CIRCL Newsletter – Issue 6, July 2014

CIRCL News: Summit Recap

On June 9 and 10, 2014, more than 100 investigators, innovators, researchers, and educators convened for the 2014 Cyberlearning Summit hosted by CIRCL at the University of Wisconsin, Madison to identify and communicate major advances in learning with technology. Participants presented findings from diverse projects, yet a common message emerged from the Summit: the importance of highlighting new images of what learning looks like. Webcast recordings of talks are now available. To learn more, read a short report on the Summit by Jeremy Roschelle, Director of CIRCL.

2015 Synthesis & Envisioning Meeting on January 27-28

The second Synthesis & Envisioning meeting will be held January 27-28, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia. Building on the first meeting in 2013, the 2015 meeting will bring together NSF Cyberlearning project PIs and other invited participants (space allowing) to envision the future of learning technologies, identify the challenges in achieving that vision, and propose the research and development needed to reach those goals. A call for participation will be announced in September. For those who cannot attend, plenaries and talks will be webcast and archived for later viewing. If you know of graduate students or postdocs who would like to be involved in the planning of the meeting, please contact CIRCL.

Project Spotlight: Mixed Reality Brings Science Concepts to Life

More than 1,000 middle and high school students in Massachusetts and Virginia have used a novel class of mixed-reality technologies to learn complex science concepts. Leveraging existing software and probeware widely used in schools, these technologies blend virtual and real experiences into a single activity and create a genre of applications with unprecedented learning opportunities. Learn more about the Mixed-Reality Labs project led by Charles Xie at the Concord Consortium (NSF grant 1124281) and Jennifer Chiu at the University of Virginia (NSF grant 1123868).

Featured Perspective: Meet Richard Hudson

CIRCL perspectives offer a window into the different worlds of stakeholders in the cyberlearning community–what drives their work, what they need to be successful, and what they think the community should be doing. Share your perspective.

Richard Hudson, Senior Executive Producer, Director of Science Production at Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) in Saint Paul, Minnesota, oversees all of TPTs science media production.

How did you get started in cyberlearning?

TPT/Twin Cities Public Television has been creating multimedia and online experience for over 20 years, linked to our TV series Newton’s Apple, DragonflyTV, SciGirls, and documentaries for NOVA. We recently launched a digital portal for middle school science, Sparticl, which offers a curated collection of the best STEM sites on the web, including games, videos, articles, profiles of scientists (including young scientists in our Science Fair section) and hands-on activities.

What is unique about your work?

Virtually all of our online projects have ties to PBS video content. The SciGirls website was the first COPPA-compliant social network on PBS Kids, and promotes transmedia storytelling, where visitors can create their own montages about the science and engineering experiences presented on the TV series. (See Pick’M Stick’M). Our online projects are public, free, typically user focused, and committed to supporting informal science education, anytime anywhere, lifelong learning.

What would you like policy makers (e.g., Congress) to know about your work?

Informal science learning – i.e. learning science outside of school – is where much if not most learning happens. Science and engineering competitions, science exhibits in museums, and afterschool STEM programs provide important avenues for learning, yet media – TV, radio, and online media – reach orders of magnitude more participants with learning experience that research has shown produce significant, positive STEM learning outcomes. We would like policymakers to understand that an investment in STEM media will provide high return on investment in the public understanding of science in America.

What should the cyberlearning community be doing?

In addition to the cutting-edge investigations of technology-enhanced learning and learning games, the cyberlearning community should seek to understand how the rising trend of ubiquitous social media can contribute to learning. As document by many recent studies and publications, the use of social media by youth is growing at a breathtaking rate. Yet, at present, there are relatively few investigations of social media and learning in the NSF’s Cyberlearning portfolio.

What are you looking for?

On behalf of TPT/ Twin Cities Public Television and both our SciGirls series and Sparticl platform, we are seeking research partners to help us investigate questions about how children learn from both narrative media and online experiences, especially the contributions that social media activities make to learning. Please contact Richard Hudson at

Meet CIRCL’s Summer Teachers

This summer, CIRCL has 3 local area teachers––Sarah Costello, Sara Shayesteh, and Julia Leeson––helping us profile cyberlearning projects and people. They will be taking cyberlearning ideas back to their classrooms and sharing with colleagues at their schools. If you were interviewed by one of our teachers, thank you for your time! The teachers have also been working with Natalie Harr, an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow currently serving her fellowship at NSF. Natalie’s Cyberlearning Educator’s Blog provides educators with a preview of next generation of technologies and explores their potential for transforming learning. A big CIRCL thank you to our teachers for helping us bridge cyberlearning research with classroom practice and broaden the community of people involved in cyberlearning.

Opportunities: JLA Special Issue, Learning@Scale 2015, CSCL 2015, EARLI 2015

The Journal of Learning Analytics invites submissions for a Special Issue on on Learning Analytics and Learning Theory. The deadline for submissions is November 30, 2014.

The Learning at Scale 2015 conference will be held on March 14-15, 2015, in Vancouver, BC, Canada, in association with the Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) conference. Submission dates are October 6-22, 2014 for Papers and Dec 14-Jan 8, 2015 for Works in Progress.

The CSCL 2015 conference will be at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, on June 7-11, 2015. The theme is “Exploring the material conditions of learning: Opportunities and challenges for CSCL”. Submission dates are: Nov 10, 2014 for Papers, Posters, Panels, Symposia and Demos; Dec 15, 2014 for Preconference Workshops and Tutorials; and February 13, 2015 for Early Career Workshop and Doctoral Consortium.

The EARLI 2015 conference will be held in Limassol, Cyprus on August 25- 29, 2015. The theme is “Towards a Reflective Society: Synergies between Learning, Teaching and Research”. The deadline for submissions is October 29, 2014.

New Cyberlearning Awards

CIRCL warmly welcomes the following projects that were awarded between December 2013 and May 2014.

Job Announcements: ETS, Utah State University

ETS Research & Development in the Princeton, NJ office has two openings: a Senior Scientist in the Learning Sciences to extend work on the use of learning progressions to inform the design, development and scoring of innovative science assessment and lead the associated research agenda, and an Associate Research Scientist, Cognitive Science with expertise in the areas of cognitive task analysis, experimental design, and cognitive modeling, especially as applied to problem solving and interpretation of sequential data.

Utah State University invites applications for a tenure-track position at the Assistant Professor level to join the Department of Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences (ITLS).

Resource & Tech Corner: JLS Commons, Ed Table Talk, Esri

JLS Commons is a new online space aimed at fostering discussions in the learning sciences community about ideas published in The Journal of the Learning Sciences (JLS) and about international topics of interest in the learning sciences. Doctoral students worldwide are invited to volunteer for the editorial team, which will be run as a volunteer collaborative with rotating membership.

Ed Table Talk is an education talk radio show dedicated to informing and invigorating the audience with issues critical to PreK-12 Education. The show is hosted by Michael Jay and sponsored by MCH Strategic Data. Subscribe to receive monthly email reminders of upcoming shows.

Esri is making its advanced mapping software, ArcGIS, available for free to all K-12 schools in the United States.

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.