Purpose of the Satellite

Over the past two decades, there has been a gradual but significant increase in the research and theoretical development concerning education as a complex process. This complexity entails the hierarchical relationship between systems and their constituent components, such as for example students within classrooms within school buildings; complex transformations such as hysteresis and second order change in the qualitative transitions in the child’s intellectual development, and emergent learning processes, fractal patterns, self-transcending constructions and uncomputability. The inherent complexity of the educational process has been long recognized, but the development of a research tradition that specifically utilizes methodologies that are grounded in complexity theory has been slow to materialize. Currently, however, interesting, and methodologically sophisticated research is being conducted, that not only enriches the field of education, but also enhances the complexity field with new applications and examples.

This satellite seeks to capitalize on these developments with a diverse set of studies that share a complexity lens in their attempts to understand the educational process but are distinct in the methodologies that are used to capture the complex aspects of the process, and include social network analysis, catastrophe theory, time series analysis, and orbital decomposition. The presentations included in this satellite will showcase some of these approaches, as well as summarize how our understanding of the educational process is enriched using them. Practitioners tend to take a holistic view of the field in which they work, with processes and variables being interconnected and outcomes not necessarily being predictable. There is an affinity between that perspective and complexity theory, which focuses as well on the adaptive and systemic features of the educational process in a dynamical holistic manner as well. An open discussion toward the end of the session will seek to bring out these similarities between theory and practice in education, based on the work presented during the day. This satellite follows the success of its past editions and seeks to reinforce these developments through the presentation of new research and new practical applications of complexity theory in education. We seek to enrich participants’ conference experience by engaging them in discussions of the application of complex dynamical systems in educational research and the improvement of educational practice. The participants will discuss how future research should embrace and operationalize complexity in education and further develop the conceptual and empirical frameworks that could guide productive research in this area in the future, thus adding to the interdisciplinary character of the CCS conference. The satellite will be a day-long session with a varied program and great network opportunities.

Tentative Program

Format: The satellite will be hybrid with onsite and online components and will take a full day with 10 to 15 presentations, plus overarching introductory and concluding remarks. Estimated attendance: 20 to 30.

Invited Speakers: The following scholars have agreed to present at this satellite:

  • Ismo Koponen, University of Helsinki, Finland

  • Massimo Stella, Complex Science Consulting, Italy

  • Ashwin Vaidya, Montclair State University, USA

  • Gwen Marchand, University of Nevada at Las Vegas, USA

  • Jonathan Hilpert, University of Nevada at Las Vegas, USA

  • Hiroki Sayama, Binghamton University, USA

  • Bernard Ricca, St. John Fisher University, USA

  • Joanna Garner, Old Dominion University, USA

Call for Presentations: We welcome proposals for additional presentations to be included in this program. If you are interested, please review the information below. 

To be considered for inclusion in the program, please submit your abstracts for papers or sessions by September 15, 2021 

Send a 300 word abstract in WORD or PDF file by e-mail to one of the organizers: Matthijs Koopmans (mkoopmans@mercy.edu), Hiroki Sayama (sayama@binghamtom.edu) or Dimitrios Stamovlasis (stadi@edlit.auth.gr)

The proceedings of this satellite session will be published in the International Journal of Complexity in Education

Invitation to Participate

CCS Satellite Symposium

Complex Systems and Education: From Theory to Research to Practice

Lyon France, October 25-29, 2021