Community Day

Community Day

The purpose of community day is to help us use the local context of ISLS2024 to expand our ways of understanding the learning sciences as in service to learning as a cornerstone of healing, resilience, and community. Participants can choose one of four types of activities, or use the time according to their own needs. Some of the activities require signing up. The community day activities take place from 11am-3pm, and are bracketed by thematically aligned keynotes at the start and end of the day.


  • 9–10:30am  •  Morning keynotes: Jillian Hanesworth and Jason Corwin (Babeville)
  • 11am–3pm • Community day activities (timing and location varies; lunch on your own)
  • 3:30–5pm  • Closing reflection and afternoon keynote: Nichole Pinkard (Babeville)

We offer four types of midday activities, two of which require signing up.

  1. Study Visits (capacity limited, by signup)
  2. Workshops (capacity limited, by signup)
  3. Learning Sciences Hackathon
  4. Self-guided activities

Due to scheduling, participants will likely be able to choose one activity. The signup link is in the preconference email sent Friday May 31.

Regardless of which activity you choose, we recommend the following reflection questions as you encounter these activities:

  1. What can you understand about the goals and history of the organizations or sites, and how do healing, resilience, and/or community relate to those goals?
  2. What types of learning are these sites striving for and how do they align with/differ from those typically studied in the learning sciences?
  3. How can the learning sciences help with learning for healing, resilience, or community?

Study visits

We have organized eight options for study visits to local organizations. Each organization works with local challenges related to healing, resilience, and/or community through learning and other approaches. The study visits will be an approximately 1 hour program to visit the organization, learn about their approach, and interact with staff to better understand their work. Transportation to and from Babeville is provided.

Stitch Buffalo

Stitch Buffalo is a textile art center dedicated to empowering refugee and immigrant women through the sale of their handcrafted goods, fostering community creativity and inclusion through education, and promoting environmental stewardship by reusing textile supplies. The organization values community building, empowerment, trust, passion, and environmental sustainability, offering programs like the Refugee Women’s Workshop, community textile arts classes, and the Second Stitch sustainability initiative.

Stich Buffalo

GOBike Buffalo

GOBike Buffalo promotes active mobility, trails, greenways, and complete streets in Western New York through advocacy, education, planning, and community engagement. Their work encompasses advocacy for safer streets, commuter planning, infrastructure development, bike mechanic education, traffic safety education, and temporary complete streets installations to enhance community wellness, sustainability, and connectivity.

GOBike Buffalo

The Clean Air Coalition of WNY

The Clean Air Coalition of Western New York empowers grassroots leaders to organize and lead campaigns for environmental justice and public health, focusing on improving local conditions and promoting systemic change. Their work emphasizes equity, community well-being, and the intersection of environmental, social, and economic issues.

GOBike Buffalo

The Foundry

The Foundry is a hands-on education facility and business incubator in Buffalo, NY, dedicated to increasing neighborhood prosperity through education and entrepreneurship. They empower youth with career skills and support low-income, unemployed, and underemployed individuals with affordable space, mentoring, and resources. The Foundry is home to woodshop, metal shop, tech lab, and textile lab makerspaces.

The Foundry

Say Yes to Education Buffalo

Say Yes Buffalo aims to remove barriers to education and economic mobility for Buffalo, NY students by providing postsecondary tuition scholarships and comprehensive support from cradle to career. Focused on racial equity and inclusion, this partnership brings together various community stakeholders to enhance high school and postsecondary completion rates and professional employment opportunities.

Say Yes to Education Buffalo

Northland Workforce Training Center

The Northland Workforce Training Center is a key workforce initiative in Buffalo, NY, under the Buffalo Billion initiative, focused on closing the local skills gap in advanced manufacturing and energy sectors. Through partnerships with employers, educational institutions, and community organizations, NWTC provides education, training, and pathways to high-paying careers, aiming to enhance the economic well-being of Western New Yorkers.

