2021 ISDDE Virtual Conference
Conference Hub

ISDDE’s first virtual international day conference was held on 24th March 2021. The conference lasted approximately 10 hours across three different time zones with over 20 speakers. Here you can retrospectively visit the entire conference viewing all speakers’ input and the ensuing question and answer discussions.

Before you get started if you are new to ISDDE you might like to watch this short introductory video.

The ISDDE Prize
The Bell Burkhardt Daro Shell Centre Trust funds the annual ISDDE Prize (of US$5,000) for well documented excellence in STEM design. The overriding criterion for the prize is recognition of excellence by a wide range of designers and users. The ISDDE Prize committee were unaimous in their decision to award the 2020 prize to Professor Joe Krajcik of Michigan State University whose excellence in design of science education products is recognised around the world. Below you can view the announcement of this award and hear Joe talk about some of how design principles. ISDDE looks foward to welcoming him to give further insights into his work at the next ISDDE face-to-face conference.

The conference programme was organised into three time zones.
From here jump to:
Far East Time Zone
Europe/Africa Time Zone
Americas Time Zone

Far East Time Zone

Theme: Understanding the user
The Eastern Zone of the conference had the theme of designing with the user in mind.
Two plenary presentations addressed what it means to design education materials with the teacher in mind and with then with the student in mind. A collection of shorter design stories showcased examples of excellence in designing for specific needs of users, with contributions from across multiple countries.

Plenary session 1 – Design of education materials with the teacher in mind.

Teachers use educational resources differently. This was the focus of a collaborative project between Folk, a strategic design company, and Primary Connections, an education program at the Australian Academy of Science. Primary Connections wanted to explore how the program could improve its impact through digitisation. Folk conducted a study to observe how teachers interacted with resources and where capability development played a role. Part of the outcome from the research identified different ways that teachers wanted to engage with resources and learning content for themselves.
Key Presenter – Michael Bloom – Strategy Director, FOLK
Supporting Presenters – Claudette Bateup (Director Education, Australian Academy of Science) and Nicola Dziadkiewicz (Primary Connections Program Manager, Australian Academy of Science)
Michael Bloom is the Strategy Director at Folk, a strategic design consultancy. He helps organisations to deliver better products and services by understanding their customers and leveraging technology to deliver better experiences. His work focuses on the education, health, human services and professional services sectors.

Plenary Session 2 – Designing with Students in Mind – Design of Replacement Units
Associate Professor Yew-Hoong Leong (National Institute of Education Singapore (NIE))

What is a suitable “unit” of design – a lesson or a unit of (4-6) lessons? This talk will focus on the latter. The highlight is in the design process of “Replacement Units” which involve sustained collaborative work between teacher educators and teachers in realising ambitious-realistic goals in actual classroom settings.

Profile photo of Leong Yew HoongYew Hoong has been involved in educational design work within professional development contexts for over a decade. He was recently involved in a sizeable project on the enactment of the mathematics curriculum by Singapore secondary teachers that included a strand on the teachers’ design of instructional materials. He is an editor of the upcoming special issue in the Mathematics Education Research Journal on “Teachers as designers of instructional materials”.

Design Stories
In this session, four concurrent ‘design stories’ were presented. These particular stories focus on examples of designing with teachers and students in mind.



  • Emergent Modelling: From playing games to learning mathematics  – Ariyadi Wijaya (‪Department of Mathematics Education, Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta Indonesia)
    This presentation summarizes results of studies on the use of games for learning mathematics. The studies are aimed to describe how playing games can be used as a stepping stone to develop conceptual understanding of mathematics. The games described in this presentation are traditional or conventional games which are common in students’ daily life. Gravemeijer’s (1994) level of emergent modeling was used as the key reference to describe how students’ understanding develop from situational level – i. e. the world of the games – to formal level as the world of mathematics. Examples from elementary to senior high school levels are presented. An example from elementary school level shows how students’ understanding gradually shifts from playing marble to the concept of identical unit of standard measurement. Similarly, the use of Sudoku and Snake-and-ladder games in junior high school bring student from discussing the game playing to grasping the idea of random events and probability. Lastly, a role-playing game in senior high level could support students’ modelling activity and also mathematical creativity. To conclude, the studies reported in this presentation show the great potential of games to develop students’ conceptual understanding of mathematics. A video of this presentation can be found here.


