CIRCL Newsletter – Issue 21, November 2016

CIRCL News: NSF Update on Cyberlearning

We invite you to help shape the future of cyberlearning research. Earlier in November, we shared this important update — please take a moment to read it if you have not already. Some of you have written us with compelling testimony to the value of cyberlearning research. Additional thoughts would be very welcome (send to Jeremy), especially if we can share with NSF. You also can send constructive thoughts directly to Amy Baylor and Tanya Korelsky. Consider: What has been uniquely valuable about cyberlearning grants and this community to advancing your research and/or training your graduate students? What kinds of advances are uniquely enabled by cyberlearning? Why could they not easily be funded by other long-standing programs? How has CIRCL helped you and the research community to advance? Sending thoughts in December or early January leaves time for these thoughts to contribute to ongoing discussions at NSF.

In addition, we invite you to register for the NSF Update on Cyberlearning Webinar on December 7 from 3-4 ET or December 9 from 2-3 ET. These webinars will be similar; they will discuss the new cyberlearning solicitation due February 10 and provide an opportunity to discuss Cyberlearning at NSF more broadly.

The call for participation for the Cyberlearning 2017 will be available in early December and you will receive an email as soon as it is available. Or keep an eye on CIRCL’s page for CL17.

Finally, please don’t stop reading here! There is an amazing wealth of cyberlearning updates, opportunities and information below. You can learn even more by exploring the new project search feature on our website.

Webinars: NSF Update on Cyberlearning, Introduce Your CAP Work

NSF Update on Cyberlearning Webinar. Join CIRCL for a webinar on updates about Cyberlearning, hosted by Jeremy Roschelle and featuring NSF leaders. The webinar will be offered on December 7 and repeated on December 9 so you can attend either session. Register for the NSF Update on Cyberlearning Webinar on December 7 from 3-4 ET or December 9 from 2-3 ET.

CAP Webinars. Do you have a capacity building (CAP) research/workshop grant? If so, please let CIRCL know if you would be interested in presenting on a webinar to introduce the community to your work. A webinar could benefit you in several ways, for example by i) raising awareness of your project with the community; ii) soliciting community input on specific aspects of the work; iii) engaging potential collaborators that might extend the reach and impact of the project; or iv) recruiting participants to any planned workshops or project events. Contact CIRCL with information about your CAP today.

Recordings of November webinars are now available:

CIRCL and NSF Host Active Learning and Next Generation STEM High School Events for Presidential Awardee Teachers

Active Learning Day event

In September, CIRCL and NSF hosted two large events in DC: a symposium on Active Learning in STEM Education and a forum on Next Generation STEM High Schools. The events — which engaged the most recent group of 213 K-12 teachers to receive the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and more than 70 leading education scholars and researchers – were designed to give participants the opportunity to share best practices around STEM learning, explore new ways to encourage students to engage and envision themselves as STEM professionals, and advance the dialogue on what could – and should – constitute the next generation teaching and learning environment in our nation’s schools. U.S. CTO Megan Smith spoke about how we need to work together to instill confidence in students to pursue STEM, SRI’s Barbara Means shared research showing that inclusive STEM high schools have enough duration and intensity to change student goals and self-perception, and keynote speaker Bill Penuel discussed ways to organize active learning in our schools and communities. Summaries of the sessions are available on the event web sites (see slides and videos under “Materials”), and in a White House Blog.

Featured Perspective: Meet Erica Halverson

Meet Erica Halverson

Erica Halverson is an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the School of Education.

How did you get started in cyberlearning?

My background is in the arts and learning. I got my PhD in Learning Sciences, but my disciplinary focus had been applying insights and questions in the learning sciences to a range of art making disciplines. My original art form was live theatre, but through my involvement in a MacArthur Foundation Grant I had the opportunity to study digital media art production, which is how I became interested in technology. Young people who produce live theater understand, cognitively and socioculturally, how to create representations of self. I’ve tried to apply that process towards other forms of learning in the arts. Subsequently, I got the opportunity to translate that into digital art and look at affordances of digital art making (filmmaking, radio) with a focus on the representational tools that digital art making affords. Read more of Erica’s perspective.