Northland Workforce Training Center

Journey’s End Refugee Services

Journey’s End Refugee Services is a Christian community-based organization dedicated to welcoming refugees and assisting them in becoming independent and contributing members of the Western New York community. They focus on intercultural responsiveness, integrity, person-centered service, empowerment, and exemplary service to support refugees’ successful integration and self-sufficiency.

Journey's End Refugee Services

The University at Buffalo’s Indigenous Studies Program

The Department of Indigenous Studies at the University at Buffalo builds on the university’s legacy in Haudenosaunee and Indigenous studies, emphasizing grassroots-oriented activist scholarship. Anchored in Haudenosaunee knowledge, the department focuses on Indigenous community-guided research, language resurgence, and land-based education. It continues the impactful work of prominent scholars like John Mohawk and Oren Lyons, advancing Indigenous-centered scholarship with a global impact.

The University at Buffalo's Indigenous Studies Program


The workshops are in a similar format to half-day preconference workshops. Peer reviewed and led by learning scientists, these workshops explore issues related to the conference theme.

Healing Justice in Youth Organizations and Schools: Research Methods and Ethical Provocations

11am–3pm Jacobs


Ben Kirshner, Beatriz Salazar, Alexis Hunter, Solicia Lopez & Jesica Fernandez

Social justice youth organizations and school programs are increasingly prioritizing healing justice. Healing justice promotes collective healing and well-being while working to transform the institutions and relationships that cause harm (Ginwright, 2015). This move shifts the gaze from a sole focus on the isolated individual responsible for their mental health to a more collective and political analysis of well-being, one that centers intergenerational relationships, community care, and ancestral practices.

The focus on healing and well-being among educators, young people, and community organizers calls for learning scientists who can work in partnership to leverage the tools of inquiry, research, and evaluation. But HOW, precisely, should researchers study “healing?” It is personal. It invites conversations about harms. It raises ethical questions. This half-day in-person workshop offers a space for people attending the ISLS conference to build relationships, explore questions, share stories and experiences, and strengthen our work through exchange and dialogue. After introductions and intention-setting, participants will self-select breakout groups from topics that may include:

  • Ethical priorities for healing justice research
  • Participatory action research for studying healing justice with youth
  • Practical resources for evaluating healing justice in youth programs
  • Researcher self-awareness in their experiences of harm and healing

The day will conclude by discussing ways to stay connected and explore shared interests.

The Hidden Majority: Examining the Inaccessibility Crisis as a Barrier to Equitable Education

11am–3pm Jacobs


C. Naomie Williams, Margaret Ellen Seehorn, Mia Ellis-Einhorn, Haiyi Zhu & Vincent Aleven

An estimated 240 million children have a disability worldwide. Despite this 240 million representing 10% of all children globally, accessibility remains under-considered in the design, development, and evaluation of educational technology. Prior work has established technology accessibility and inclusive curriculum as separate islands. With the number of disabled people increasing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these islands need to unite to support society’s most vulnerable learners.

In this workshop, we invite researchers across learning science, accessibility, special education, and educational technology to define an emerging field. We will critically reflect on design, research practices, and lab culture to improve equity in education for students with disabilities. Results from this workshop include: a compilation of accessible research practices, a post-workshop space to facilitate collaboration, and new directions for future study.

Learning Sciences “Hackathon”

11am–3pm Jacobs

A “Hackathon” is usually a time-limited event in which participants intensely explore solutions to an important problem by forming teams that compete to develop low-fidelity prototypes of a technology solution to the problem. Our Learning Sciences hackathon drops the technology focus but keeps the hustle, by inviting participants to engage with one of a small number of problems of practice posed by local experts. Participants will organize into teams, and spend a few hours developing a “prototype”: whether a proposed research study, an instructional or technology design approach, or some other useful solution from the perspective of learning sciences. Unlike typical hackathons, this is not a competition. Teams will share their output at the end of the session in a short PechaKucha (lightning talk) format.


