Systems Thinking and Change Divisionís Description

Today we realize continuous change is a constant in our interconnected education and social organizations. As Systems Thinking and Change researchers and practitioners, we use systems thinking to describe, research and lead change in a technology-enabled, interconnected world.

The 2019 AECT convention theme, Inspired Professional Learning, Inspired Learning Professionals, provides researchers and practitioners an opportunity to reflect on their roles, using systems thinking and educational technology to bring about educational and professional change.

This year the STC Division is interested in proposals that inspire change through systems thinking and shared learning. Strong proposals will address theoretical and/or professional work that bring about change that improves practice within systems or environments, as well as implications for systems of designed interventions.  This may include specific leadership projects, instructional strategies, education policies in organizations, restructuring practices, systems exploration models, etc. We want to learn about new models and mindsets informing your work as a change leader, designer, developer, instructor or learner. If your work leads, designs and /or creates change in learning settings, please join us and submit a proposal to our Division. All proposals should clearly address the convention theme.

Strong proposals will incorporate at least one of these major ideas:

  1. Change
  2. Leadership
  3. Learning
  4. Creative new designs: Examples of systems thinking or change thinking embedded in creative new designs or developments for learning systems.
  5. Impact of work: How do you account for the impact of your work? Where are you leading it, or where could it be guided locally, regionally, nationally or internationally and by whom? What worked, what didn’t, and what has great potential?
  6. Impact of systems thinking on work: This may include work from a variety of applications with a special emphasis on distance learning, instructional design, human performance, e-Learning environments, emerging technologies, learning management systems, or social media environments. In what way did systems thinking inform your work and what are the impacts on an education system?
  7. Interdisciplinary efforts: Perhaps within and beyond educational technology to describe or interpret evidence from your efforts to lead or to create change in a technology-integrated organization (school, university or corporate).
  8. Systems theories: Developing new systems theories or change theories suggesting a creative framework or schema for organizing further study of change and change leadership impacting education systems. What systems are directly impacted by your work? Who or what is directly impacted by your work? Ideally, who or what is changed, and how by your important work?
  9. Systems thinking: In the context of your research and practice, people and institutions are ideally connected and influencing each other - systems thinking.

Welcoming proposals for the following session types:

  1. Concurrent Sessions: These 25-minute sessions are primarily stand-up presentations. The focus of these sessions is on sharing information, such as best practices and research results. When proposing such a session, make sure to describe how you will engage with, and encourage interaction with your audience. Reading slides to your audience is not acceptable. In addition, planners will “bundle” concurrent presentations with another of related content to form one 50-minute session.
  2. Panel Discussions: These 4-5 person panels focus on vibrant topics of contemporary concern and professional interest. They are a chance to compare and contrast experts’ disciplinary expertise quickly with an active, participating audience. Submissions of this type require a designated Chair to facilitate the discussion. This presentation format will be scheduled into a 50-minute time slot; 30-minute presentation time and a minimum of 20 minutes interaction time with the audience. These sessions allow us to share expertise and experience in change, learning and leadership in education systems. This Division has had success bringing together school districts, professors, students, organization leaders, and experts in learning architectures, culture, technology and change, with AECT members across all Divisions to examine projects, ideas and systems thinking and change perspectives for making an impact in society. The Division has been especially successful in organizing cross-divisional panels which have allowed AECT members to engage in an integrated perspective of current problems and up-to-date topics regarding learning systems. Panel abstracts should identify panel members and expertise each member will contribute to the session.
  3. Roundtables Sessions: Roundtables are designed for small group discussion of specialized topics, with the presenter leading the discussion. This participatory format allows for a highly interactive presentation lasting 50 minutes. Typically, many roundtable discussions happen concurrently in a large open room. You will will have your own table with eight chairs during the session. A moderator will divide the time into two 25-minute sessions, so participants can visit multiple tables.
  4. Inspire! Sessions: Inspire sessions focus on professional development opportunities in systems thinking and change. These sessions should encourage professional growth by obtaining new knowledge, skills, or strategies. These sessions will last 50-minutes, and they should include high engagement between presenter(s) and attendees (e.g., hands-on activities, role playing, crowdsourcing, collaborative learning, game-based learning, etc.). Proposals should identify learning goals or outcomes for attendees. Short abstracts should include if participants need to bring any equipment or materials. When proposing such a session, make sure to describe how you will engage with, and encourage interaction with your audience. Proposals will be submitted to the STC division. No fees required.
  5. Poster Sessions: Posters are designed to showcase a project, program, process, activity, or similar experience in an informal setting. Posters may be projects that are completed, in progress, or in their beginning stages. A small table is provided to support a display board, laptop, and handouts. Feedback and insights of colleagues on these innovative developments are especially encouraged. Posters are scheduled simultaneously with Roundtables in multiple large rooms. Poster size is 48” x 36” horizontal/landscape layout. Presenters will design and bring their own posters to be attached to tri-fold panels provided by AECT.
  6. Fee-based Workshops: Workshops are intended to provide intense professional development opportunities that result in participants acquiring new skills. The Workshops are targeted to specific interest groups and will be available daily throughout the week. The fee-based workshops may be two hour, half-day (3 hours), or full day (6 hours) in length. Workshop proposals need to outline specific learning goals or outcomes. If accepted, and with a minimum registration of 10 participants, one workshop presenter is entitled to free conference registration. Please note that only an LCD projector is provided; presenters and attendees must supply their own computers. Also, please note that workshop proposals will be submitted under Fee-based Workshops and not under the STC division link. Consequently these proposals will be reviewed by the AECT executive committee.

Dates and Deadlines

Proposals Open - December 16, 2018
Proposals Close - February 18, 11:55 PM (PST), 2019 (There will be no deadline extension.)
The review process by divisions and affiliates will be completed by the end of April.

Proposal Process
To be considered, a complete proposal must be submitted. A complete online proposal submission consists of:

  1.  Presentation title
  2.  Description of the session (Maximum of 75 words)
  3.  An Anonymous Abstract (750-1,000 words)
  4.  List of actual presenters and contributors to your presentation.

In addition, research-based proposals should include findings in order to be considered complete.

Guidelines - Proposal guidelines can be viewed by clicking here (link to external webpage) or by copying the following web address and pasting it into the navigation bar at the top of your browser:

Questions regarding proposals to the STC Division please contact the 2019 Systems Thinking Program Chair: Suha Tamim at