Europe/Africa Time Zone

Theme: Designing for this day and age


12:00 – 12:50   Curriculum design for this day and age – Plenary session including keynote presentation

➔ Join plenary here: Plenary

Profile photo of Dr. Colin FosterDr. Colin Foster
Colin @colinfoster77 is a Reader in Mathematics Education in the Mathematics Education Centre at Loughborough University. His research interests focus on the learning and teaching of mathematics in ways that support students’ conceptual understanding. He is particularly interested in the design of classroom tasks that enable students to develop the necessary fluency in mathematical processes that will support them in solving mathematical problems.

Designing a completely free, fully-resourced, coherent, research-informed school mathematics curriculum
I will outline the early stages in the design work that we are doing now in the Mathematics Education Centre at Loughborough University to try to envisage how we might design a completely free, fully-resourced curriculum for lower-secondary school mathematics. I will explain the contextual features of school mathematics resourcing in England which lead us to think that this is a timely and important thing to do, and share the design principles we have arrived at from the research literature. I will also share our emerging attempts to map out a way forward.

13:00 – 13:50   “Meet the designer” interviews.

➔ Join here: Designer interviews

This session provided an opportunity to watch interviews with three designers who consider designing for this day and age from three different perspectives.
Dr. Nellie Mbano, University of Malawi, Malawi –  Science Education
Professor Zsolt Lavicza, Johannes Kepler University Linz , Austria and Geogebra developer – Mathematics Education
Professor Rupert Wegerif, Cambridge University, UK,  – provides insights into design vision in relation to his work as Director of  the newly lanched Digital Education Futures Initiative

Profile photo of Dr. Nellie MbanoDr. Nellie Mbano
Nellie is a senior lecturer in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching Studies, Faculty of Education, Chancellor College, University of Malawi. She has a PhD in Science Education and teaches biology education. Her research interests include teaching thinking skills, gender and science education and building communities of practice in science education. She has coauthored secondary school biology textbooks.

Profile photo of Professor Zsolt LaviczaProfessor Zsolt Lavicza
Zsolt  has worked on several research projects examining technology and mathematics teaching in classroom environments in Michigan and Cambridge. In addition, Zsolt has contributed greatly to the development of the GeoGebra community and participated in developing research projects on GeoGebra and related technologies worldwide. Currently, he is Professor in STEM Education Research Methods at Johannes Kepler University’s Linz School of Education where he works on numerous research projects worldwide related to technology integration into schools. Zsolt  leads the doctoral programme in STEM Education; teaches educational research methods worldwide; and coordinates research projects within the International GeoGebra Institute.

Profile photo of Professor Rupert WegerifProfessor Rupert Wegerif
Rupert is Professor of Education at the University of Cambridge and director of the Digital Education Futures Initiative at Hughes Hall, Cambridge. His research focuses on designing education for dialogue in the context of the Internet Age. He researches dialogic theory in education and ways of teaching through dialogue and teaching for dialogue in classrooms with technology. He is  co-lead with Sara Hennessy of the Cambridge Educational Dialogue Research group (CEDiR) and co-convenor of the argumentation, reason and dialogue Special Interest Group (SIG) of the European Association of Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI).

14:00 – 14:50   Panel and discussion

➔ Join panel here: Panel

Panelists will give brief thought-provoking insight into “Designing for a (more) equitable future”.
The session will include an opportunity to discuss with colleagues in breakout groups and with the presenter and other participants in joint session.
Dr. Marta Romero Ariza, Universidad de Jaén, Spain – Science Education
Faith Moynihan, designer, Desmos – teaching and learning mathematics digital platform. USA
Dr. James Calleja, University of Malta, Malta – Mathematics Education
Dr. Lynn Bowie, Visiting Associate, Wits University, South Africa

Profile photo of Dr. Marta Romero ArizaDr. Marta Romero Ariza
Marta Romero Ariza is Associate Professor at the Department of Didactics of Sciences in the University of Jaen, passionate about science and education. She accompanies teachers in the process of improving STEM teaching and learning through design-based research.
Designing for meaningful participation in today’s society
What does a person need to appreciate, learn and being able to do in relation to science and mathematics to fully participate in today’s societies? Does a unique design meet everyone’s needs and capacities? Are we working on an equitable future for all? How could we bring authenticity and relevance into STEM educational design? Is there space for co-design and co-creation?