Time Activity
11am–12pm Presentation of problems of practice (Jacobs)
12–1pm Team formation and lunch on your own
1pm–2:30pm Work time (Jacobs)
2:30pm–3pm Presentations (Jacobs)

Self-guided activities

We offer the following list of possible activities that allow you to explore learning, healing, resilience, and community on your own. Each site incorporates educational or instructional strategies. Transportation is not provided and there may be costs involved. We recommend going in groups to keep costs lower. Of course, you may have additional ideas. For more information on using public transit, see the Getting Around Buffalo page and consider downloading the Transit app for directions and to purchase fares.

Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center

825 Depot Avenue West. Niagara Falls, NY 14305

The Heritage Center’s mission is to reveal authentic stories of Underground Railroad freedom seekers and abolitionists in Niagara Falls that inspire visitors to recognize modern injustices that stem from slavery and take action toward an equitable society.

Tickets are $10. The Heritage Center may be reached by public transit (approximately 1 hr 15 minutes, $2 each way) or by taxi/rideshare (30 minutes, $35-100 each way). A trolley connects The Heritage Center and the Niagara Falls State Park for those who wish to visit both. The museum’s signature Freedom Conversations event (free with admission) takes place at 11:30am.

Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center

Tifft Nature Preserve

1200 Fuhrmann Boulevard, Buffalo, New York 14203

Situated on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor, Tifft Nature Preserve is a 264-acre nature refuge dedicated to conservation and environmental education. In addition to five miles of trails and boardwalks for visitors to enjoy, Tifft’s Herb and Jane Darling Education Center provides amenities including educational displays, restrooms and indoor programming and event space. It is run by the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences, a 163-year old organization dedicated to conservation, research, and education. The Preserve was created in 1972 from land purchased by the City of Buffalo for a landfill site. Concerned citizens recognized the ecological importance of the site and convinced the city legislators to plan for the area’s preservation. Today, Tifft Nature Preserve maintains a natural setting. Animals from the entire region take advantage of its ponds, marshes and woodlands. It has become the urban sanctuary many people envisioned more than 50 years ago.

Admission is free. The center may be reached by public transit in approximately 40 minutes/$2, or via taxi/rideshare (10 minutes, $12-25 each way). It is also possible to bicycle via the Empire State Trail (20 minutes each way).

Tifft Nature Preserve

Darwin Martin House

25 Jewett Parkway, Buffalo, NY 14214

We invite you to experience Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House, the architect’s quintessential Prairie house and one of the great achievements of his career. A premier heritage destination in New York’s network of historic sites, the Martin House was designed as the home for Buffalo executive Darwin D. Martin. Today, this National Historic Landmark stands as a compelling symbol of civic identity and cultural pride. In addition to the original Martin complex, the Greatbach Pavilion is designed as a visitor center and interpretive gallery that provides an appropriate welcome to guests touring the Martin House historic site. Architect Toshiko Mori’s highly inventive design renews Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural philosophies in a 21st-century version of his “organic principles.”

Tour timings and ticket prices vary from $10-45. The Greatbach Pavilion and outdoor grounds are free. The complex may be reached by public transit in approximately 30 minutes, $2 each way, or via taxi/rideshare ($10-25, 8 minutes)

There are limited free 3D virtual tours which may interest remote participants at ISLS2024.

Darwin Martin House

Buffalo City Hall

65 Niagara Square, Buffalo, NY 14202

Buffalo City Hall is a masterpiece of Art Deco design that is a symbol of the City of Buffalo. Completed in 1931, City Hall features ornamentation celebrating the City of Buffalo and its people, history, and values throughout both its interior and exterior. The lobby features murals by William de Leftwich Dodge, and the Common Council Chambers are highlighted by an extraordinary sunburst skylight. Join us for a free one-hour tour to discover the history and design of this remarkable building.

