Thematic sections


Sociocultural approaches to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education.

The aims of the ISCAR special section in STEM education are to

• Facilitate communication between people interested in STEM Education;
• Develop understanding of scientific concepts within a sociocultural framework;
• Support professional development of educators and researchers;
• Cooperate with academics, researchers, teachers and professionals worldwide, who have contributed to a review of research in the area of STEM Education;
• Communicate with each other to exchange ideas and methods about the development of scientific skills, understandings and competences;
• Create a forum to enrich science education policies with a strong sociocultural perspective.
• Create groups within the ISCAR community to offer symposia and workshops at conferences ensuring a sustainable co-operation.
• Develop an individual/collective identity among members of the ISCAR community interested in STEM Education.
Formal/Informal STEM
We hope to make STEM Education a way of human development in order to act for peace, sustainable development and public understanding. Relevant studies may cover a wide range of topics and situations: both inside educational institutions (from the early childhood till university, including in-service training for actors of education), and in all societal “informal” settings where learning, culture and social interactions occur (for example museums, science centres, environmental parks, families, kindergarten).
Researchers, Science Educators, Teachers, PhD Students, Maths, Pedagogies, Applied Linguistics, Psychologies, ICTs in science and Maths education.
For Membership of the ISCAR-STEM section please write to Katerina Plakitsi (As. Prof. of Science Education, School of Education, University of Ioannina, Greece).
Engeström, Y. (2001) Expansive Learning at Work: toward an activity theoretical reconceptualization. Journal of Education and Work, 14(1), 133-156, DOI:10.1080/13639080020028747.
Fleer, M., Hedegaard, M. (2010). Children’s development as participation in everyday practices across different institutions. Mind, Culture and Activity, 17:2, 149-168, DOI:10.1080/10749030903222760.
Roth, W.-M., Lee, S. (2004). Science education as/for participation in the community. Science Education, 88, 2, 263-291, DOI 10.1002/sce.10113.
Tobin, K. (2011). Global reproduction and transformation of science education. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 6, DOI: 10.1007/s11422-010-9293-3.
Sylvie Barma, Science Education Professor, Laval University, Québec, Canada.



The purpose of this section is to create a forum for researchers who are interested in developmental psychology and childhood, with a special focus on using activity theory and the cultural-historical research approach as a way to unite these two opposing approaches to the study of children. Developmental psychology has often been characterised historically as the study of ‘the general child’, with a focus on developing a model that can be used to evaluate individual children and their changing relation to society as they grow up. Childhood studies have focused on the study of children anchored in historical time and settings; such approaches are more commonly found within anthropological and sociological traditions, especially those that focus on situated and localised practice with children. Cultural-historical approaches seek to unite the general principles in relation to historical time and place.

For Membership of the CHACDOC section write to Mariane Hedegaard (Professor of Developmental Psychology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark)

& Updates

For the program for the upcoming preconference from the CHACDOC section at ISCAR Conference Rome 2011 “An analytical approach to children’s perspectives based on Cultural-Historical and activity conceptions” see:


For information about the past and forthcoming meetings of CHACDOC section see:







Prof. Mariane Hedegaard

Developmental Psychology, Department of Psychology

University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Faculty of Education
Monash University, Australia



This section aims to bring together researchers and practitioners involved with the use of AT-based methods for the design and evaluation of computer software and hardware, information systems, human-computer interaction, computer-supported cooperative work, and computer-based work processes generally. We hope to promote and support an exciting and innovative multidisciplinary discourse which recognizes that the practical application of activity theory to the development of technology transcends traditional boundaries between the theoretical and applied sciences, and between science, art, and design.

ATIT is a growing international movement. Our hope is that this section will bring together and support the many existing ISCAR members with interests in the field, and also attract new members from relevant disciplines such as computer science, information systems, software engineering, ergonomics, applied psychology, etc.

Expected activities

We hope to organize workshops, Symposia, Seminars and Special Sessions and courses on ATIT, both independently and in association with ISCAR conferences and activities. We also hope to produce publications associated with ATIT section activities; ATIT newsletter/ mailing list/Web site; contributions on ATIT to ISCAR newsletter, etc. Please contact us with your suggestions for section activities.


The ATIT section is organized by Olav Bertelsen at Aarhus University, Denmark and Steve Harris at the University of Glamorgan, UK. For more information, to offer comments and suggestions, and/or to add your details to our mailing list, please contact Steve Harris




The purpose of this section is to act as a forum for scholars and practitioners who seek to ground their work with atypical populations in cultural, institutional and historical practices. Rather than investigating either neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g., autism, syndromes) or acquired disorders (e.g., head trauma, stroke), those participating in this section are concerned with the contribution of atypical yet functional uses of mediational means for personal development. As such, the goal is to provide a forum for those who while acknowledging the biology of human functioning, wish to focus on the cultural, institutional and historical situatedness of human action. Thus, members of this section seek to contribute to the ongoing ISCAR dialogue that provides theoretical and methodological languages that support research on the cultural and functional aspects of human mental functioning in populations who are frequently characterized by either atypical or acquired neurological differences.


Themes include but are not limited to communication, development, discourses, gerontology, identity, learning, work and workforce transitions.


ISCAR members who conduct research, educate and/or treat atypical populations (e.g., audiology, deaf education, social work, special education, speech-language pathology) may especially be interested in joining this section.


For more information: Fran Hagstrom




The central themes in focus for this section are the theoretical problems of cultural-historical and activity theory starting with the psychophysical problem and theoretical definition of life and psyche ending with ’tool and sign‘ problem, language, free will, ideality etc.

We also focus attention on applying dialectical analysis to theoretical, methodological and practical research problems with an interest in their utility for explaining diverse educational, political, cultural, sociological, historical and economic phenomena.

Our theoretical search will be based in part on ideas from L.S.Vygotsky, A.N.Leont‘ev and A.R.Luria and in part from ideas of such philosophers as Plato, Spinoza, Hegel, Marx and Ilyenkov as well as on all other philosophers and psychologists whose ideas can be productively synthesized into our focus.


For more information:

Alexander Surmava

Prof. Newton Duarte (Department of Philosophy of Education, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Brazil)

Liasion to Executive Committee: Dot Robbins