epiSTEME 6




Call for Papers

epiSTEME is a biennial conference reviewing research in science, technology and mathematics education. It is organized by the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE), Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India. The 2015 conference (December 15-18, 2015) will be held at the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Mumbai, and will be jointly organised by HBCSE and the Educational Technology program, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IITB).


Submission themes for the conference include Historical, Philosophical and Socio-cultural studies, Cognitive and Affective Studies, and Curriculum and Pedagogical Studies. This year's conference will have a focus theme - the rapidly emerging field of novel participatory and interactive media for science learning and discovery (such as video/computer games, augmented reality models, virtual environments, tangible models & simulations, trackable animations & videos, etc.), the new cognitive vistas opened up by these innovations, the implications of these inventions and related theoretical ideas for Science, Technology and Mathematics Education (STME), and methods for evaluating learning based on such systems. See the overview section at the end of the call for more details on this theme.

Apart from New Media, three broad strands of research that impact STME form the core of the conference. Themes have been identified under each strand to reflect active research topics and areas of interest. Leading scholars will give overviews of some of the themes within each strand. Paper and poster sessions will complement the review talks. Pre and post conference workshops are being planned, the details of which will be announced later. The conference will include about 8-10 review talks, paper presentations and poster presentations. Additionally, time will be allocated for discussion sessions on STME issues of current importance. Approximately 120 participants are expected. The strands and themes are as below:

Strand 1. Historical, Philosophical and Socio-cultural Studies of STM: Implications for Education
Theme 1: History and Philosophy of STM
Theme 2: Socio-cultural and Gender Issues in STME
Theme 3: Science and Technology Studies

Strand 2. Cognitive and Affective Studies of STME
Theme 1: Visuo-spatial Thinking
Theme 2: Knowledge Representation
Theme 3: Language and Learning
Theme 4: Problem Solving, Learning and Reasoning

Strand 3. Curriculum and Pedagogical Studies in STME
Theme 1: Assessment and Evaluation
Theme 2: Role of ICT in Teaching-Learning
Theme 3: Classroom Interaction and Discourse
Theme 4: Affective Aspects of Learning
Theme 5: Professional Development of Teachers
Theme 6: Educational Initiatives and Innovations

Strand 4. New Media and STME
Theme 1: New media designs for teaching/learning STME
Theme 2: Theories and models of learning based on New Media
Theme 3: Methods and analytics for evaluating learning based on New Media
Theme 4: New policy and institutional structures offered/required by New Media

Review Speakers

Douglas Allchin, University of Minnesota, USA
Gautam Biswas, Vanderbilt University, USA
Paul Cobb, Vanderbilt University, USA
David Hestenes, Arizona State University, USA
Stephen Jull, GeoGebra Team, UK
Savita Ladage, HBCSE (TIFR), India
David Landy, Indiana University, USA

Call for Submissions

Papers are invited on the themes listed above. Submissions must be made online in the form of full papers of 6-8 pages (maximum of 8 pages including references). Details and a template for submission are available for download on the conference website.

All submissions go through a double-blind review process. Accepted papers are published in the Proceedings, distributed during the conference and would also available for download from the conference site. Review talks, along with the discussions, are documented in a series of volumes titled The epiSTEME Reviews.

To enable blind review, authors' names, contact details and the title of the paper must be provided separately, and must not be included in the papers. There are two modes of paper presentation at the Conference: oral and poster. The academic committee will assign accepted papers to one of the two modes of presentation. Authors may indicate their preference for mode of presentation at the time of submission.

Dates to Remember

Submission of full paper/poster write-up: June 15, 2015
Notification of acceptance: August 15, 2015
Submission of camera-ready copy + Registration of one author: October 01, 2015
Dates of conference: December 15-18, 2015

Participation Without Paper Submission

Those who wish to participate in the Conference without submitting a paper can register as "attendee" using the registration form on the conference website.

Conference Registration Fees (Includes accommodation, all meals, conference materials)

Foreign participants: 500 US dollars
Foreign participants (students): 250 US dollars
Indian participants: 5000 Rupees
Indian participants (students): 2500 Rupees


Previously known as Bombay, Mumbai is India's most cosmopolitan city and its finance and business capital. It is the home of the entertainment industry, popularly known as Bollywood. Mumbai is a vibrant city with a rich history and many types of sightseeing opportunities, such as the Elephanta and Kanheri caves and the Colaba and Crawford markets. It is also well connected to all the major tourist attractions in India.


