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January 16

Teachers Making for Learning in Science Classrooms

Dr. Colby Tofel-Grehl, Utah State University

This talk explores teachers’ different approaches to engaging electronic textiles within their core content classrooms. From elementary classrooms to advanced placement physics, electronic textiles offers teachers a unique context from which to explore integrated STEM learning with a strong focus on computing. Mixed methods findings are shared exploring the various areas of impacts that e-textiles affords teachers in improving learning and instruction as part of their professional practice.

Colby Tofel-Grehl is an assistant professor at Utah State University and director of the secondary science education program in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in Science Education. Her research is situated between the worlds of science education, technology integration, and classroom interaction.  She explores the ways in which novel technologies afford teachers new approaches to improve their classroom instruction through discourse.  Currently, she is the principal investigator of Project STITCH, a professional and curriculum development NSF grant looking at the implementation of electronic textiles in science classrooms across three states. 


January 23    

National Makerspace Survey Preliminary Findings

Dr. Kareem Edouard, Drexel University

The ExCITe Center's Learning Innovation initiative examines the pedagogical depth and impact of practices facilitated through makerspaces and similar hands-on creative learning environments. With the relative lack of quantitative data available for assessment, detailed interviews and the development of new data through linguistic coding were conducted as the basis of analysis and evaluation. Preliminary findings are shared as a more comprehensive understanding of maker practices are developed as a potential driver for education reform.

Kareem Edouard is a senior research fellow at Drexel University’s Expressive and Creative Interaction Technologies (ExCITe) Center. He received his Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University in the Learning Sciences and Technology Design program. His research interests lie in understanding the intersectionality of race and culture and STEM engagement for students of color. Currently, his primary area of focus is in the maker movement, where he is currently working on a national survey investigating best practices of makerspaces around the country.


February 20

Making Publics: Mobilizing Audiences in High School Makerspaces

T. Philip Nichols, University of Pennsylvania

While "making" has enjoyed increased attention from education researchers, policymakers, and practitioners, much of its uptake has been in informal, out-of-school learning environments. What happens when these practices make their way into more formal schooling contexts? This presentation examines the possibilities and challenges that surfaced as a new urban public high school tried to bring "the maker ethos" into the center of its teaching and learning. It highlights the role that audience played in motivating students’ design work – and considers how iterative approaches to “making” can, at times, sit in uneasy alignment with the demands and structures of school.

T. Philip Nichols is a PhD candidate in Literacy, Culture, and International Education at the University of Pennsylvania, where he also earned an MA in History and Sociology of Science. His research brings these fields into conversation, examining how the ways we learn, teach, and talk about literacy are entwined with histories of technology. He is currently completing his dissertation, Making Innovation: Literacy and Technoscience in Urban Public School Reform, with support of a National Academy of Education / Spencer Dissertation Fellowship.


February 27

Defining the Maker Movement within Public Libraries

Dr. Debora Lui, University of Pennsylvania

While public libraries have been one of the biggest advocates of the Maker Movement, the actual composition of maker programs within their walls vastly differs. This is mostly due to the distinct institutional factors present in these different spaces, whether patron demographics, staff training, or floor management. I share my findings for a 16-month study where I observed two different library systems – one suburban and one urban – in terms of their implementation of youth maker programs. As I show, the distinct settings not only shape how successful these programs are, but also the very definitions of success itself with regard to learning through making.

Debora Lui is a postdoctoral researcher at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvnia. She conducts research on how hands-on maker activities can reshape learning within traditional STEM disciplines, such as computer science and biology, through an emphasis on personal expression and real world design applications. She received a PhD in Education and Communication from the University of Pennsylvania, and a MS in Comparative Media Studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.



Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL’17)

CSCL 2017, the 12th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning, will take place from June 18-22 in Philadelphia, PA. The conference theme “Making a Difference: Prioritizing Equity and Access in CSCL” is motivated by recent statistics from Silicon Valley companies in the USA, in Europe, and Asia that present a troubling picture about the lack of diversity in the technology workforce. CSCL 2017 aims to challenge these trends with a conference focused on prioritizing keynote speakers, workshops and papers that champion research and tools focused on equity and access relative to CSCL. 


