CIRCL Newsletter – Issue 7, September 2014


Diversity makes our community strong. In this month’s newsletter, we welcome awardees from other NSF programs whose work has a Cyberlearning theme. We feature a project about head-mounted displays for deaf children. We invite applications to attend our Cyberlearning 2015 meeting, which is coming up in January, not only to our loyal followers but also to newcomers who are willing to join us in envisioning the future. Throughout this year, we’ll be working to strengthen and broaden our community in many ways. Know someone we ought to reach out to? Let us know!

Cyberlearning 2015: Call for Participation

Cyberlearning 2015: Connect, Collaborate, and Create the Future will be held January 27-28, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia. Attendees will work together to understand how this developing community can achieve deep impacts by integrating emerging technological possibilities with rigorous learning theory. Key outcomes will include shaping the research and development efforts that will become the focus of future community efforts. The meeting will be structured for participants to to work collaboratively towards potential impacts on policy, practice, future research solicitations, and products. See the Call for Participation for more information and to apply to attend the meeting and to assist us in meeting planning.

Project Spotlight: Head Mounted Displays in Deaf Education

With a head-mounted display, deaf children can see sign language even when their heads are turned away from the signer, allowing them to “hear” explanations and see scientific phenomena at the same time. Head-mounted displays (HMDs) are small computer screens attached to a glasses frame and worn next to the eye. Researchers at Brigham Young University and Gallaudet University have worked with deaf children to learn how to make HMDs comfortable and useful for deaf children. Researchers studied the fit and balance of the display and also the size and position of the signer within the display. Learn more about the Head Mounted Displays in Deaf Education project.

Featured Perspective: Meet Victor Lee

CIRCL perspectives offer a window into the many different worlds of various 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.

Victor Lee, Assistant Professor, Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences at Utah State University.

How did you get started in cyberlearning?

Cyberlearning sparked my interest when I was doing my graduate training in Learning Sciences at Northwestern University. I found I had an interest in design and focusing on what could be possible in new learning spaces. I got very excited about some bold new things that are being done by researchers in schools, museums, and libraries. Right now, there are so many current and future cyberlearning projects that seem not too many years off, and with this sea change in what is possible, it’s hard to resist the opportunity to rethink how we use technology to support learning or what new things we can learn about learning.

What should the cyberlearning community be doing to better support learning?

There are a lot of things the community is doing right so far, although one thing we could do more of is find ways to better support teachers so they have the time and creative space to develop radically new curriculum and learning experiences. Part of this could involve envisioning the future of professional learning communities so some of the most exciting ideas that are emerging from the ground up can get shared. Some of it might involve building models of really healthy research and practice partnerships so that meaningful collaboration and co-design between teachers and researchers can take place. Probably another thing to do is think more about issues of access and equity…
Read more of Victor Lee’s perspective

P4I Update: Interested in Seeing Your Work in Use?

CIRCL’s Partnering for Impact (P4I) program is planning several “outreach” activities, working with late-stage Cyberlearning research projects that are interested in exploring:

  • Starting a company to bring their work to market;
  • Licensing their technology;
  • Consulting with commercial players about using their work in future products; or
  • Presenting their ideas at non-academic venues.

If you are interested in participating in this kind of activity, please contact CIRCL. Meanwhile, some upcoming deadlines:

Cyberlearning Across NSF

CIRCL sends our congratulations to new awardees from other NSF programs whose work has a cyberlearning theme. Here is a sample of some recent awards and the programs that funded them.

Opportunities: CADRE Webinar, Conferences, Spencer Grant

CADRE will be hosting a webinar on September 29th at 3 PM Eastern on the Common Guidelines for Education Research and Development. It will feature a 45 minute presentation led by Edith Gummer, followed by Q&A as time allows. Register for this webinar.

As a reminder, some conference deadlines are approaching. Paper submissions are due for Learning @ Scale 2015 by Oct 22, for CSCL 2015 by Nov 10, and for EARLI 2015 by Oct 29.

Spencer Midcareer Grant Program submissions are due October 15, 2014. Scholars applying must have received their Ph.D, EdD, or equivalent research degree between January 1, 1994 and December 31, 2007.

Job Announcements: TERC, UC Davis, EDC

The Education Research Collaborative at TERC invites applications for a two-year residential research fellowship. The program is focused on transformative research on teaching and learning that seeks to expand formal and/or informal educational opportunities for children, youth and adults from historically underrepresented communities.

The University of California, Davis invites applicants for a tenure-track faculty position in game studies and critical game making. The appointee will join a growing interdisciplinary team of researchers engaged in collaborative work on media ecologies and digital humanities.

The Center for Children and Technology (CCT), a research and development center within Educational Development Center, Inc. based in New York City, is looking to hire a Research Associate II to join the research team conducting a multi-year summative evaluation of the
Ready to Learn Initiative, which provides transmedia math and literacy educational content to children ages 2-8.

Resource & Tech Corner

A series of STEM Smart Workshops, sponsored by NSF, have showcased promising practices and resources in support of effective K-12 STEM Education in schools and programs. Access archives of past meetings, including video presentations and briefs.

An archived webinar on conducting controlled studies in ASSISTments is now available. The ASSISTments platform, which Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has been running for 8 years, has 50,000 students that are using it as part of their classroom and for homework. Researchers from ten universities have partnered with WPI to conduct studies using ASSISTments.

The SmartGraphs: Algebra project at the Concord Consortium has developed 19 activities for learning algebra that are available online or as an app for iPad or Android tablets. The activities—which cover a variety of algebra topics, from linear equations to transformations of functions—help students create and use functions and graphs. Hints and scaffolds support learners. The activities are available free online. The tablet apps, which do not require an Internet connection once installed, cost 99 cents. These activities are based on extensive research. SmartGraphs was supported by a grant from NSF’s DRK-12 program (grant no. DRL-0918522).

EducationXPress is a new publishing and community platform for innovation in digital education. Curated by MIT Professor Eric Klopfer and a distinguished editorial board of other authorities in this growing field of scholarship, the content collection on the platform includes both original (“EducationXPress Firsts”) and aggregated works. The community includes News, a Calendar, and a great Reading List – the 50 articles you “must read” according to these experts. In order to submit or comment, you need to join the community (a free & easy process).

App Ed Review is a searchable database of educational apps designed to support teachers’ integration of apps and tablet devices into their classroom. Each app review includes an original app description, a comprehensive evaluation, and 3-5 instructional ideas for how the app can be used in the classroom. Plus, App Ed Review uses scholarly research to guide how it presents apps to educators.

Articles & Publications

Here are some recent articles and publications by members of the cyberlearning community or about their projects. Send your recent publications or articles about your work to CIRCL and we’ll announce them here!

DeSantis, N. (2014, March). Small changes in homework practices improved learning, study finds. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from

Hodson, H. (2014, May). Kindergarten bots teach language to tots. New Scientist. Retrieved from

Smith, J., Wilson, S. B., Banks, J., Zhu, L. & Varma-Nelson, P. (2014). Replicating Peer-Led Team Learning in Cyberspace: Research, Opportunities, and Challenges. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 51(6), 714-740.

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.