CIRCL Newsletter – Issue 41, March 2020


Dipole field lines in AR textbook

Let’s look forward with 2020 vision. New augmented reality mathematics that literally jumps off the page caught our attention this month (tweets from @RonAvitzur). This meshed with our cyberlearning spotlight on “How K-8 Teachers Are Using Virtual and Augmented Reality in Classrooms Today,” in the story below. And speaking of cyberlearning that is delighting teachers, Janice Gobert recently filled us in on how her inquiry science assessments are succeeding both as small business and in published research. Finally, join us in congratulating Michelle H. Wilkerson as the 2020 recipient of the AERA Jan Hawkins Award! Michelle’s work on learning through digital storytelling exemplifies what cyberlearning research can be: research sees beyond the surface of new technology to discover powerful new opportunities to engage youth in learning.

What do you see emerging in the next ten years that changes the conversation about technology and learning? Drop us a line or reply to our tweet.

Funding Opportunities

Continuing our 2020 look in the future, NSF selected 7 winners from the NSF 2026 Idea Machine prize competition. Winning entries will help inform NSF’s research agenda through the nation’s 250th anniversary in 2026 and beyond. Following a record year for venture capital in edtech, the US Office of Science and Technology has released information about the FY 2021 budget, which commits to doubling R&D spending on non-defense artificial intelligence and quantum information science over the next two years. Overall, our 2020 vision forsees a very promising decade that deeply integrates computing and learning sciences; what this community does best.

The ED/IES SBIR Phase I solicitation invites proposals up to $200,000 and 8 months for the development of prototypes of education technology products to improve student, teacher, or administrator outcomes in education and special education. Proposals are due by 11 am Eastern on March 3, 2020.

The NSF CS for All solicitation invites proposals on both research and researcher-practitioner partnerships (RPPs) that foster the research and development needed to bring CS and CT to all schools. Proposals are due by April 13, 2020.

NSF DCL: Non-Academic Research Internships for Graduate Students (INTERN) Supplemental Funding Opportunity. PIs of an active NSF CISE award may request supplemental funding for graduate students to augment their preparation for a successful long-term career through an internship in a non-academic setting. (Note that this funding is only available with CISE awards, not EHR awards, but NSF cyberlearning awards are typically CISE awards.) Supplemental funding requests can be submitted anytime but no later than May 1, 2020.

Project Spotlight: How K-8 Teachers Are Using Virtual and Augmented Reality in Classrooms Today

Children using VR

Kiley Sobel and Catherine Jhee at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center summarize the results of their interviews and surveys of 15 pre-K to grade 8 teachers to learn more about how they use virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) in their classrooms, and general lessons learned from this work.

What is the big idea of your work?

Despite the challenges associated with using VR and AR in the classroom and the dearth of research in this area, teachers have been able to integrate these technologies into their curricula in successful and innovative ways. The Joan Ganz Cooney Center queried 15 pre-K to grade 8 teachers through questionnaires and interviews to learn more about how they use VR and AR in their classrooms. Following are snapshots of how three teachers are using virtual and augmented reality in their classrooms. The snapshots include some of the challenges these teachers have had to overcome as they implemented these technologies in their curricula too. Read more of this Spotlight.

Conferences & Calls

ISLS 2020 Call for Mid-career Workshop Applications invites scholars in the learning sciences and computer-supported collaborative learning to take stock of their scholarly trajectories and strategize about the next phase in their careers with senior faculty and peers. Applications are due March 1, 2020.

ISLS invites proposals to host future ISLS Annual Meetings. These meetings will feature concurrent Learning Sciences and CSCL programs in a joint, annual event. Proposals to host the meeting in 2023 and onwards are solicited from current ISLS members from organizations around the world. Letters of interest are due by March 31, 2020.

Call for Papers: IJAIED Special Issue: Creating and Improving Adaptive Learning: Smart Authoring Tools and Processes. Paper submissions that highlight successful tools used to create, improve, align, and customize adaptive learning environments are invited. Submission deadline extended to April 1, 2020.

