Welcome to ISLS Newsletter! The aim is to make our learning and networking more continuous. We hope that this new format will help members of this community be heard and provide more opportunities for meaningful contributions.
Tammy Clegg, Cheryl Madeira & Maritza Lozano
Editors ISLS Newsletter
A Welcome Message from the incoming ISLS President: Eleni A. Kyza
Eleni A. Kyza
I am honored to have the opportunity to serve the International Society of the Learning Sciences (ISLS) in the year to come, in the role of its President.
ISLS is a thriving, interdisciplinary community of scholars. This is attested by the continuous scholarly activities our membership is engaged with, by the two highly-ranked journals we sponsor, as well by the emergence of new activities that seek to strengthen the capacity of the Society to achieve our shared goals. The fact that our two, well-attended, conference series (CSCL, ICLS), have taken place in many different parts of the world thus far (Australia, Greece, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Norway, Taiwan, USA and the upcoming CSCL 2015 conference in Sweden next year) is a strong indication of our commitment to be an international Society.
Yet much still needs to be done. I would like to focus, specifically, on three areas of growth we have been working with: internationalization, mentoring, and governance.
According to the ISLS vision statement (Pea, 2009), the ISLS is concerned with theory and praxis, engages in rigorous empirical research and design, and cares deeply about the real-world impact of the work learning scientists engage with. However, while the learning sciences vision is well understood by many, it is much less understood in certain geographic areas, Europe included. The latter is in contradiction with the Society goals to provide opportunities for rich interactions across national borders. Making ISLS more visible and reaching out to other research and practitioner communities can contribute to increasing diversity and enhancing the impact our work has in real-life contexts.
One of the main activities of the ISLS in the past year has been the mentoring of young scholars through the Network of Academic Programs in the Learning Sciences (NAPLES), initiated by the ISLS past-President Frank Fischer and his colleagues. NAPLES has quickly developed into a burgeoning online learning community for new LS scholars and already includes 24 institutions from four continents. In addition, the ISLS has already two excellent mechanisms for supporting the mentoring of Ph.D. students and Early Career Researchers in the context of the Doctoral Consortium and Early Career workshops, taking place annually during the two days leading to the main conference. The efforts of the ISLS to ensure funding for the participants of these workshops indicate the Society’s commitment in fostering the development of new scholars in the field of the Learning Sciences. I would like to take the opportunity to thank sponsoring agencies, such as the U.S. National Science Foundation, for providing much needed support to these important activities.
A lot has been happening behind the scenes as we move ahead in our second decade of life as a professional Society. Issues of society governance are constantly on the agenda of the ISLS Board meetings. With, at least, 50% more submissions than past ISLS conferences, the ICLS 2014 conference has received a record number of submissions, which signifies an active and growing Society. With growth also comes increased responsibility. How can we create an environment in which we are still part of a dialogic community while allowing the Society to blossom? How can we become more effective in governing our Society and reaching our goals? For the last few years the ISLS Board has been working towards the goal of professionalizing the Society and improving its governance structures. A collective effort of developing institutional memory is, undeniably, one of the most challenging and useful tasks that the ISLS Board has undertaken for preserving the essence of what ISLS is and helping the Society grow productively.
The development of the new ISLS website, currently under the supervision of Susan Goldman and Ravi Vatrapu, indicates the importance of improving how we facilitate the organization of our conferences and finding ways to share resources. We expect the website to become operational later this year, allowing the Society a better control of its membership database and conference series management. Alongside this, we are planning a revamping of the public ISLS website, which will include improved functionality and easier access to resources.
I would, sincerely, like to thank the outgoing President, Cindy Hmelo-Silver for her leadership in the past year and congratulate Carolyn Rosé as the new President-Elect. I hope that the year to come will allow me to work with them towards contributing to some of the above active goals, along with the support of the Board and all of our members. I consider this to be a huge responsibility, considering the significant work already accomplished by past ISLS presidents and Board Members.
The ISLS Board, as the managing body of the Society, and the ISLS Committees strive hard to identify and attend to the needs of the ISLS community as it grows. While a Board member is elected (and you are all invited to indicate your interest or be nominated for the next Board Elections), membership in a committee is open to all. I hope that you will consider becoming actively involved with the Society by committing to work with an ISLS committee (please contact the chair of the committee for more information about this), raising important issues, and contributing to realizing the ISLS vision through your scholarship.
Please join me in celebrating the ISLS spirit at the next ICLS conference.
I look forward to seeing you all in Boulder soon!
Eleni A. Kyza
Incoming President, International Society of the Learning Sciences
Upcoming ICLS 2014:
My colleagues and I are looking forward to hosting you at the 11th International Conference of the Learning Sciences in Boulder, Colorado this June. We are particularly excited about this year’s program, which is focused on the theme, “Learning and Becoming in Practice.” To read more click here…