). She served as the Conservation Psychology Fellow and a faculty member for the Conservation Psychology Institute at Antioch University New England. Before that she was the Director of Education at the Island Institute in Rockland, ME and a high school science and math teacher.

How did you get started in cyberlearning?

Over the past 10 years I have been fascinated by the role that technology can play in helping kids connect to the outdoors and to their environment. I come from an environmental and science education background. I actually started my career with an aversion to technology because I had wanted to connect kids to the natural world, and give them the chance to feel that they can really impact change. However, I began to see the role that technology could play: giving them a leg up, giving them something potentially that adults don’t have. I began to experiment with what kinds of technologies are out there that could potentially better connect kids to the natural world. I also wanted to give them a sense of empowerment as well. Read more of Ruth’s perspective.

Project Spotlight: The Invention Coach

An interview with Catherine Chase, Assistant Professor of Human Development at Teachers College, Columbia University. Dr. Chase studies how exploratory learning activities impact student learning, transfer, and motivation, largely in the context of STEM education.

The Invention Coach

What’s the big idea of your project?

How do we we help students transfer, in a flexible, adaptive way, what they are learning in school to novel contexts and situations? Our project focuses on transfer of concepts at the intersection of math and science, and one thing that we’ve found to be very successful at promoting this type of transfer is a method we call “invention” (Schwartz et al., 2011).

Invention is an exploratory task where students engage in inventing conceptual ideas through an exploration of data, often contrasting cases. Contrasting cases are examples that have many similarities but a few key differences that relate to deep principles and conceptual ideas. By contrasting the cases, students come to notice features that are important to understanding, but may not be obvious to novice learners. Read more about the Invention Coach.

Opportunities: NSF, NAEd/Spencer, Conferences, Calls, & More

Through the NSF Dear Colleague Letter: Exploring Mechanisms to Enhance the Economic and Societal Impacts of Fundamental Advances in Information and Communications Technologies, CISE and SBE invite principal investigators to submit proposals for community workshops and EArlyConcept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) that will explore one of the different approaches outlined above to promote the definition, development, rigorous evaluation and adoption of ICT-enabled solutions to societal challenges.

The Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship (AEF) Program is now accepting applications for the 2017-2018 Fellowship Year. Applications are due November 17.

The seventh annual SXSWedu will return to Austin March 6-9, 2017 for four days of sessions, in-depth workshops, engaging learning experiences, mentorship, film screenings, startup events, policy-centered discussions, business opportunities, networking and more.

Learning Analytics & Knowledge 2017 (LAK17) will be held March 13-17, 2017 at Simon Fraser University. Main submission deadline: October 17. Poster/Tech Showcase deadline: December 2.

Learning at Scale 2017 will be held April 20-21, 2017 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA. Full papers are due October 25.

Interaction Design and Children 2017 (IDC 2017) will be held June 27-30, 2017, at Stanford University. Deadline for submissions: January 1, 2017.

The NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship Program seeks to encourage a new generation of scholars from a wide range of disciplines and professional fields to undertake research relevant to the improvement of education. Deadline to apply for the 2017 program: October 6.

The NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship Program supports early-career scholars working in critical areas of educational scholarship .Deadline to apply for the 2017 program: November 3.

The Intentional Play Summit on October 7 in Mountain View, CA explores how we can better leverage that gameplay to teach and motivate. Learn more and buy a ticket to attend.

Call for Papers: Special Issue on Makerspace Design Cases. While lists of equipment and supplies for makerspaces are readily available to those seeking to develop a makerspace, resources documenting the design of a makerspace, the philosophy that informed the design, or the programs implemented within a makerspace are considerably less plentiful. This special issue of makerspace design cases is intended to fill that void. Deadline: October 3.

Call for Papers: Special Issue of Springer’s Information Retrieval Journal: Search As Learning. This special issues aims to provide a forum for researchers who explore the role of search in the learning process to examine challenging research questions, showcase the state-of-the-art and share breakthroughs. Deadline: October 15.

Call for Submissions: Science Communication and Broad Societal Change. This special issue focuses on the role of science communication in bringing about changes in society. Submissions due November 1.

Job Openings

Utah State University invites applications for a tenure-track position in Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences. All relevant specialization areas are welcome. Individuals who bring scholarly and applied expertise in the areas of learning technologies and instructional design with direct experience in design and development are especially encouraged to apply. Deadline: September 5.

The Department of Education of the City of New York (NYCDOE) seeks a Director of Research and Evaluation of Computer Science Education to implement and support the rollout of CS4All New York City. Application Deadline: November 9.

New Cyberlearning Awards

A sample of new projects with a cyberlearning theme funded by the NSF Cyberlearning program and programs across NSF.

Recent NSF Cyberlearning awards:

Recent cyberlearning-themed awards across NSF:

Resource & Tech Corner

Videos from Learning@Scale 2016 are now available online.

CIRCL has a new page on accessibility resources for making cyberlearning technology and pedagogy accessible to students and instructors with disabilities, recommended by AccessCyberlearning.

The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine have released a new report entitled Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. The report examines the ways in which universities and industries can collaborate to strengthen local STEM workforces, through strategies such as higher quality course offerings, lab activities, work-based learning programs, and more.


Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups by the IES’s National Center for Education Statistics has released a report and videos about key indicators of educational progress and challenges students face in the United States by race/ethnicity. These indicators summarize the latest racial/ethnic data as well as trends on topics such as demographics; preprimary, elementary, and secondary participation; student achievement; student behaviors and persistence in education, postsecondary education, and outcomes of education.

The Learning Scientists web site aims to make scientific research on learning more accessible to students, teachers, and other educators. Check out their blog.

A sample of interesting resources and tools from last month’s Games, Learning and Society conference in Madison include Twine, which allows people to create non-linear stories without programming;, a site that uses simulation-based mini games for teaching science; Teachers Knows Best, a Gates funded effort to hear from teachers about ed tech; Gamesparks: a tool for game developers; and Twitch, which allows gamers to broadcast their gaming and chat in real time while playing.

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.