Funding Opportunities from NSF, White House, & Dept of Ed

The new NSF Cyberlearning and Future Learning Technologies solicitation invites new Exploration (EXP) proposals to integrate opportunities offered by emerging technologies with advances in what is known about how people learn. Full proposal deadline: February 10, 2017.

The NSF Smart & Connected Communities (S&CC) solicitation invites research and capacity-building activities that will integrate multiple disciplinary perspectives and enable meaningful community engagement. The solicitation is oriented to engineers and computer scientists, so learning-oriented proposals might need a strong partnership with those groups. Preliminary Proposal Deadline (only required for Integrative Research Grants Track 1 and Track 2): November 30, 2016; Full Proposal Deadline: February 16, 2017.

The White House is expanding its Smart Cities Initiative, with over $80 million in new Federal investments and a doubling of the number of participating cities and communities, exceeding 70 in total. These new investments and collaborations will help cities of all sizes in key areas including climate, transportation, public safety, and city services.

U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Announces its FY 2017 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program Solicitation for research, development, and evaluation of commercially viable education technology products. Phase I proposals due January 5, 2017.

EDSim Challenge: The U.S. Department of Education invites concepts for immersive simulations that transfer academic, technical, and employability skills. Successful simulations will pair the engagement of commercial games with rigorous educational content to prepare students for the 21st century workforce. Submission deadline: January 17, 2016.

Conferences, Symposia, & Calls for Papers

Join the Data Science Education Technology Conference in Berkeley, CA on February 15-17, 2017 to connect, innovate, and discover ways to help students be ready for data science in the future. Space is limited; register now to guarantee a spot.

The 5th European MOOCs Stakeholder Symposium, EMOOCs 2017, will take place May 22-26, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. The conference will be co-located with the OPENedX conference. Deadline for paper submissions for the Research and Experience Tracks and for proposing Workshops is January 16, 2017.

The 2nd International Conference on Smart Learning Ecosystems and Regional Development will be held June 22-23, 2017 at the University of Aveiro, Portugal. Submission deadline: February 24, 2017.

Register for Town Hall with Peter Norvig on A.I., Machine Learning, and More, an ACM Learning Webinar on December 8 at 12 pm ET by Peter Norvig, ACM Fellow and Director of Research at Google. If you can’t attend, register anyway to receive a recording of the webinar when it becomes available.

Call for Chapter Proposals: Participatory Methodologies to Elevate Children’s Voice and Agency. This volume of the Research in Global Child Advocacy Series will explore participatory methodologies and tools that involve children in research. Proposals due January 30, 2017.

Call for Papers: Learning at Scale: What Works & Lessons Learned, a special issue of the International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education on rigorous research on methodologies, studies, analyses, tools, pedagogies, or technologies for learning at scale. Proposals due December 11.

Call for Papers: ACM Transactions on Social Computing (TSC) seeks to publish work that covers the full spectrum of social computing including theoretical, empirical, systems, and design research contributions.

Call for Chapters: Handbook of Research in Educational Communications and Technology. For this 5th edition of the Handbook, both research chapters and design case chapters are invited. Proposals due January 15, 2017.

The AccessCyberlearning Knowledge Base contains hundreds of articles on topics such as accessibility of technology, college, graduate school, and careers for individuals with disabilities. New Case Studies, Promising Practices, and Q&As are invited. Interested in writing an article for the Knowledge Base? Contact

Jobs & Expertise Opportunities

NSF’s Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR), Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL), announces a nationwide search for temporary program directors with expertise at the intersections between computer science and research on STEM. Formal consideration of applications will begin on November 15, 2016 and will continue until a selection is made.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison invites applications for Assistant Professor Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, or Mathematics (STEAM) Education in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction to highlight the growing interdisciplinary work among researchers in education who focus on these areas of teaching and learning.

