Annual Meetings’ Highlights

ISLS 2023 logo

ISLS Annual Meeting 2023

Montréal, Canada June 10–15, 2023 Building knowledge and sustaining our community


Henry A Giroux
Henry A Giroux​McMaster University, Canada

Abstract: With the rise of authoritarian politics across the globe, echoes of a fascist past are with us once again signaling a looming and dangerous threat to education and democracy. In the current historical moment, knowledge is being censored, books banned, and critical ideas, if not thinking itself, are under siege. In Florida, Texas, Idaho, and other GOP led states, entire fields of studies and programs are being banned, including gender studies, Critical Race Theory, and other programs that deal with important social issues. The far-right is attempting to turn public and higher education into propaganda factories. Education has always been central to politics, but in the last decade it has become less a practice for freedom than an instrumentalized theory and practice for domination by white nationalists and white supremacists. This talk challenges this reactionary ideology and oppressive pedagogy. Drawing upon Freire’s work, the talk explores how critical pedagogy provides a theoretical and practical project for rethinking about the nature of education and politics, and how these two realms are inseparable. The talk examines how critical pedagogy can contribute a foundation for creating those public spheres and critically engaged citizens essential to any substantive democracy.

Susan Goldman
Susan Goldman​University of Illinois Chicago, USA

Abstract: Over the past 50 years there have been major shifts and expansions in what is regarded as research on human learning. These are evidenced in individual research programs, funding trends, and dissemination outlets. Theoretical, epistemological, and methodological orientations reflect increasingly diverse approaches to age-old questions about what learning is, how it happens, and circumstances that promote it. There is increased recognition of the multiple and interacting dimensions of human functioning that converge during learning. We have seen research on learning embrace this complexity, seeking ways to make learning visible through external representations such as discourse, neural scans, digital traces of spatial and multimodal response patterns. In this presentation, I reflect on the evolution of my own research in terms of my own learning about learning and its intersection with the zeitgeist of the Learning Sciences. I offer some speculations about key issues and challenges for future research on learning and education that arise from increasingly technologized societies that embody ever-present tensions between progressive and conservative sociopolitical movements.

Jan Hare
Jan Hare​The University of British Columbia, Canada

Abstract: With the proliferation of digital technologies, there exists the assumption that Indigenous people and their knowledges are incompatible with modernity, learning, and technology. As well, efforts to represent Indigenous ways of knowing in online spaces are certainly fraught with intellectual, ethical, culture, and technical challenges. However, as emerging digital technologies make for new types of access and modes of curating, viewing/listening, displaying, and transmitting Indigenous knowledges, there is growing recognition of the contribution of Indigenous ways of knowing teaching and learning. This presentation draws on a set of curriculum projects in teacher education to demonstrate reconfigurations of colonial learning practices that are more respectful, build from Indigenous engagement, and uplift Indigenous priorities of resurgence, reclamation, and sovereignty.

ISLS Special Session – Artificial Intelligence

ISLS 2023 Special Session – Change Lab methodology in the service of ISLS Community Building

ISLS 2021 Annual Meeting Bochum logo

ISLS Annual Meeting 2021

Bochum, Germany June 8–11, 2021 Reflecting the Past and Embracing the Future


Dr. Carolyn Rosé
Dr. Carolyn RoséComputer Science,
Carnegie Mellon University

Abstract: As a research community, the International Society of the Learning Sciences has always worked hard to maintain representation across multiple dimensions of diversity, including, but certainly not limited to regions and disciplines. The events of the world’s recent history challenge both our personal senses of safety and wellbeing as well as our bonds of community and joint engagement, which rest upon that foundation, a foundation meant to enable a productive synergy in the light of divers ity. In our CSCL research, we advocate for support that increases transactivity in the collaborative interactions supported within our learning environments. Nevertheless, in both our personal and professional lives even we struggle to engage with others even in our own communities who are distinctly different from ourselves. With this in mind, this talk will provide a reflection on interdisciplinarity as a core value and a core skill, unpacking it through the lens of research on its assessment, and considering how research on collaborative support, processes, and outcomes relate to these operationalizations but leave challenges and opportunities for the field going forward. In particular it considers how CSCL in the classroom might aim to prepare students for more challenging collaborations in the workplace and beyond.

