President’s Address

A welcome message from the ISLS President, Joshua Danish

Joshua Danish

The last several years have brought a great deal of upheaval and change to both the world around us and to our professional society. My hope is that the ongoing efforts we have made as a society will help us emerge from this period as a stronger, more diverse, and more integrated community.

The most prominent of these changes have to do with our society’s conferences. We have embraced the full potential of having a single annual meeting that brings our whole society together by integrating both of our prior conferences (ICLS and CSCL) into a single annual meeting so that people can move across and between these venues. We have also moved online, due to the pandemic, and then back again in 2023 to a face-to-face meeting in Montreal, where I very much look forward to seeing many of you in person again. However, I am also mindful of how a return to in-person meetings will exclude some of our colleagues and friends despite our best efforts. Fortunately, we have some brilliant colleagues thinking about how we can look toward the future of conferences, meetings, and community in new and more inclusive ways.

As I have reflected on the last few years both individually, and with my wonderful colleagues on the Board, Executive Committee, and the Equity and Justice Committee, I am also reminded of the many ongoing conversations that acknowledge what we have done, and how much more we need to do, to be a truly inclusive and supportive society. Some of these conversations have been ongoing for years but are only now becoming more public; others are prompted by more recent events. Either way, I value our shared commitment to expanding the Learning Sciences community, in terms of our membership, and in terms of the scholarship that we share and value, and in terms of our quality experience as members of the society. I want to make particularly sure that we look inwards during this process, making this a safe space for our current members as well as potential new members as we continue to expand. I am therefore excited that we have a new Equity Learning task force that emerged after last summer, which is now exploring how we can all learn together as a society to be more inclusive. We’ve also been talking increasingly about the truly international character of our society, with an eye to supporting equity within and across vastly different contexts.

As I work with colleagues on these committees, I have also reflected on what my role is as the president of the society. For me, supporting our joint efforts means thinking continuously about who is present, who is absent or excluded, who speaks, and who is silent or may be silenced. I would like to think with you about how we can all learn to be more inclusive, how we can better recognize our complicity in these moments of exclusion and silencing, and what we can do to lift up our peers and colleagues. I believe we can create a space both in-person and virtual that invites equitable participation from colleagues regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, country of origin, or theoretical framework. We can embrace our differences, continue to learn from each other, and help the Learning Sciences reach its true potential as a field. I hope you will all join me in this effort not just for the next year, but for many years to come.

Joshua Danish

ISLS President 2022–2023