Caro Williams–Pierce, University at Albany, State University of New York,
Candace Walkington, Southern Methodist University,
David Landy, Indiana University,
Robb Lindgren, University of Illinois,
Sharona T. Levy, University of Haifa,
Mitchell J. Nathan, University of Wisconsin–Madison,
Dor Abrahamson, University of California, Berkeley,


Theories of embodied cognition push against traditional views of learning in ways that can both support and reveal learning by populations otherwise underserved. In particular, we focus on Making a Difference: Prioritizing Equity and Access in CSCL by sharing with the CSCL community our varied approaches for designing learning contexts that provide diverse students body-based entry points to STEM content. In our pursuit, we recognize that learning can often be facilitated and demonstrated in ways other than through the traditional method of spoken and written sign systems (e.g., gesture). Based upon our participants’ intellectual needs and desires, this workshop offers hands-on and immediately relevant activities involving embodied cognition and STEM.

Join Us!

The intended audience for this workshop is CSCL attendees who are looking to expand the notion of learning to further account for body-based action and communicative gesture, as opposed to how learning phenomena are generally analyzed with only spoken and written language as the primary communication method. We are also aiming for researchers who are conducting STEM research with an embodied cognition perspective, or who are new to the field but interested in better accounting for components of embodied cognition within their STEM work. In particular, we anticipate attendees who wish to engage in hands-on activities that support learning about the practicalities of doing embodied cognition research and analysis in STEM.

In order to apply, fill out by April 28, 2017.  If you have any questions, contact the first author – but if your question is I don’t know much about embodied cognition, should I still apply? then Caro’s response will be Yes!  We want a wide variety of experiences and expertise!  In short, do you find these images wonderfully interesting? If so, we encourage you to apply!

Event Description and Schedule

This workshop is designed as a full day event crafted around the participants’ interests, as determined through the online application. Applicants are asked to state: which of the STEM fields have they conducted research in, and which they are interested in; what their previous experience with embodied cognition is; what aspects of STEM and embodied cognition research they are particularly interested in learning more about (e.g., coding gesture data; coding multimodal discourse and video data; designing embodied technology interfaces such as iPads or Kinect, etc.); and whether they have artifacts or research goals they would like to contribute to.

The workshop will be designed based upon the collective responses from the application form. For example, if a participant who has become newly interested in embodied cognition would like to examine their previously collected data through a new lens that places value upon nonverbal communication, and other participants indicate interest in coding that type of data, we will organize an activity around analyzing those data, with guidance from the appropriate workshop organizer(s) to assist in developing a productive small group. Another example might be a participant who has a research question they would like to design a learning environment around – and others who would like to experience the process of designing learning environments for embodied STEM experiences. We have a strong team who can facilitate these types of experiences, as well as provide data, research questions, and design challenges if the applicants are unable to do so. We also anticipate the following broader areas of interest may emerge: how supporting STEM learning through movement can increase more equitable participation in STEM fields; the “Internet of Things” (physical and digital blending), and how it might influence learning across people who are not co-located; the role of haptic feedback (or lack thereof); the role of communicative gestures in revealing learning; the design-based research cycle when designing for embodied cognition and STEM learning; and designing embodied coordination spaces that explicitly construct and provide access to connections across and between representations.

Planned Schedule:

  • 8:30 am: Welcome; Quick framing of the workshop; Organizers’ introductions
  • 8:45 am: Minute Madness – each participant presents 1 slide about themselves in 1 minute
  • 9:15 am: Demonstration activities – the organizers will provide three different examples of STEM activities designed to support embodied learning (for example, Dr. Walkington will demo a motion capture Kinect game for learning geometry), and participants will rotate through
  • 10:00 am: Break
  • 10:15 am: Participants will be organized into small groups based upon their application forms, and engage in their first hands-on workshop
  • 12:30 pm: Lunch/break
  • 1:30 pm: Participants will be organized into different small groups based upon their application forms, and engage in their second hands-on workshop
  • 3:30 pm: Break
  • 3:45 pm: Participants will convene in small jigsaw groups and share what they learned and did thus far. The groups will be designed to be cross-cutting in a thematic way, likely by STEM content group, so that those interested in Science, for example, can share their workshop experiences and discuss the application of what they learned to embodied cognition science research
  • 4:45 pm: Small groups will share out to the whole group, and discuss ways to continue as a community after CSCL. Participants will discuss their research interests moving forwards related to embodied STEM, discuss opportunities for cross-institutional collaboration on educational research, create a list of research questions they are interested in exploring, and discuss inter-relations among different participants’ interests
  • 5:30 pm: Conclusion


Fill out by April 28, 2017.