Profile photo of Faith MoynihanFaith Moynihan
In her career as a math teacher, Faith has taught in a diverse set of schools. In each of her classrooms Desmos has been the equalizer that helped ignite curiosity and spark rich, mathematical conversations. At Desmos Faith brings her passions to life by creating delightful lessons for students and teachers to use math to explore and represent the world around them.
Technology and curriculum design for equitable classroom experiences. 
How do we create an equitable learning culture where all students see themselves as powerful and valuable learners? Faith will explore ways technology and curriculum design can help us elicit, celebrate, and build on student thinking to foster more equitable classrooms.

Profile photo of Dr. James CallejaDr. James Calleja
James Calleja PhD (Nottingham, UK) is a lecturer at the Faculty of Education, University of Malta. He leads the Collaborative Lesson Study Malta (www.clestum.eu) project and his research interests include mathematics education, teacher learning, lesson study and the design of continuing professional development.
Designing professional development for just-in-time learning
The concept of just-in-time learning (JITL) involves providing support that is responsive and applicable to the needs of educators. In this presentation, JITL and its application to professional development (PD) programmes is discussed, and suggestions for PD designers to give explicit attention to JITL will be offered.

Profile photo of Dr. LynBowieDr. Lynn Bowie
Lynn Bowie is a Visiting Associate at the University of Witwatersrand and the mathematics coordinator at OLICO Mathematics Education, an NGO supporting learners in South African schools in mathematics. She holds a PhD in Mathematics Education and has taught mathematics at all levels from primary school through to university mathematics.
Designing against disadvantage
In South Africa the poorest 60% of students are estimated to be about 4 years behind their expected grade level in Mathematics by the time they enter high school. In combination with this schools are bound to follow a prescriptive national curriculum (both in scope and sequencing) which means these learners often face content they do not have the prerequisite knowledge to deal with. Lynn will discuss the design of a learning programme aimed at supporting learners to succeed in high school Mathematics that navigates the tensions imposed by these competing demands.

14:50 – 15:00   Wrap-up

➔ Join wrap-up here: Wrap-up

Americas Time Zone
11:30 – 15:00 (Note all times are EDT=UTC-4)


Theme: Designing for equity

11:30 – 12:00    ISDDE introduction to the Society and the Conference
(1630h CET, 1530h GMT, 10:30a CDT, 19:30a MDT, 8:30a PDT)

Welcome by:

  • Geoff Wake of University of Nottingham,
  • Christian Schunn of University of Pittsburgh, and
  • Lynne McClure of Cambridge Mathematics

Special presentation to ISDDE prize winner, Joseph Krajcik of Michigan State University, will provide insight into his work in designing for effective learning in science education.

➔ Join here: Conference introduction

12:00 – 12:25 pm Keynote Presentation
Robert Berry, University of Virginia, USA.
Challenges for designers seeking racial equity and social justice in mathematics education
(17h CET, 16h GMT, 11a CDT, 10a MDT, 9a PDT)

➔ Join here: Introduction, Plenary, and Discussion

Profile photo of Dr Robert BerryDr. Robert Berry
Robert Q. Berry III Ph.D. is the Samuel Braley Gray Professor of Mathematics Education, the Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the School of Education at the University of Virginia, and the immediate Past President of NCTM.  His research and teaching focuses on equity issues in mathematics education.

Meet other conference participants, discuss the presentation, and generate a question for Dr. Berry with other conference participants.

Moderated interactive conversation with Robert Berry based upon questions emerging in breakout rooms.

