October 9, 2023

Exploring AI in Learning & Imagining Alternative AI Futures: CLS 2023 Plenaries Announced!

Categories: Connected Learning, Digital Learning, Edtech, Educational Practice, Featured, Research, Youth Well-Being

The Connected Learning Alliance is looking forward to our community of progressive educators, researchers, and technologists gathering to exchange learnings and ideas in the upcoming Connected Learning Summit. It is an annual gathering of innovators harnessing emerging technology to expand access to participatory, playful, and creative learning. This year’s summit will be held from October 26-28 as a fully online event in order to welcome attendees worldwide.

This year’s plenary sessions will feature internationally-regarded experts sharing their perspectives and learnings on the rise of AI and algorithms in the connected learning space. Our opening plenary sessions begin our two separate time zone blocks – keyed to Asia/Australia, and US/Europe.

October 26, 2023: Opening Plenary (Asia/Australia) 

AI and Algorithms for Connected Learning: This plenary panel explores the increasing role played by AI and algorithms in learning. Generative AI has been 2023’s ‘break out’ technology, but AI has played a role in education for several years and will continue to disrupt learning and education in small and more obvious ways. Meanwhile we live within algorithmic cultures that play an important role in how we experience everything from what we watch on television, to the music we listen to, to the clothes we buy online, and what we learn on video sharing platforms. This panel will discuss the current state of play for AI and algorithms and how they intersect with learning in positive and problematic ways.

The discussion will be moderated by Michael Dezuanni, Program Leader for Digital Inclusion and Participation for Queensland University of Technology’s Digital Media Research Centre. Panelists include:

Maarten de Laat, Professor of Augmented and Networked Learning and co-director at the Centre for Change and Complexity in Learning (C3L), University of South Australia. His research focuses on augmented learning and value creation in social networks. He uses practice-based research methodologies to study the impact technology, AI, learning analytics and social design has on the way social networks and communities work, learn and innovate.





Louisa Bartolo, student member of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society. She specializes in the policies surrounding digital platforms’ algorithmic recommender systems and was one of the experts who fed into the discussions for the Australian E-Safety Commissioner’s recent position statement on algorithmic recommendation. Prior to her PhD, she worked at the major UK children’s charity, The Diana Award, developing and delivering a youth-directed educational toolkit on tackling online hate speech.




Karley Beckman, Senior lecturer in Digital Technologies for Learning in the School of Education at the University of Wollongong. Karley’s research investigates children, young people and adult learners’ technology practice through a sociological framing to critically engage with issues of digital inequality, digital literacy and toward developing a theoretically informed understanding of the place of technology in our lives. Her current research investigates datafication and artificial intelligence within school and higher education educational contexts.




October 27, 2023: Opening Plenary (US/Europe)

Our main conference opens with Imaging Alternative Futures: What Roles for AI? 

This plenary panel inverts the usual question often asked about what AI will look like in the future. Instead, we want to center the kinds of images of the future that we might work toward – futures that are just, that enable new forms of creative expression, that enable new possibilities for learning – and then ask, “What should the roles of AI be in those futures?” It will be an opportunity for panelists to share their own imaginaries, approaches to bringing those imaginaries into being, and envision roles for AI within them.

The discussion will be moderated by Bill Penuel, Distinguished Professor of Learning Sciences and Human Development in the School of Education and Institute of Cognitive Science at the University of Colorado Boulder. Panelists include:


Michael Alan Chang, postdoctoral researcher at UC Berkeley and the NSF Institute for Student-AI Teaming (iSAT). Michael creates and studies cooperative and participatory design contexts with historically minoritized youth, their families, and teachers, and then creates design frameworks and tools that support interdisciplinary teams of computer scientists and education researchers in realizing visions articulated in the co-design space. More particularly, he has expertise in creating co-design contexts that support dreaming about K-12 schools beyond the status quo, and the role that artificial intelligence might have in making those dreams a reality.



Dr. Nettrice R. Gaskins, an African American digital artist, academic, cultural critic and advocate of STEAM fields. In her work she explores “techno-vernacular creativity” and Afrofuturism. Currently, Dr. Gaskins is a 2021 Ford Global Fellow and the assistant director of the Lesley STEAM Learning Lab at Lesley University. She is an advisory board member for the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech. Her first full-length book, Techno-Vernacular Creativity and Innovation is available through The MIT Press. Gaskins’ AI-generated artworks can be viewed in journals, magazines, museums, and on the Web.





Dr. Mark Riedl, a professor in the Georgia Tech School of Interactive Computing and Associate Director of the Georgia Tech Machine Learning Center. Dr. Riedl’s research focuses on human-centered artificial intelligence—the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies that understand and interact with human users in more natural ways. Dr. Riedl’s recent work has focused on story understanding and generation, computational creativity, explainable AI, and teaching virtual agents to behave safely.





In addition to these compelling plenary sessions, the Connected Learning Summit will feature inspiring keynote talks, engaging workshops and roundtables, featured showcases and research papers, and thematic pre-conference meetups.

Register today for the Summit and view our full schedule now!