Diversifying Barbie and Mortal Kombat

The symposium on women in gaming, took place on April 25, 2016 at the University of Pennyslvaniawhere panelists discussed the role of academics in understanding movements such as Gamergate and the harassment some scholars face. Speakers were Justine Cassell, Florence Chee, Jill Denner, Betsey diSalvo, Suzanne deCastell, Kishonna Gray, Jen Jenson, Heidi MacDonald, Gabriela Richard, Adrienne Shaw, and Brendesha Tynes.

Select papers discussing these issues, can also be found in a book edition with the same title published by ETC Press.



Third Annual GenderIT conference with the theme “Advancing Diversity” took place on Saturday, April 25, 2015, at the University of Pennsylvania. In IT and technology-related fields at large, diversity has been a longstanding and troubling issue. Particularly, girls, women and minorities continue to be underrepresented in these fields; few engage in STEM-related classes or enter IT professions. What can we do to address these challenges? What do we know about interests, images, and intersections around gender, race, and IT? How can we design K-12 education and craft career trajectories so that more girls and minorities express interest and participate in IT?  What are some promising and innovative designs and interventions? How are trends in related fields, such as gaming, connected to larger IT developments? Keynote speaker was Justine Cassell, Carnegie-Mellon University.


Next Generation MOOCs: Perspectives from the Learning Sciences

This lecture series took place in Spring 2014 and reviewed the prospects and possibilities of massive open online courses. Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have taken higher education by surprise, some courses with over a hundred thousand registered students. Now that the first wave of MOOC courses has been offered and analyzed, what will the next generation of MOOCs look like? Speakers were Mark Guzdial, Georgia Institute of Technology, Daniel Hickey, Indiana University, Eric Klopfer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Candace Reimers, Stanford University,


Stitch Fest 

This E-textiles oriented hackathon took place in the Fall and Spring of 2014, during and in conjunction with PennAppsthe premier college hackathon hosted every semester at the University of Pennsylvania. We invited PennApps participants to push the frontiers of low-power computing, data analytics, and interactive media to design the next generation of smart wearables for sports, leisure or business settings. Teams worked with the LilyPad Arduino, an electronic textile construction kit, and a set of components such as a wireless module, various sensors and actuators ready to interface with the kit. All materials were provided to teams free of charge thanks to the generous support of IBM.


Girls ‘N’ Games

The symposium took place on May 9, 2006, at the University of California, Los Angeles, at the wake of E3—the world's largest trade show on electronic entertainment—where are the women and what do they want? Public conversations about girls and games, women's participation in game design and play with MIT professor Henry Jenkins; Brenda Laurel, chair of the Graduate Media Design Program at the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, Calif.; Nichol Bradford, global director of strategic growth at Vivendi Universal Games and numerous other speakers from Europe, Asia and North America.


Textile Messages: Dispatches from the World of Electronic Textiles and Education

The symposium took place on April 11, 2011 at the University of Pennsylvania and showcased research and designs with the LilyPad Arduino, an electronic textile construction kit, that blends together textile craft, electrical engineering and programming. Speakers inlcuded Joanna Berzowska, Leah Buechley, Michael Eisenberg, Yasmin Kafai, Maggie Orth, and Kylie Peppler. 


International Conference on Computer of the Learning Sciences

ICLS 2004, the 6th International Conference on Computer of the Learning Sciences, took place from June 22-26, 2004 in Santa Monica, CA. The theme of our conference is "Embracing Diversity in the Learning Sciences". As a field, the learning sciences have always drawn from a diverse set of disciplines to study learning in an increasingly diverse array of settings. Psychology, cognitive science, anthropology, and artificial intelligence have all contributed to the development of methodologies to study learning in schools, museums, and organizations. As the field grows, however, it increasingly recognizes the challenges to studying and changing learning environments across levels in complex social systems. This demands attention to new kinds of diversity in who, what, and how we study; and to the issues such diversity raises to developing coherent accounts of how learning occurs and can be supported in a multitude of social contexts, ranging from schools to families, and across levels of formal schooling from pre-school through higher education. The papers in these conference proceedings responded to the call.


Children’s Interactive Media Festival

In 1995 and in 1996, I organized for the Academic of Television Arts & Sciences in North Hollywood, CA, one-day events for the children’s television community about new developments in children’s interactive media.