Dr. Carol K.K. Chan
Dr. Carol K.K. ChanFaculty of Education,
University of Hong Kong

Abstract: Knowledge Building is one of the foundational models of the learning sciences and is more important than ever in the current post-truth era in which the value of science is challenged, and fake news seems rampant. In this talk, I will discuss the past, present and future of Knowledge Building and argue why this model, with its epistemic focus, is important for the learning sciences and education in the post-truth world. I will outline the history of Knowledge Building including its roots in “taking cognitive science to school” and the pioneering instantiation of Knowledge Building in a computer-supported collaborative learning environment, Knowledge Forum®. Current research advance in Knowledge Building focusing on theory-pedagogy-technology integration will be reviewed in light of related themes and issues in the learning sciences. I will also discuss the future development of Knowledge Building aligning with current trends in researching for impact and implementation in multi-level and multi-nation networks for scaling innovation in school systems.

Dr. Onur Güntürkün​
Dr. Onur Güntürkün​Biopsychology, Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Abstract: I would like to take you on a journey that tracks the fate of the memory trace from the first moment that drives learning, through its consolidation, its subsequent representation up to the moment where the decision to retrieve this memory item is taken. This last step ultimately changes the trace since memories are modified when we remember them. In my talk, would like to stress one point: Especially within an educational context, learning often is seen as a device to acquire knowledge. It is rarely seen and optimized under the umbrella of retrieval. From the standpoint of the brain, however, retrieval is often more complicated than acquisition, since the relevant information has to be identified under the zillions of items that we store. Also, the decision to retrieve this item and not the other seems to alter and thereby stabilize the trace. As a consequence, teaching has to mind both the acquisition and the retrieval as two equally important goal posts.

Victor R. Lee
Organizer & Facilitator: Victor R. Lee​ISLS President 2020–2021

In 2020, the world more fully acknowledged a longstanding problem: anti-Black bias and racism. While events in the United States prompted protests and more visible activism, this is a worldwide issue and one example of how both overt and less recognized forms of biases, marginalization, discrimination, and racism create inequitable situations for people around the world. In this presidential plenary session, we will have the opportunity to celebrate that, despite facing systemic obstacles, valued members of our community are helping to advance our collective goal of using scholarship on learning to improve circumstances and opportunities for all.

Featured speakers:

  • Sherice Clarke, University of California, San Diego (USA) introduced by Christa Asterhan, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel)
  • Christopher Wright, Drexel University (USA) introduced by Chandan Dasgupta, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (India)
In memory of Dr. Audrey Msimanga

We are grateful to our dear friend and colleague Dr. Audrey Msimanga for her role in shaping the evolution of our collective work. Audrey’s ideas on agency, freedom and science education in the Global South deepened our understandings of learning and histories in places. May her ideas and commitments to just education live on. We are honored to have had the opportunity to co-think with her. ISLS Annual Meeting, 2021 Invited Panel: Expanding Conceptions of Learning: Colonialism, Social Movements, and Possible Futures.

  • Thomas Philip, University of California Berkeley USA (Co-Chair)
  • Lucy Avraamidou, University of Groningen Netherlands (Co-Chair)
  • Arshad Ali, The George Washington University USA
  • Natalie R. Davis, Georgia State University USA
  • Ananda Marin, University of California Los Angeles USA
  • Isabel Martins, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro Brazil
  • Audrey Msimanga, University of the Witwatersrand South Africa
  • Miwa Aoki Takeuchi, University of Calgary Canada
  • Shirin Vossoughi, Northwestern University USA