ISDDE Newsletter November 2019

  • From the Chair
  • Educational Designer
  • New forms of communication for ISDDE
  • 2019 Conference
  • 2020 Conference
  • ISDDE Prize
  • Your ISDDE

From the Chair

Recently I overheard Hugh Burkhart talking about the difference between “research for insight” and “research for impact” and thought about the unique contributions that we as designers make to the educational ecosystem. It’s not that research focused on coming up with insights about learning and teaching doesn’t have impact, nor that there’s not insight gained by those of us designing innovations for use by learners and teachers. Rather, it’s a science and engineering difference, where different practices are employed as we engage as learning scientists and/or learning engineers. It’s a capital R, lowercase r difference where the goal of the endeavor varies. It’s a foreground/background difference, that typically results in different yields of knowledge versus tools. However, it shouldn’t be a difference in the degree of rigor brought to the research being undertaken.

Reminded of the phrase “research for impact” got me to thinking about how many don’t consider designers to be researchers (except perhaps those who engage in design research)—and that that’s a loss in that it may have the potential to contribute to different expectations about the use of rigorous practices among designers. What do you think?

Here’s hoping that all are well and that this will stimulate some discussion on your team, as it has on mine.

Jacqueline (Jacquey) Barber, Chair 2019-20

Educational Designer 13 well underway

Preparations for Issue 13 of Educational Designer are well underway, with publication expected early in 2020.  We still have space for a short contribution that reports on an interesting design of an educational event or product. An example of such an article is  "Designing a Mathematics Day" by Frans van Galen and Ronald Keijzer  which we published in 2016 at  If you have an idea for such an article, please contact Kaye before Friday 6 December.

Please also consider Educational Designer for your other professional and academic writing. As an on-line journal, Educational Designer offers a multi-media showcase to exemplify your work in a way not possible in print-first journals. Contributions from our working groups are especially welcome. A good example is "Three Design Heuristics for Enhancing the Use of Video to Improve Teaching Practice"  by Anushree Bopardikar and colleagues at  

Offers to edit a special edition of the journal are also welcome. Our recent special issue on lesson study (Issue #11 at received a lot of interest, including outside the normal ISDDE community.
Happy writing!
Kaye Stacey

Professor Emeritus Kaye Stacey, Editor-in-Chief of Educational Designer

New forms of communication for ISDDE

We are trialling some new forms of communications for the ISDDE community between conferences. If you would like to be added to the WhatsApp group or the Facebook group for general chat, news and opportunity sharing, please use the following links (feel free to add yourself to one, or both, as you wish):

Lucy Ryecroft-Smith, ISDDE Communications Lead

2019 Conference

Chris Schunn and colleagues hosted another high energy ISDDE Conference in Pittsburg in September. It was also a high output event - the full program, with many links to presentations, posters, and all five strands can be found here

Chris has singled out some highlights:

  • There were spectacular keynote presentations from Jennifer Russell (about Design for Continuous Improvement at Scale; slides), Susan McKenney (about Productive Habits for Educational Designers; slides), and Eddie prize-winner Nick Jackiw (about Geometer’s sketchpad; slides).
  • The banquet - always an integral and enjoyable part of the program - took place at a completely-renovated old Carnegie Library called the Museum Lab that features a charter middle school, artists in residence showcasing advanced Making along with an advanced Maker space, and facilities for local educational researchers and technology designers to collaborate directly with students, teachers, families, and museum staff. One of the conference strands focused on designing new ways of using such a placed-based resource, and that proved to be a powerful new collaboration space for conference attendees (slides).
  • The closing session featured a competition between the strands for most compelling 3-minute presentation. The strand group focused on Computational Thinking won based upon a clever audience-centered activity (slides).
  • The ISDDE Executive focused on the needs to better connect ISDDE Fellows and Members between the conference events, and new structures will be unfolding through the coming year.
  • Ten new ISDDE Fellows were honored at the conference. Please encourage more strong designers across the world to apply to become an ISDDE Fellow.

ISDDE conference in 2020

In 2020 the ISDDE annual conference returns to the UK and visits for the first time the home of the Shell Centre, at The University of Nottingham. The conference will be held 14 to 17 September - block out your diary!

The conference theme will be Learning 2 Design: Design 4 Learning, and it is hoped to grow our ISDDE community by reaching out to communities involved in educational design but who don't always recognise or acknowledge this aspect of their work. Full details and booking will open in January 2020.

Check in to the conference section of the ISDDE website in January to learn more.

ISDDE in the UK

The UK ISDDE group are delighted to announce the second ISDDEUK symposium on March 23 & 24 2020 in Cambridge. Teams of designers working in maths education will meet to collaborate on design issues. The draft agenda to date includes design research methods, curriculum development, research methods to enable collaborative working and models of professional development, as well as a formal dinner in Jesus College, Cambridge, and lots of opportunities to network. Enquiries to Lynne McClure.


The 2018 ISDDE prize for a single product that has had great impact in terms of educational design was presented at the annual conference in Pittsburgh USA to Nick Jackiw who developed the innovative software The Geometer’s Sketchpad. Nick gave a very stimulating and informative talk that outlined his "lifetime's" work on Sketchpad providing some fascinating insights into some of the design decisions that he made and which underpin ways in which the software works.

Having recently made a number of awards of the ISDDE prize in a relatively short time frame, including two award winners in 2017, and given forthcoming changes to the funding of the prize, the prize committee decided this year to have a hiatus whilst a new model of working is adopted.

Watch this space for further details of the ISDDE prize for excellence in design in education for science or mathematics in its new formulation in 2020.



ISSDE was formed to help those dedicated to raising the quality of design of educational processes and materials to work effectively as a coherent professional design and development community. The society's Background Paper provides information about the mission and activities of ISDDE.

Educational designers around the world are invited to consider becoming a member of ISDDE.


The ISDDE Committee does its work through several sub-committees. Please use the email links to the Chairs and those coordinating the sub-committees included if you have any matters you would like to raise for consideration at any time.

Chair: Jacquey Barber (2019-20)

Immediate Past Chair: Lynne McClure (2017-18)

Secretary: Kristen Tripet

Editorial Panel for the Journal: Kaye Stacey (Editor-in-chief), Sheila Evans (Assistant editor), Daniel Pead (Design editor), Dor Abrahamson, Frans van Galen and Wout Ottevanger (Associate editors).

Conference: Chris Schunn and colleagues.

Prize: Geoff Wake, Betty Phillips, Jacquey Barber, Peter Boon and Susan McKenney.

Communications: Lucy Ryecroft-Smith (Lead); Will Morony. (Newsletter).

Membership: Chris Schunn, Lynne McClure, Phil Daro, Leslie Dietiker and Cornelia Conway.

The ISDDE Newsletter

The ISDDE newsletter is published three times each year.

We welcome any and all feedback to help improve the newsletter; we especially welcome contributions from members of the education design community around the world.

Next edition – March 2020


Editor Will Morony

ISDDE Website