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Strand 1: Maximising the impact of good design on educational policy and practice

Leaders: Hugh Burkhardt (Shell Centre, University of Nottingham) and Will Morony (Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers)

Of the three goals of ISDDE, "to increase the impact of good design on educational practice" has proved the most difficult challenge.  Given the complexity of education systems, this is not surprising, but the importance of the goal remains.  This strand will focus on how we might do better - the obstacles to change and the design of potential ways  to go over or around them so that the huge improvements that good design has made to education in some classrooms can become widespread.  The design of the three sessions will be agreed by the group in the first 20 minutes.  We envisage three phases: collecting examples of barriers and levers; sketching designs of strategies for influencing policy (top down; for example design-inspired/informed policy and program development) and/or classrooms directly (bottom up); sketching the structure of a paper* for Educational Designer, to be developed later from these discussions.

* A working group at the 2010 conference developed the 2012 paper "High-stakes Examination to Support Policy", which has proved influential.  See

Summary of Strand 1's work

Strand 2: 

Perspectives of Designing Curriculum for Inquiry in Mathematics and Science

Leaders: Leslie Dietiker (Boston University) and Brian Drayton (TERC)

In her article "Designing for Inquiry in School Mathematics" (Educational Designer, May 2013), Michal Yerushalmy described her experience with designing for inquiry in multiple arenas: the conceptualization of the content, the representation of the domain, tools to foster and support inquiry, tasks, and the organizational structure for mediating student engagement.  Participants of this curriculum strand will extend this work to analyze the implications for designing for an inquiry setting within these arenas. Through sharing our collective experience in design, we will begin to build a potential framework for designing for inquiry at the structure, task, and tool level.  Starting questions to be considered will be: What are the important dimensions of designing for inquiry at the task level?  At the structure level?  At the tool level?  Potential outcomes include a follow-up article to to Educational Designer or a curricular design experiment.

Summary of Strand 2's work

Strand 3: Research On, through, and In Design

Leaders: Susan McKenney (University of Twente and Open University of the Netherlands) and Tobin White (University of California, Davis)

This strand examines interactions between research and design. Our time together will be spent sharing experiences and discussing challenges related to several themes at the design-research nexus. While additional topics are welcome, at least three are likely to be addressed. First, research on design refers to studies on the design process; studies on designed artifacts and/or studies focusing on designers (their needs, competencies, habits of mind, etc.). A second theme in this strand concerns research through design. This includes design-based (implementation) research, design experiments and/or formative research where design and implementation provide the context for scientific inquiry. A third theme present in this working group is research in design. For example, how to embed robust and meaningful research into (typically fast-paced) design trajectories such that they provide sufficient grounds or decision-making? Can corners be cut? Which ones, and at what cost?

These three themes provide a general orientation to the interests of this working group. But ultimately, with time set aside for collaborative agenda-setting on the first day, the activities and outputs of this group will be determined by those who choose to attend. Depending on participant interests, the sessions might be characterized as one or more of the following: workshop, collaborative problem solving, sharing experiences, or conceptual development.

Summary of Strand 3's work

Strand 4: Designing for Learning: The Special Case of Digital Technologies

Leaders: Marie Joubert (University of Nottingham) and Sherry Hsi (Lawrence Hall of Science)

Digital learning technologies have the potential to contribute in significant ways to teaching, learning, and assessment, but this requires understanding the affordances of the digital medium and thoughtful design for their use in authentic learning environments. For example, the ways in which students respond to feedback automatically generated by computers is frequently at odds with the intentions of the designer, which presents a challenge for designers.

This strand draws on the experiences of the participants to articulate the opportunities and constraints we need to consider when designing lessons in which digital learning technologies are used by students. It further considers how to address the challenges presented by the features of digital technologies identified above and begins to make a set of recommendations for design.

Summary of Strand 4's work

Strand 5: Designing an Embedded Formative Assessment System

Leaders: Mac Cannady (Lawrence Hall of Science) and Lauren Brodsky (Lawrence Hall of Science)

The increase in the use of technology in curriculum has allowed for more opportunities to collect information regarding student performance. This data is often used as formative assessments that are then used to guide subsequent instructional moves. But how do should we present the feedback from embedded formative assessment to teachers? How do we design the integration of the feedback and the layout of the information provided to teachers to best inform instructional practice rather than serve as a short cut to assigning student grades? This strand will discuss issues in triangulating, integrating, and potentially aggregating formative assessment feedback and how that information can and should be shared with teachers. Strand participants will collectively determine: (1) what and how formative assessment information should be provided to teachers, (2) how to design formative assessments to gather the information needed, and (3) how to best design the system to provide useful and timely information for teachers. Members of this strand will prepare a document to share with ISDDE members that provides an example or guidelines for constructing an embedded formative assessment system that provides useful and timely information for teachers.

Summary of Strand 5's work