Spring 2019 ISLS Newsletter

In this issue…
Statement from the President
Board Elections
Journal of the Learning Sciences
International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning
CSCL 2019 Conference

Statement from the President

Contributed by Joe Polman

Joe Polman

We have quite a bit of conference news. First of all, we are excited for the CSCL conference coming up in Lyon France on 17-21 June, 2019. See the website for details on the program, and this newsletter for information on the three exciting keynotes. Day 1 of the conference will include honoring new ISLS Fellows, and a welcoming reception. The final day of the conference will feature a presidential session on “The Role of CSCL in an Era of ‘Truthiness’ and ‘Fake News’.”

Planning is also well underway for the 2020 ICLS Conference in Nashville, which will have the theme of “Interdisciplinarity in the Learning Sciences.” Stay tuned this summer for more details on that conference.

The ISLS Board announced that beginning in 2021, the “Annual Meeting of the International Society of the Learning Sciences” will feature concurrent LS and CSCL programs in a joint, annual event. Having both CSCL and LS programs in an annual meeting is an exciting development for our community. More information can be found at https://www.isls.org/news/entry/isls-annual-meeting. The location of the 2021 Annual Meeting of the ISLS will be announced in June at the conference in Lyon.

Based on broad interest in the community and the work of the Membership Committee, last year the ISLS announced a new Grants Program for Regional and Affinity Outreach & Engagement Promoting the Learning Sciences. A large number of applications were received, and a review committee selected three projects for 2019:

  • a research colloquium in China on “Learning Design, Technology and the Learning Sciences”
  • an initiative “Promoting LS research between Hebrew speaking and Arabic speaking researchers across the Arabic/Jewish educational field”
  • a set of affinity sessions on “Translating Across Disciplines: Urban/Community Planning & Learning Sciences”

The board expects to put out another call for proposals in Fall 2019, for projects to be conducted in 2020.

Board Elections

Balloting has opened for the election of four new members to the ISLS Board of Directors. All members for 2019 are eligible to vote, and received email messages with links to their ballots. Balloting will close on May 12, 2019.

Journal of the Learning Sciences

Contributed by Susan Yoon

Journal of the Learning Sciences cover

We have been busy at the Journal of the Learning Sciences over the last several months. First, we would like to thank all of our excellent reviewers. As timely, thorough, and mentorly reviews are the backbone of our operation, every year, we honor exceptional reviewers who have made a contribution above and beyond. This year’s Reviewer of the Year Award goes to Angela Calabrese Barton and Anna Sfard.

Last year we put out a call for special issue proposals. Thank you to our colleagues who made many excellent submissions. The title of the selected proposal is, “Learning the Political and the Politics of Learning: Becoming through Social Movements, Community Organizing, and Social Action”. For more details, please look for recent social media announcements.

At CSCL Lyon, we will be holding our annual ISLS Writer’s Workshop as a preconference session. This workshop aims to provide writing advice and mentoring to junior scholars in the learning sciences from the editors and associate editors of ijCSCL and JLS. We are particularly interested in working with scholars who reside in underrepresented regions of the world. Space is limited for this session so please reserve your spot as soon as possible.

We have two additional requests to the ISLS membership. We are now in the process of updating reviewer information on the JLS website. Please login over the next month to make sure that both your professional and scholarly details are accurate. Lastly, we are looking forward to working with you to publish your research. Please submit your best work so that we can start on this process.

International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning

Contributed by Sten Ludvigsen and Carolyn Rose

ijCSCL — International Journal of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning

Note: The International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (ijCSCL) will be transitioning to new editor(s)-in-chief in 2020. A search for the next editor or editors in chief is now underway. Applications are due on June 1, 2019. The search committee is expected to complete its work in time for an announcement of the new Editor(s)-in-Chief by September 1, 2019.

Regarding the March 2019 Issue: A common thread that runs throughout the four articles of the March 2019 issue is a highlight of tools and technologies. The four articles of this issue highlight the contrast between technology as a resource in collaborative learning in two distinct roles, where the distinction is in terms of whose agency is at center stage. In the first two articles, the technology highlight is a scaffold for group reflection, in the first case an awareness tool, and in the second case a self- and peer-assessment tool. In contrast, in the second two articles the technology highlight provides affordances for student expression and creativity within collaboration.


Contributed by Freydis Vogel

In a little bit more than two months the CSCL 2019 will take place and the ISLS Network of Academic Programs in the Learning Sciences (NAPLeS) will offer various activities to join:

We are organizing a NAPLeS half-day workshop about “Creating common ground for teaching designs in Learning Sciences programs: Building on CSCL research and practice”. In this workshop we are aiming to strengthen the exchange between academics involved in the organization and teaching of academic Master’s and PhD programs in the Learning Sciences from different universities and countries. The main goal of the workshop will be to identify how CSCL practices can be designed to teach the Learning Sciences in their programs and across different programs. In addition, the workshop aims to provide an arena for discussing how the NAPLeS network can serve the needs of academic Learning Sciences programs to maintain exchange and realize innovative pedagogies for learning in the future.

You are cordially invited to participate in the workshop. For more information, please visit the workshop description on the CSCL 2019 website:


Following our tradition at ISLS conferences, we will have a general assembly for staff and students of NAPLeS member programs and ISLS members interested in NAPLeS. Time and date will be announced soon.

During the ISLS new members session at CSCL 2019 in Wednesday, June 19, we will shortly introduce NAPLeS to all new members interested in what NAPLeS is and being involved in NAPLeS in the future.