1:00 – 1:25 pm PANEL OF DESIGNERS

➔ Join here: Introduction, Panel Videos, and Panel Discussion

A montage presentation of short contributions from a panel of 5 educational designers from the field. Each panelist’s video is short inspiring presentation of how they have been designing for different aspects of equity.
(18h CET, 17h GMT, 12p CDT, 11a MDT, 10a PDT)

Xi “CiCi” Yu
Xi Yu is a High School Math Teacher in Cambridge Public Schools. She co-founded Play With Your Math and is starting to blog at DismantlingMathematics.com.

Equitable engagement and community building strategies when webcams aren’t on
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, many colleagues reported having trouble engaging with students who chose not to turn on their webcams for virtual class. Rather than mandate that students turn on their webcams, which opens up a slew of equity issues, I developed a collection of engagement and community-building strategies for virtual learning without the need for webcams.

Profile photo of Eli LuberoffEli Luberoff
Eli Luberoff is the Founder and CEO of Desmos, Inc., a math technology company used by millions of students and teachers around the world. Before Desmos, Eli founded a tutoring software platform, and studied Math and Physics at Yale.

Equity in design product and designing processes
By repeatedly asking “what voices are missing?” and “who might this harm?”, we aim to build equitable products but also equitable structures inside and outside of our organization. This has led to updating our list of example mathematicians, building accessibility for vision-impaired and blind students, and building hiring processes that counter systemic bias in the tech industry.

Profile photo of Dr Crystal MenziesDr. Crystal Menzies
Crystal Menzies is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Learning Research and Development Center, where she focuses on equity in mathematics instruction and instructional coaching. Her research and design work specializes in operationalizing Community Cultural Wealth in diverse educational contexts. 

Resolving the conflict in being culturally responsive across wildly varying cultural contexts
The presentation will describe design strategies that were used to insure maintaining high quality outcomes in a college access curriculum that was meant to be national in scope but culturally responsive in character across wildly varying cultural contexts.

A photo of Dr Benjamin Dickman holding a bookDr. Benjamin Dickman
Benjamin Dickman received his Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from Columbia and was as a Postdoc at Boston University. Benjamin is currently a math teacher and teacher coach at a girls day school in New York City.  

Centering teaching tolerance social justice standards in an Algebra 2 course
A wide range of factors demand a rethinking of how mathematics courses are designed. I have incorporated the Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards into an Algebra 2 course while continuing to deepen student algebraic content knowledge.

Profile photo of Dr Eve ManzDr. Eve Manz
Dr. Manz works closely with elementary teachers, instructional leaders, and interdisciplinary teams of researchers to develop new approaches to science teaching and learning that center student and teacher sense-making. Her work has been funded by the James S. McDonnell Foundation, the Kellogg Foundation, and an early career research grant from the National Science Foundation.

Elementary science units that integrate criticality and justice within full day curricula
I will describe curriculum units created by an interdisciplinary team that (1) honor the diverse perspectives and experiences children bring to science and engineering, (2) help them connect science and engineering to meaningful questions, projects, and products, and (3) foster attention to criticality and justice from the earliest years of schooling.

Participants can submit questions via chat for panelists to discuss.


➔ Join here: Design Challenge in Breakout Rooms

Work in small groups on possible solutions to current pressing design challenges posed by our panel.
(19h CET, 18h GMT, 1p CDT, 12p MDT, 11a PDT)

The options:

  • Assessing Participation—What are equitable approaches to encouraging, validating, and quantifying student participation?
  • Designing for Social Justice in Advanced Mathematics—How do we design lessons for Social Justice aimed for an advanced topic, such as the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra?
  • Centering Equity in Design Teams—How do get your whole design team to embrace (rather than reject) anti-racism strategies in the (re)design work?
  • Course Design—How can the four questions Benjamin Dickman proposed be applied for courses other than Algebra 2, and what new questions might be beneficial?

2:50 – 3:00pm   A ‘live’ wrap-up in webinar mode. Join the world community of educational designers. Visit the presentations from the other times zones; highlights briefly summarized here. Join us at our next physical conference, which will include a full presentation by ISDDE prize winner Joseph Krajcik.

➔ Join here: Wrap-up