ISDDE Newsletter April 2019

  • From the Chair
  • Educational Designer
  • 2019 Conference
  • Nominations open for the ISDDE Prize in 2019
  • An article about designers
  • Your ISDDE

From the Chair

Greetings from California, where the season is beginning to change from wet to dry. The trees are in blossom and we are seeing and hearing different kinds of birds as they follow the movement of their ideal temperature zone north. I hope that you are enjoying whatever seasonal transition that is happening on your part of our planet!

The Executive team has received some terrific ideas for expanding the frequency of communication within the ISDDE community, taking advantage of technology and/or increasing the number of small regional events. We would like your feedback on these ideas, and any other input you have for ways to extend deep conversations with design colleagues in between the annual conferences. To that end, and as promised, here is a link to a membership-wide survey. It will only take you 5 minutes to complete. The survey will gather broad input on the possibility of establishing: more regional gatherings; new asynchonous communication channels across the ISDDE community; as well as other ways you would like ISDDE to grow. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey to ensure that we get your input!

I am hoping to see you in Pittsburgh this coming September for the 2019 ISDDE conference. I got a peek at the plans, and it promises to be both exciting and timely. For those of you who have not been to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania before, it is a wonderful city, rich in history as well as regional food and drink.

Jacqueline (Jacquey) Barber, Chair 2019-20

Educational Designer 12 is now available

The latest issue of Educational Designer, ISDDE’s free, online journal is now available at This issue contains four contributions related to the third goal of ISDDE - to increase our impact on educational practice.

  • Hugh Burkhardt (UK) provides an analysis of the problem of making impact
  • Zalman Usiskin (USA), 2017 ISDDE Lifetime Achievement Awardee intertwines themes of the beauty and deep interconnections in mathematics with serendipity in his long career.
  • Berenice Michels & Harrie Eijkelhof (The Netherlands) describe the creation of ‘Nature, Life and Technology’ an interdisciplinary STEM upper secondary subject.
  • Tobin White and colleagues (USA) are designing tools to support student participation in mathematically rich collaborative activities.

If you would like to contribute to a future Educational Designer please start by reading the guide to contributors – then feel free to contact the editors for further advice.

Kaye Stacey, Editor-in-Chief

2019 Conference

Design for the Future, the ISDDE 2019 Annual Conference being held at the University of Pittsburgh, Sept 16-19, will highlight new and emerging challenges in STEM educational design.

Convenor Christian Schunn and his team would like to announce a number of developments:

  • Keynote Speakers covering topics including design at scale, design of research-practice partnerships in informal science and the design of The Geometer's Sketchpad
  • New strands for extended small-group work during the Conference:
    • computational thinking
    • leading design groups
    • a design challenge provided by a local educational institutional

Registration will open in May.

Nominations now open for the ISDDE Prize in 2019

The prestigious ISDDE 2019 Prize of $5,000 is offered for a substantial body of work, by an individual or a team, over a period of years that shows excellence in design for education in science or mathematics.

Nominations are solicited from Fellows, Members, and friends of ISDDE. Do not nominate a designer that belongs to the institution from which you receive compensation. Your initial nomination should describe the range of work and describe what it has achieved. In a separate paragraph, explain why you admire it. This should be no more than two pages in length. Please email to 

In awarding The Prize the judges will seek excellence in the art and science of design in education.  The overriding criterion will be recognition of excellence by a wide range of designers and users but will be further informed by evidence, formal or informal, of:

  • aspects of design that have moved the field of educational design forward
  • aspects of design that have moved the field of mathematics and/or science education forward
  • achievement of specific goals for improved outcomes
  • use of research and the value of resulting insights
  • systematic development through trials with well-identified target groups of users
  • valuable unanticipated outcomes related to transformative effects in use
  • surprise and delight – as in all good art

We will be working to the following timetable:

Closing date for initial nominations:  May 31st  2019

Closing date for final submissions:  July 15th 2019

Announcement of the award: September 2019 at the ISDDE Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

See the ISDDE website for further information about the nomination process and to read about previous winners.

Full announcement at

ISDDE UK meeting

Those of you who were lucky enough to attend the 2018 ISDDE conference in Galway will recall the conversations about the possibility of additional localised ISDDE events. The idea was partly to span the wide time gap between that conference and the next in Pittsburgh in the autumn, and partly to raise the national profiles of ISDDE.

Lynne McClure reports that the first ISDDE get together in the UK has been held in Cambridge. Design teams working in the Mathematics education space came together for a two day symposium. Geoff Wake set the scene by asking some of the big questions about design research. Various teams then shared their own projects and considered those questions in the light of their own work and that of others. The group anticipates producing a short report on the symposium.

It is hoped that this will be the first of many such events in the UK where designers can enjoy hearing about, and learning from, those working in the field. Perhaps designers in other countries can replicate the UK event in the coming months and years.

An article about designers

ISDDE Fellows Susan McKenney and Christian Schunn have recently published an article about designers in the British Educational Research Journal (Vol. 44, No. 6, December 2018, pp. 1084–1100).

How can educational research support practice at scale? Attending to educational designer needs

The link with ISDDE is clear in Susan and Chris' description of the work:

“We base the position presented here on our years of experience in design, as well as experiences in educating, supporting, researching and leading communities of educational designers. Specifically, the ideas presented here have grown out of:

  1. extensive conversations with designers;
  2. surveys conducted within ISDDE (e.g. about designer needs, conference focus preferences and desired characteristics of the society's journal, Educational Designer); and
  3. our own experiences with teaching and studying educational design.”



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: Will Morony, David Kumar.

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

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 – June 2019


Editor Will Morony

ISDDE Website

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