CIRCL Newsletter – Issue 3, January 2014


Please consider joining us for two important gatherings. First, the Partnering for Impact Workshop will bring together Cyberlearning investigators and energetic, open-minded participants in the ed tech industry, along with some exemplary educators, to consider the best pathways to greater market impacts from Cyberlearning projects. Second, the 2014 Cyberlearning Summit meeting will feature important advances in Cyberlearning research that are ready to share with a broader audience. In addition, the new Cyberlearning program solicitation is now available, and the White House is seeking input on learning technologies. More information on each of these opportunities is available below.

NSF “Cyberlearning and Future Learning Technologies” Program Solicitation

The new Cyberlearning program solicitation is now available. The new program name, Cyberlearning and Future Learning Technologies, reflects the program’s aims: learning how to design and effectively use the learning technologies of the future (Future Learning Technologies) and understanding processes involved in learning when learners can have experiences that only technology allows (Cyberlearning). Note that proposals are expected to address three new interconnected thrusts (see the Solicitation), a Collaboration and Management Plan is required in all proposals, and projects are now required to have an advisory board.

CIRCL provides a brokering service that can connect proposal leads to potential collaborators that would increase the strength of their team. Contact CIRCL for more information.

2014 Cyberlearning Summit: Call for Participation and Speaker Nominations

The Call for Participation and Speaker Nominations is now available for the 2014 Cyberlearning Summit, June 9-10 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The premier Summit held in January 2012 featuring talks on “big ideas” was highly recognized, and the archived videos of presentations continue to be widely used.

Apply to attend and nominate speakers you think could represent the field of cyberlearning well.

2014 Partnering for Impact Meeting: Apply to Attend

At our first Partnering for Impact Workshop, scheduled for March 26 and 27th at SRI International in Menlo Park, members of the NSF Cyberlearning community and Industry representatives will convene to envision new ways for learning research to impact products for learning so that more of our work can make it into the hands of learners and teachers. The workshop will explore topics like adapting work so insights can be available sooner and be more useable by industry, how entrepreneurs might incorporate cutting-edge research to improve their products and services, how educators could participate in co-design to make more relevant products for their needs, and how funding agencies might help to encourage a healthier innovation ecosystem in educational research.

If you’re interested in applying to attend the meeting, please read the Call for Participation and then fill out the application form.

White House Seeks Input on Learning Technologies

CIRCL would be pleased to facilitate efforts of Cyberlearning investigators who would like to collectively respond to this request from the Office of Science and Technology Policy to identify public and private actions that have the potential to accelerate the development, evaluation, and adoption of high-impact learning technologies. The request is to identify the learning outcomes that would be good candidates for this initiative and to elaborate on how these could be addressed and evaluated. Comments are due March 7. Contact CIRCL if you’d like to join a team to synthesize insights to increase impact by working with like minded others.

Featured Perspective: Meet Michelle Williams

What is unique about your work?

Our goal is to increase competency in genetics, K-9 — in comparison, most of the research has been in high school and up. Rather than starting from scratch, we’re integrating the best of what’s available in the Learning Sciences into powerful curriculum modules, each targeted at NGSS standards in particular grade levels. For example, in 5th grade, we incorporated just two aspects of a breakthrough gaming environment from Concord Consortium within the WISE Environment from Berkeley. We’ve coupled this with a driving question, “Why do plants of the same species vary in how they look?” Students explore the driving question by crossing plants. As they gain experience, we also layer in the capability within WISE to engage students in data analysis. And throughout, we’ve partnered with SRI International to design embedded assessments (including animations and simulations): students are using explanation-builder so that as they gather evidence, they can show their reasoning. So we’re pulling it all together to increase access to genetics much earlier than high school.

Why is it important to start learning genetics early?