Call for nominations for the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education. Nominate an impactful educator in one of 3 categories: pre-K-12 education, higher education, and learning sciences research. Each winner receives an award of $50,000 and a prize sculpture. Nominations must be received by April 15, 2020.

Featured Perspective: Meet Mark Guzdial

Meet Mark Guzdial

Mark Guzdial is a professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department at the University of Michigan (starting fall 2018). Before that, he was a professor in the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology for 25 years.

What has surprised you most about your research and outreach in CS education? What has not surprised you?

I’ve been most surprised at how little Schools of Education have been involved in the national growth of CS Education. There are few education faculty studying CS Ed. There are few classes or programs for pre-service teachers to learn computer science. In hindsight, I get why — Schools of Education are underfunded in the US, and they already have a lot to do. But we do have to figure out how to involve Schools of Education (e.g., to create pre-service pathways into CS education) to have sustainable, equitable CS education in the United States. I’m not surprised that there’s a gap in the middle in CS Education. Kids are excited, parents and teachers want more CS education, and technology companies are funding CS education. But principals and departments of education are less excited. The middle has to prioritize. Read more of Mark’s perspective.

Student & Learning Opportunities

Call for Applications: Modern Meta-Analysis Training Institute is accepting applications for a free workshop on state-of-the-art meta-analytic methods in Atlanta, Georgia on June 21-26, 2020. This training is funded through a Capacity Building Grant from NSF. Apply by March 1, 2020.

Call for Applications: LRDC Summer Undergraduate Research Institute at the University of Pittsburgh seeks summer undergraduate interns to promote broader participation in training in the learning sciences. The program runs June 1-July 31, 2020 and participants are expected to be in residence for the entire program. Housing and a stipend will be provided. A limited number of travel supplements are available. Apply by March 9, 2020.

Call for Applications: Simon Initiative’s LearnLab Summer School at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg invites applications to participate in an intensive 1-week summer school July 27-31, 2020 on advanced learning technologies and technology-enhanced learning experiments. The program provides a conceptual background and hands-on experience in developing, running and analyzing technology-enhanced learning experiments. Apply by May 17, 2020.

The International Learning Sciences Student Association (ILSSA) is a formal committee of ISLS that aims to serve as an international community for all students of the learning sciences. Learn more about ILSSA’s mission and join the conversation to develop the association.

Job Opportunities

NSF’s Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (EHR/DRL) is hiring program directors in multiple areas, including assessment of STEM learning, science education research, and mathematics or statistics education, education and interactive media, early learning, and learning for or within the workplace (including teacher learning).

University of Chicago‘s Center for Data and Computing and Center for Applied AI seek applications for Postdoctoral Scholars skilled in computational science and interested in applying deep learning, computer vision, and natural language processing to social science questions that impact the lives of children.

University of Colorado Boulder‘s Institute of Cognitive Science invites applications for a Research Associate to take part in several research projects focused on supporting teachers to integrate computational thinking and NGSS-aligned science instruction.

Utah State University’s Department of Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences invites applications for a Researcher II to join a multi-institutional team, conducting research in science and computer science education at the middle school level.

National Center for Education Statistics‘s Learning Agency Lab seeks a Learning Engineering Fellow to lead exciting projects that leverage robust datasets to support education outcomes d.

Resource & Tech Corner

ITEMS Portal

ITEMS Portal provides a variety of videos and modules on assessment and assessment literacy. ITEMS modules are short self-contained lessons with various supporting resources that facilitate self-guided learning, team-based discussions, and professional instruction.

100Kin10’s 2019 Trends and Predictions that will define STEM in 2020 summarizes a mix of trends from 2019 and look-aheads for 2020, each with actionable exemplars from organizations around the country.


Measurement Instrument Database for the Social Sciences (MIDSS) is a repository for instruments used to collect data from across the social sciences. The site has more than 500 instruments concerned with a wide range of topics (e.g. autism, health, pain). Please consider submitting any instruments that you have developed to share your knowledge with colleagues and benefit from citations to your own published work.

Share Your News

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

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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.