Sanjay Chandrasekharan, (HBCSE, TIFR)
Sahana Murthy, (IIT Bombay)
Email: episteme6@hbcse.tifr.res.in
Web: http://episteme6.hbcse.tifr.res.in
Fax: 91-22-2556 6803, 2558 5660,
Tel: 91-22-2507 2100, 25580036 (HBCSE)
Tel: 91-22-25072212, 25072225 (epiSTEME 6)

Academic Committee

Sanjay Chandrasekharan (Convenor)
Sugra Chunawala
Sridhar Iyer
Savita Ladage
Sahana Murthy (Convenor)
G. Nagarjuna
Jayashree Ramadas
K. Subramaniam

Local Organizing Committee

Sanjay Chandrasekharan (Convenor)
Sugra Chunawala
Geetanjali Date
Madhavi Gaitonde
Sridhar Iyer
Aditi Kothiyal
Rwitajit Majumdar
Sahana Murthy (Convenor)
Prajakt Pande
K. Subramaniam
Aniket Sule

Focus Theme Overview: New Computational Media and Education

Historically, oral learning practices were replaced by the rise of cheap print media (text and graphics), which radically reshaped most teaching/learning practices associated with oral traditions, such as memorising of Latin/Arabic/Sanskrit verses. It has been argued that the practice of science and mathematics would not have been possible without print media. More broadly, the current pedagogical and institutional mechanisms, such as standardised curricula, lecture-driven classrooms, written-exams, and certification, are shaped by the nature of print media.

Similar to print media reshaping oral knowledge and learning traditions, the rise of computing is leading to the emergence of a powerful new media system that is inherently dynamic, interactive, participatory and social-features not readily provided by static print media. These powerful features of new computing media allow re-imagining current curricular, pedagogical and institutional mechanisms.

The possibilities offered by new computational media is well-understood by educationists. However, while representations based on computing systems have been developed and used in the education context for more than thirty years, they have not led to any significant difference in learning, pedagogy or institutional structure, particularly in relation to science and mathematics.

Does this mean that new computational media are irrelevant to the teaching and learning of science and mathematics, and print is 'as good as it gets' as a medium for teaching/learning these topics? If yes, what aspects of print make it this ideal medium? What are the cognitive capacities that are developed/accentuated by these ideal aspects of print media? If not, what are the new possibilities offered by the emerging computational media?

Different from the traditional approaches to the use of computing in science education, which emphasised displaying multiple representations on screen, recent work in computing media exploits the enactive, agentive, interactive, collaborative and social aspects of computational media, where learners can actively control and create representations, often in groups, and get social and institutional recognition from this activity. Video games such as Foldit and EteRNA provide a quasi-apprenticeship experience, and allow groups of gamers to publish papers with scientists in top journals. Galaxy Zoo allows novice astronomers to work with real astronomy data, and publish in peer-reviewed astronomy journals. Manipulation-based interactive learning platforms such as GeoGebra and DragonBox allow mathematics concepts to be learned in an enactive way, by executing actions on screen.

Standing back from these individual applications, the new area of scientific discovery games seems to work by re-representing conceptual knowledge as visualizations that can be manipulated through a set of actions. In activity-based-learning, conceptual knowledge is gained through actions, via the manipulation of models, physical artifacts and computational models. The successful applications outlined above, both in learning and discovery, suggest that there is a close connection between conceptual knowledge and action-based knowledge.

One way to understand this connection is to consider the new computational representations as 'action-spaces', where learners can execute actions and learn from feedback, as well as build new structures and make discoveries. Developing this view as a theoretical perspective requires a radical shift in the notion of representation. Particularly, it requires moving away from the currently dominant language-inspired ideas of representation, which emphasise a transmission structure, where representations are carriers that encode information. Consequently, teaching and learning become broadcasting and reception of information packets. The action-space view requires moving to an action-centered understanding of science, where learning and discovery are combined, and both emerge from practices.

Questions for the New Media theme

The action-space view of representations, and the new computational media that require this shift in perspective, raise a number of questions:

~ What new cognitive possibilities are offered by this new 'New Media 2.0' and the action-space perspective, compared to the old computational applications in education?

~ How could these cognitive possibilities be exploited systematically for STME education?

~ What challenges do these media pose to the current pedagogical and institutional mechanisms?

~ What are the policy implications of the quasi-apprenticeship features provided by these media?

~ Would it be possible to redesign the certification model to accommodate this approach to learning?

~ How could the participatory features of these media help in reaching the less affluent and educated sections of the society?

~ How could these features help promote equity and diversity in the classroom?

~ What new methods are required for evaluating learning based on these technologies?

~ What theoretical models are required to understand/exploit the cognitive possibilities offered by these media?

The new media theme of epiSTEME 6 invites papers discussing these and related issues, building on rigorous theoretical, empirical or design research. We also invite papers that critically examine the idea that representations play a central role in education, which is the significant premise underlying the development of new media for education. As a new feature, demos from designers and new media practitioners, including instructional designers and online content developers, would also be invited.

The objective is to critically examine, and explore, the new computational media and its possibilities, by bringing together media designers, theorists and educationists.

Important dates

Paper submission: June 15, 2015
Paper decisions: August 15, 2015
Camera-ready paper + one author registration: October 01, 2015