Grants Program for Regional and Affinity Outreach promoting the Learning Sciences 2020: announcement of funded programmes

Many researchers in the Learning Sciences come from around the world to present their research at the annual conferences hosted by the International Society of the Learning Sciences (ISLS) and participate in critical discussions around the state-of-the-art of the field. However, as a society, we recognize that our Learning Sciences community is wider than those who attend annual meetings. This program grows out of many requests that the society has received to support regional or affinity group activities.

The ISLS Regional and Affinity Outreach Grants Program seeks to support the growth of regional communities of learning scientists and communities of scholars who are engaging in research that is germane and synergistic to the Learning Sciences but are currently underrepresented in ISLS. Through this grants program, we seek to provide opportunities for community building, knowledge sharing and consolidation, collaboration and cross-pollination. We seek to increase mutual awareness between ISLS and other communities with synergistic interests and expertise.

This year the ISLS is funding the following two projects which will take place in 2020. It is our hope that the accepted projects will lead to sustainable collaborations and research in future years. Preference will be given to new proposals. 

Expanding views of ‘research’ in science learning as an inclusive approach to different ‘knowledges’ 


  • Jasmine Y. Ma, New York University 
  • Ananda Marin, University of California, Los Angeles 
  • Sarah C. Radke, New York University 
  • Emilia A. Nhalevilo, Universidade Pedagogica in Maputo, Mozambique 
  • Geraldo Nhampule, Universidade Pedagogica in Maputo, Mozambique
  • Marit Dewhurst, City College of New York 

In this exchange program between research and teacher participants in the US and in Mozambique, we aim to enhance science teachers’ and science education researchers’ perceptions on the diverse kinds of knowledges under different epistemologies, supporting a culturally inclusive science education. The Learning Sciences has developed some momentum in grappling with diverse epistemologies for science learning, beyond those of dominant, Western communities, (e.g., Bang, Warren, Rosebery, & Medin, 2012; Marin & Bang, 2018), interrogating the sociohistorical and sociopolitical conditions that have constructed particular forms of science perceived as universal.This work demonstrates the value of alternative epistemologies for equitable and sustainable futures; however, this scholarship in the Learning Sciences has primarily been based in the US, and with indigenous framings grounded in the Americas. This project will contribute to a Learning Sciences field that supports the cultural diversity of today’s science classes, and theories of science learning grounded across global contexts. Additionally, we highly value learning from and inviting science education researchers as well as teachers from Mozambique to the LS community. 

Soch: Expanding Indian and Indian Diasporic Ways of Thinking in the Learning Sciences


  • Suraj Uttamchandani, Indiana University, USA
  • Vishesh Kumar, University of Wisconsin–Madison, USA
  • Gayithri Jayathirtha, University of Pennsylvania, USA
  • Deborah Dutta, Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, India

This project seeks to further understand knowledge practices, learning processes, and educational equity beyond western contexts. We will be creating Soch, a web repository to explore these issues. Our project is to conduct and record video conversations with people who have explored learning and education as it intersects with the social, cultural, historical, and political dimensions of Indian and Indian Diasporic lives. The videos would then be shared on Soch

To most comprehensively make sense of these issues, we hope to connect with three main groups: learning, education, and learning technology scholars based in India; teachers and other educational stakeholders in India, and; South Asian Studies scholars and/or scholars exploring these issues in the Indian diaspora. Importantly, we want to deeply consider a wide variety of sociocultural groups and center educational equity in this work. In this spirit, we actively seek to hear from scholars from minoritized groups and/or those with explicit foci on caste discrimination, LGBTQ+ lives, sexism, religious discrimination, indigenous epistemologies, and decolonization. In this initial phase of the projects we focus on India, but keeping in mind the histories of borders and movement, we use Soch as a launching ground to engage and hear from voices across the South Asian region. 

We hope Soch can catalyze new conversations around the learning sciences and educational equity in a wider array of cultural contexts.

Dimitra Tsovaltzi, Claudia Mazziotti, and Jun Oshima, Grant Program Committee, on behalf of the ISLS Membership Committee

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