City Hall tours are offered daily at noon on weekdays, except for government holidays when City Hall is closed. The tour typically includes the lobby and Common Council Chambers. Certain areas of City Hall may be unavailable on a particular day due to meetings, press conferences, or other events.

The tour meets in the lobby of City Hall by the elevators. Visitors can enter through the Niagara Square (front) or Elmwood Avenue (rear) side of the building. Please plan to arrive a few minutes early to go through security so the tour can begin promptly at noon.

To book the free tour, register at (Space is limited). City hall is walking distance (.5 mile, 1km) from Babeville.

Buffalo City Hall

The Buffalo History Museum

1 Museum Ct., Buffalo, NY 14216

The Buffalo History Museum has been Western New York’s premier historical organization since 1862. We are the keepers of the authentic stories that make our community unique. Our collections, exhibits, and programs tell the stories of the people, events, and movements that demonstrate Western New York’s essential place in shaping American history. The building that houses the Buffalo History Museum was constructed in 1901 as the New York State pavilion for that year’s Pan-American Exposition, and is the sole surviving permanent structure from the exposition. It is situated on the edge of Delaware Park, considered the crown jewel of the country’s first and oldest coordinated system of public parks and parkways, and the masterwork of Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux, architects of New York’s Central Park and many others.

The Museum is open with pay what you wish admission (recommended admission is 10). It may be reached via public transit in approximately 20 minutes ($2) or via taxi/rideshare ($12-25, 10 minutes).

Buffalo History Museum

Freedom Park

1170 Niagara St, Buffalo NY 14213

Located at the foot of West Ferry Street on the scenic Niagara River, Freedom Park is steeped in history, most notably as a major terminus of the Underground Railroad between the United States and Canada. The park pays tribute to the people who crossed the water from that point to freedom in Canada and is listed as a designated Network to Freedom site by the U.S. National Parks Service. Interpretive signage, architecture, and an interpretive center are free and open to the public. The park sits among a line of waterfront parks on the Canadian border.

The park may be reached via public transit in approximately 30 minutes ($2) or via taxi/rideshare ($10-20, 8 min) Further information is available at and

Freedom Park

Buffalo Maritime Center Canal Boat

44 Prime St, Buffalo NY 14202

Visit the Erie Canal Boat Seneca Chief completed Spring 2024. The Commercial Slip is the historic western terminus of the Erie Canal. Once buried, the boat has been reconstructed at the same location. Explore exhibits dedicated to the history of the canal boat and the Erie Canal. The new home of the Seneca Chief is steps from the Longshed where it was built. Located at the 1825 terminus of the Erie Canal, the Commercial Slip is part of the Canalside district at the heart of downtown Buffalo’s waterfront revitalization.

Canalside can be reached on foot (1.5mile/3km from Babeville), via transit (15 minutes, $2).

Buffalo Maritime Center Canal Boat

Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center

at Babeville

Hallwalls’ twofold mission is to serve artists by supporting the creation and presentation of new work in the visual, media, performing, and literary arts, and to serve the public by making these works available to audiences. We are dedicated in particular to work by artists which challenges and extends the traditional boundaries of the various art forms, and which is critically engaged with current issues in the arts and—through the arts—in society. Finally, we believe that the right of freedom of expression for artists, and for free access to their works by interested individuals, must be protected as a fundamental and necessary condition of our mission.

Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center

Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Virtual Self-Guided Tour


The Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor is a nationally and internationally recognized Buffalo neighborhood that serves as the focal point of residents’ and visitors’ experience for learning about Buffalo’s rich African American history through its vibrant neighborhoods, shops, restaurants, unique structures, historical markers, people and institutions, as well as its significant impact on local, national and international history. Although core locations are closed for renovations, a self-guided virtual tour allows exploration of the sites and reflection on their importance. This virtual tour is suitable for remote participants at ISLS2024.

Michigan Street