By high school, really, even by middle school, most students have decided what careers they are interested in — and too few are choosing science-related careers. Genetics is a critically important topic both in modern science and in everyday life. In our program, 7th grade students have to figure out how to solve a hunger crisis by developing an ideal species of rice. Students are learning the mechanisms of genetics and seeing how solving scientific problems can link to their personal passions, which might be in the lab, in caring for the environment, in addressing challenges in society, or even in making good decisions for their families; as with genetically modified foods.

What kinds of partners are you looking for?

When I go to schools these days, I am amazed at what’s going on with games. I’m not a game developer, but I can see the potential to dramatically increase science understanding if we can link these games to the other necessary components of an ideal learning environment — driving questions, supports for reasoning and explanation, teacher professional development, embedded formative assessments… I’d love to build partnerships with game developers to grow the seeds of engagement and understanding that arise in games into broader and deeper science learning activities.

What should the Cyberlearning community be doing?

You can have wonderful innovations, but it’s really important that we engage all the stakeholders. We need more conversations with people in policy, business, practitioners, and our technical community. I’ve talked to scientists at USDA for example and they are deeply concerned with issues of science learning. Compared to other players in educational technology, the Cyberlearning community has decades of research built in to everything we do — and it’s not only that, we know how to work closely with teachers, so our activities are grounded not just in research but also in practice, too. And that means that we can make it real in a way no other community can. We need to bring key stakeholders together to engage in important conversations and to see how we can take Cyberlearning to another level of nationwide impact.

Opportunities: ICLS and LAK14 Doctoral Consortiums

Applications for the ICLS Doctoral Consortium/Early Career Workshop are due February 7. ICLS will be held June 23-27, 2014 in Boulder, CO.

The 2014 International Conference on Learning Analytics & Knowledge (LAK14) will be held March 24-28 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Applications for the LAK Doctoral Consortium designed to support emerging scholars in learning analytics are due February 7.

Job Announcements

The Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University invites applications for a tenure track professor in the learning sciences with a research focus in one of the STEM fields. The position is open to individuals of all ranks, including assistant professors with an established record of accomplishment.

Carnegie Mellon invites application for post doctoral researcher in the School of Design to work on an NSF-funded research project that is investigating how to make math tutors more engaging and effective through interaction design patterns and educational data mining.

The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop is seeking a research intern to help conduct a large scale ethnography on children, digital media, and families. The intern must be able to be in the NYC, New Jersey, or Philadelphia area.

Resource and Tech Corner: Atheer One, Geniville, AR Sandbox, Productive Multivocality, ICT-Enabled Innovation

What would life be like with augmented/immersive 3D glasses? Atheer Labs creates the new Atheer One smart glasses. Unlike Google Glass, Atheer One gets its “brains” from your smartphone. Watch the video.

Take a free virtual field trip in GeniVille to learn genetics concepts through collaboration and exploration. This NSF-funded project in middle school life science is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards for heredity: inheritance and variation of traits.

The NSF-funded Augmented Reality Sandbox project is developing 3D visualizations to teach earth science concepts. The project has also built a hands-on exhibit that allows users to create topography models by shaping real sand, which is then augmented in real time by an elevation color map, topographic contour lines, and simulated water.

A new book illustrates how scientific and practical advances can be achieved if researchers working in traditions assumed to be mutually incompatible make a real effort to compare and contrast how their understandings of a phenomenon complement or elaborate on each other: Productive multivocality in the analysis of group interactions by Daniel D. Suthers, Kristine Lund, Carolyn Penstein Rose, Chris Teplovs, and Nancy Law (Eds.).

A new report presents three cases of ICT-enabled innovation for learning:
ICT-enabled innovation for learning in Europe and Asia: Exploring conditions for sustainability, scalability and impact at system level by Panagiotis Kampylis, Nancy Law, Yves Punie, Stefania Bocconi, Barbara Breèko, Seungyeon Han, Chee-Kit Looi, Naomi Miyake.

Share Your News

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

CIRCL is supported by NSF grant IIS-1233722 (CRC: Center for Innovative Research on Cyberlearning (CIRCL). 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.