CSCL 2019


CSCL 2019 logo

Click here to see all of the CSCL 2019 keynote abstracts: https://www.cscl2019.com/en/keynote-speakers/19

Stephen Fiore

Professor Stephen Fiore USA

Integrating Theorizing on Embodied, Enactive, Extended, and Embedded Cognition to Augment CSCL Research

The metaphor of the blind men and the elephant is often used to describe how one’s narrow perspective on an issue leads to misperceptions about some complex issue. Interdisciplinary research is no stranger to this parable; so much so that is has become clichéd. With the advent of the embodied, enactive, extended, and embedded cognition perspectives, we arrive at a place where we must avoid misconceptions about learning and cognition and discuss how to address these developments in the context of CSCL. Said most succinctly, through the embodiment thesis, one considers cognition as inextricably linked to the sensory-motor system with which one has been endowed. Via the enactive thesis, one considers cognition as tightly coupled between interactor and the environment. With the extended thesis, one considers cognition as existing as much in the world as it is in the head. In the embedded thesis, one considers cognition as best understood when situated within a particular context. On the one hand, like the blind men and the elephant, we could embrace these fractionalizations and pursue independent lines of inquiry to understand how technology can support distinct forms of learning and cognition. On the other hand, we could pursue a more holistic approach that integrates these varied theoretical perspectives to consider how technologies can augment the study of learning and cognition. In this talk I discuss how new tools and technologies allow us to embrace the latter approach via a multi-method, multi-conceptual approach with the group as the focal point. This is made possible through advances in interdisciplinary research allowing us to instrument and/or observe the world of interaction in ways never before possible. Importantly, though, we are observing interaction not just within, but also across, multiple levels. I discuss how this provides the opportunity to integrate levels of interaction for studying learning and cognition and provide representative research issues for CSCL to explore.

Lorenza Mondada

Professor Lorenza Mondada Switzerland

Title: Negotiating Knowledge, Expertise, Connoisseurship and Taste in Social Interaction

How knowledge is manifested in social interaction is a key issue for understanding and documenting how knowledge is possibly negotiated, recognized, and learned in actual settings and activities. Recent work in interactional studies has debated how knowledge in interaction can be not only claimed but also displayed by self, how it can be attributed to self by others, how it can be intersubjectively recognized and negotiated (Heritage, 2012, Stivers, Mondada, Steensig, 2011). This might be observed in ordinary life, as well as in institutional contexts: in the latter case, institutional asymmetries might enhance epistemic asymmetries –for instance between lay persons and experts– but also be the arena for epistemic re-negociations and competitions –for instance between amateurs, connoisseurs and professionals. These recalibrations of knowledge claims and attributions are central in settings that are not devoted to formal learning but that are relevant for socialization into knowledge, culture, and expertise. Empirically the talk focuses on an exemplary setting of ordinary life in which these issues are observable and documentable in actual video recordings of situated practices. Encounters in specialized gourmet shops, in particular in cheese shops, constitute an arena in which participants engage not only in buying, but in displaying their identity as gourmet connoisseurs; an arena in which clients go not just for shopping but for learning how to taste and also how to speak about sophisticated food items. Knowledge, expertise and taste concern in this case both propositional knowledge (information about the products) and praxeological and embodied knowledge (know how to taste and to assess the products). The paper discusses different types of knowledge, verbal and embodied, and the way they are embedded in specific activities and sequential contexts. It offers methodological hints about their analysis, providing for both situated and systematic patterns, showing how they are expressed and enacted in situ, in negotiations that crucially involve talk and bodies, constructing social and epistemic identities.

Janet Wiles

Professor Janet Wiles Australia

Title: Designing Opie robots as learning companions: insights, interactions and interdependencies

This talk will present a series of case studies in technology design, based on the child-friendly robots in the ongoing Opal project and analysis tools for interaction dynamics. Opie robots are primarily designed for physically-embodied social presence, enabling children and adults to touch, hold, or hug the robot, and to use its solid frame as a physical support. The key design issues start with safety of the users, which affects movement and speed; and safety of the robot from rough play by children. These capabilities enable different kinds of studies to those of commonly available commercial robots which are too fragile for rough use, or in danger of falling over, with potential for damage to themselves and a danger to children. The second design consideration for Opie robots is the speed of interaction, and how that can impact on human social engagement, which occurs in timescales of hundreds of milliseconds. Case studies will include Opie robots as story tellers in public spaces, such as science museums and technology showcases; Indigenous language robots as language assistants in classrooms and language centres; Lingodroids that evolve their own languages; and chatbots used for surveys and conversation. Insights from the development of multi-lingual robots include the critical role of embedding robots in communities and the extended nature of the robots’ influence within and beyond a classroom. The Opie real-world case studies enable us to reflect on fundamental questions about design decisions that affect when a robot is considered to be a social being; whether a robot could understand the grounded meanings of the words it uses; and practical questions about what is needed for a robot to be an effective learning companion in individual and group settings. The talk will conclude with an overview of two computational tools for analysing human-human and human-robot interactions, including conceptual recurrence analysis of turn-taking in conversations using Discursis and the timing of interactions using Calpy’s pausecode.


The ISLS newsletter is prepared by the Communications Committee. Current members include Victor Lee and Martina Rau (Co-Chairs), Heisawn Jeong, Christopher Williams, Christa Asterhan, Flavio Azevedo, Elizabeth Charles, Irene-Angelica Chounta, Kshitij Sharma, Anouschka van Leeuwen, Chandan Desgupta, Feng Lin, Cat Dornfeld Tissenbaum, and Jason Yip. To join the committee, contact one of the co-chairs

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