Realizing the power of CyberLearning to transform education will require vision, strategy, and an engaged, talented community. Activities are needed to energize the community, refine and sharpen the path forward, and provide a more active and ongoing forum for clarifying the big ideas and challenging questions. In response to this need, SRI International, together with the Lawrence Hall of Science and with key support from the National Geographic Society, will organize a set of activities to advance a shared vision of the future of learning, encompassing the systems, people, and technology dimensions mutually necessary for any scalable and lasting advances in education.

The innovative format for these activities is inspired by the TED talks, Wikipedia, and social networking. As in TED, a small set of leading researchers will be selected to give very short, very high quality, stimulating talks. These CyberLearning Talks will be featured at a 1-day summit meeting in Washington, DC, streamed so that local cyberlearning research communities may participate at a distance, and posted on a website. As in Wikipedia, CyberLearning Pages will be created, each page featuring a synopsis of a big idea in CyberLearning and the relevant research challenges. The 1-day conference will be followed by a small 1-day workshop focusing on how to evaluate cyberlearning efforts, identify progress, and identify important new directions. Finally, to disseminate and stimulate conversation about both the video talks and Wikipedia entries, a presence for the community will be created on social networking sites.

The target outcomes of the effort will be (i) a cyberlearning research community with participants from across the many current constituent communities, and fostered awareness and appreciation of the broad range of expertise and interests across that wider community; (ii) foundations for sustained discussion of big ideas, insights, and challenges to help this new community define a more engaged, crisper vision of its own future, (iii) a community resource that can become a site for interconnecting stakeholders in the CyberLearning community and supporting investigators in improving field-generated proposals, and (iv) an emerging sense of direction for CyberLearning among a wider audience of leaders. Such community building and awareness is expected to foster collaborations that will lead to innovative and research-grounded ways of using technology to transform education -- formal and informal and across a lifetime.

Project Report

The Cyberlearning Research Summit was a high-profile gathering on January 18, 2012 in Washington, DC, featuring top-quality research-based speakers who shared visions for the future of learning with emerging technologies. Organized by SRI International and the Lawrence Hall of Science, and hosted by the National Geographic Society, the day was filled with TED-like talks about what Cyberlearning is, what it can become, and the transformative potential it has to shape learning and our future. The core objectives of the Summit were to: Develop and articulate a clear role for emerging technology in the process of learning. Address not only an individualized or personalized view of learning, but also the equally important view of learning as social and cultural and as something that people best do together. See how the process of learning can be connected across the different settings of everyday life, allowing meaningful ties among across school, home, community and other sites of learning. Envision the necessary systems to bring learners, technologies, content, and context together in cohesive ways. Articulate new approaches to democratizing access to advanced STEM knowledge and accelerate learners’ progress along learning progressions towards deep disciplinary understandings. The Summit resulted in a high quality collection of talks, which are available for public use on the Cyberlearning Community Wiki at This site hosts a variety of information related to the Cyberlearning Research Summit, including the Summit program, speakers, and abstracts, as well as Cyberlearning Topic Pages created by a team of editors and community members. Key themes of the talks and Topic Pages included gaming, learning communities, children as creators, museums as interactive spaces, emerging technologies in robotics, augmented reality and immersive simulations, digital books, knowledge representation, social media, and educational data mining. Feedback from both in-person and webcast attendees revealed strong agreement that the Summit was a valuable investment and provided effective opportunities for learning as well as ongoing collaboration and professional development. Participants liked the Summit format (big idea talks, webcast) and the availability of interesting artifacts (graphics, videos, topic pages). Most participants planned to share the artifacts with their colleagues, and indeed, use of these artifacts in the 4 months following the Summit was high (e.g., more than 7000 views of videos of talks and 5000 visits to the Cyberlearning Community Wiki). Logistics (communications, event location, staff helpfulness) also received very high ratings. The most frequently suggested improvement was to add a second day, with fewer talks given each day to allow time for a structured period of interaction (such as breakout sessions or Q&A sessions) to increase active participation by the audience.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Information and Intelligent Systems (IIS)
Standard Grant (Standard)
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Janet L. Kolodner
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Sri International
Menlo Park
United States
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