The Learning Circles Summit at the iEARN Conference


Barry Kramer


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Barry Kramer

Barry is an elementary school teacher in Quakertown, New Jersey, USA, who has been a member of iEARN since 1994. During that time, he has participated and facilitated Learning Circles projects and has had his students contribute work to various ongoing projects and forums. In regards to his education, Barry graduated from The University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Speech and Communications in 1980. During the past 38 years Barry has been committed to modeling ways to teach that can meet the changing needs of children. His strong commitment to teacher education is evidenced by the many workshops he has presented locally, statewide, and internationally. His on-going commitment is to use technology to open the classroom to the world community and to engage in research to inform the academic community. Barry has also participated in developing and teaching many online iEARN Professional Development course.  In 2009, Barry achieved a Ph.D. in Educational Technology from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Since 2004, Barry has been the Coordinator for the iEARN Global Learning Circles project. Currently, he is also serving on the iEARN-US Board of Directors.

Margaret Riel

Center for Collaborative Action Research

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Margaret Riel

Margaret Riel has been connected to iEARN in different ways almost since its formation.  She is currently a member of the Board.  She created the  learning circle structure for project work  which are used in a number of different projects (Global Learning Circles, Global Teenagers, My Hero). She is very active in the action world community.  She is the director of the Center for Collaborative Action Research, developer of the action research tutorials   one of the founders of the Action Research Network of the Americas ( and a co-editor of the recent  Palgrave International Handbook on Action Research. She is currently working with iEARN teachers in a learning circle to learn how to do action research.  More information and links to publications can be found on her academic profile

Session Details

Type: Roundtable

Location: Room 1308

Date: Monday

Time: 3:00-3:50 PM

This session is associated with a UN SDG!

This session relates to the iEARN Global Learning Circles iEARN Project!

Session Description

Learning Circles is the longest continuous running online collaborative project for students in K -12 schools throughout the world. We are celebrating our 30th year of setting the standard for student-based online collaborative project work. The goal of this meeting is bring together all prior Learning Circle participants to talk about your experiences, evaluate the program, offer suggestions for improving the process, discuss past and current research, and brainstorm possible topics for future Circles. This summit is meant to be very inclusive and is aimed at talking about experiences, sharing ideas, generating new ideas, and brainstorming suggestions for the future of Learning Circles as we enter our next decade.

What will educators learn and be able to do at the end of the session?

1. To bring together all prior Learning Circle participants to talk about their experiences
2. To evaluate current Learning Circle programs
3. To investigate new ways to increase the number of participants
4. To develop suggestions for improving the Learning Circle process
5. To determine strategies to increase the success of current participants
6. To discuss past research and promote current research
7. To brainstorm possible topics for future Learning Circles

Additional Session Information

Even though the technology has changed over time, the process and the model continue to support a structure for successful online interaction and project-based learning among teachers and students.

We are inviting anyone who has participated in any type of iEARN Learning Circle project, research project, or an iEARN project that has used the Learning Circles model.  We would also like to encourage anyone who is interested in participating in a Learning Circle project in the future to attend this meeting.

Session Resources

Learning Circles & PBL-Resource TN Academic Standards
TN Academic Standards

Learning Circles & PBL-Resource Teaching Rubric
Teaching Rubric for PBL Project

Learning Circles & PBL Resources
Project Template

Learning Circles & PBL
Presentation slides PBL

Presentation slides for the Learning Circles Summit