The School of Education (SOE) at the University of California, Davis invites applications for a position at the rank of assistant professor in the area of technology and learning, specifically Digital Technology and Educational Change.

UC San Diego has multiple design-related faculty positions this year, including:

Northeastern University invites applications for Director – Research Institute for Experiential Learning Science to work with the Assistant Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning to establish The Research Institute for Experiential Learning (RIELS).

The Concord Consortium is looking for a Senior Research Scientist in Education Technology with a strong science background and experience as a project director or principal investigator, among other open staff positions.

The Department of Learning Technologies at the University of North Texas targets a “high impact hiring” of an Assistant or Associate Professor with a strong research and publication record. Interested candidates can email

The European Commission appoints independent experts to assist with research and innovation assignments including the evaluation of proposals, monitoring of projects, and evaluation of programmes, and design of policy. Members of the cyberlearning community are invited to register as an independent expert to be potentially hired by the Commission to evaluate project proposals or review ongoing projects.

The International Journal of Designs for Learning (IJDL) seeks volunteer reviewers to assist with the review of paper submissions for the current special issue entitled, “Makerspace Design Cases.” If you are interested in reviewing, contact Randa Fathy at

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

Horizon Report 2016

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and the New Media Consortium (NMC) have partnered again this year to produce the Horizon Report > 2016 K-12 Edition and Toolkit to help education leaders and practitioners develop future-focused digital strategies and learning approaches. The report features key trends that are accelerating educational technology adoption in classrooms, challenges that prevent schools from adopting edtech, and significant developments in the space.

The Research-Practice Partnership (RPP) toolkit is a collection of tools, examples and readings curated by the Research + Practice Collaboratory to support educators and researchers working together to build effective and sustainable long-term collaborations. The toolkit contains resources to improve teaching and learning in both formal and informal educational organizations.


The Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE) has released the CAISE Guide to Resources for Broadening Participation in STEM, which provides a list of NSF-funded projects, reports, professional organizations, and more that can serve as starting points for reviewing previous related work during the proposal development process. CAISE has also received a new 5-year award from NSF to serve as a resource center for informal STEM education and to explore common challenges and potential synergies with the expanding field of science communication.

The ERGO Database, funded by NSF grant DRL #1222359, promotes research and collaboration around the topic of teachers’ understanding and use of curriculum materials, particularly in mathematics classrooms, that addresses the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM). If you are interested in accessing the data from this project, complete a brief survey about your research.

AdvanceED Report

AdvancED, an accreditation agency for K12 in the US. has released a report on The Paradox of Classroom Technology: Despite Proliferation and Access, Students Not Using Technology for Learning. Based on observational data from more than 140,000 classrooms, their evaluators found 63% of classrooms showed no evidence of using technology to conduct research, solve problems, or create original work. The data was gathered using an instrument called Effective Learning Environments Observation Tool (eleot), a mobile and desktop app for recording classroom observations, online or offline.

A Platform for Social Microlearning that motivates students to create and share learning activities won the best demo award at EC-TEL 2016 in France last month.

STEM Course

A new online course in FrameWorks Academy – an online platform for multimedia classes in strategic framing–offers strategies to build public support for expanding STEM learning. The course, Making the Case for STEM Learning, is available for a limited time at no cost, thanks to the sponsorship of the Afterschool Alliance and funding from the Noyce Foundation.

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!

Online Mathematics Homework Increases Student Achievement by Jeremy Roschelle, Mingyu Feng, Robert F. Murphy, and Craig A. Mason (2016), reports on a rigorous efficacy study that shows an online mathematics homework program in ASSISTments increases student achievement.

Exploring the Relationship of Ethics and Privacy in Learning Analytics and Design: Implications for the Field of Educational Technology (2016); Guest Editors: Dirk Ifenthaler and Monica W. Tracey. The special issue gathers diverse perspectives and examples on ethics and privacy linked to learning analytics and learning design and expands the current understanding of how educational data will influence higher education institutions in the future.

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.