The Interdisciplinarity of the Learning Sciences
Learning is essential to the human experience. It stands to reason, then, that many academic disciplines, whether explicitly or tacitly, investigate or make assumptions about the nature of learning. The content of what people are learning has profound implications for our understanding of the nature of the process. In addition, the theories that we propose and the assumptions that we hold fundamentally shape the questions we ask, what we notice, and what we design for. Rather than seeing these differences as impediments to progress, the field of the Learning Sciences is enhanced when we build on these debates and disagreements in order to strengthen competing claims and transform these into designs that have significant impact on learning more broadly.
The learning sciences, as a field, has historically focused on interdisciplinarity — to center learning as a phenomenon and interrogate it with different lenses. For ICLS 2020, we seek to draw on and highlight the ways our understandings of learning can be deepened by revisiting the multiple ways of looking at learning, with an eye toward opening new conversations and enriching existing ones.
With this goal in mind, we invite papers that look at central topics around issues of learning, with a special interest in analyses that highlight the sociopolitical dimensions of learning and social justice. We focus our collective attention to four areas of inquiry, including learning and identity, teaching, design, and scale, which we hope to examine through lenses of psychology, sociology, anthropology, linguistics, historiography, critical theories, and philosophy. Some of the research in our field already bridges disciplines, and we welcome papers that work synthetically about key issues. In articulating these strands, our goal is to offer visions about the topics of research that are relevant to the conference, but they are not intended to limit the possibilities for contributions.
The ICLS Conference welcomes all of the members of the Learning Sciences community regardless of your age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, nationality, immigration status, ability status, educational background, religious affiliation, or any other identity.
We recognize that we live in a unique historical context that is particularly challenging for many members of our community. The ISLS cares deeply for and stands with scholars from groups who have been historically oppressed and are now facing greater risks and injustices. We want you to know that you are appreciated and you belong here—and that we will work to support your rightful presence within the ISLS community.
We want to state strongly that we welcome and support our colleagues who are Muslim, who are immigrants, who are undocumented, who are LGBTQ2S+, and/or who are people of color.
While we cannot, as an organization, directly change state and national policies, we can and will continue to work collectively with the ISLS Board, Membership, and broader community partners to build a just and inclusive world. In the short term, we are working to ensure that anyone who cannot attend the conference due to visa challenges will have an alternative method to participate, and to ensure that those who do attend will feel welcome and safe. As a starting point, we are partnering with those in the local Nashville community who are oppressed by discriminatory policies wherever possible.
If you have questions or concerns about this promise, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Assoc. Prof. of Mathematics Education, Vanderbilt Univ.
Professor of Mathematics Education, Vanderbilt Univ.
Ewha Womans University
University of Colorado Boulder
Learning and Identity Strand
University of Washington
University of Twente