A special highlight of the digiGEBF21 is our keynote series. The digiGEBF21 team is proud to present an array of high profile international experts who are happy to share their research with the digiGEBF21 community. Our keynote speakers investigate educational topics from different disciplinary perspectives, using various methodological approaches.

All keynote sessions are scheduled for 90 minutes, including a short introduction, a 45 minute presentation and a question and answer session. Some of our speakers have also agreed to participate in the Book-an-Expert-Sessions.

Click here to go to our Youtube channel. All future keynotes will be streamed live there. After the session, the recorded keynote sessions will be available exclusively for all registered digiGEBF21 participants on our Virtual Venue.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Prof. Sandra McNally (March 17th, 10.30 AM - 12:00 PM)

Sandra McNally is a Professor of Economics at the University of Surrey. She is Director of the Centre for Vocational Education Research at the London School of Economics and is also Director of the Education and Skills Programme at the Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics. Sandra McNally's area of research is economics of education; evaluation of school-level policies and post-16 education. Her current projects include an evaluation of programmes to improve reading at primary school and evaluating the impact of providing careers-related information to teenagers. Her research on the economics of education has been published in many high ranking international journals.

Evaluating Education Policies: key challenges of practice and communication

Why is it important to evaluate education policies and what are the key challenges? I will discuss these questions using examples from my experience in England – including the evaluation of pedagogical interventions, new educational institutions, school resources and estimating returns to apprenticeships. I will draw on this work to consider questions and key challenges going forward. I will also address how we communicate and disseminate our research findings. For example, to what extent can we use past research (or from other countries) to advise policy makers on what they should do?

This keynote will be introduced by Katharina Spieß (DIW Berlin).

Sandra Mc Nally


Tamara van Gog  (April 28th, 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM)

Tamara van Gog is a Professor of Educational Sciences at Utrecht University. Her research on learning and instruction focuses on example-based learning; multimedia learning; and (training) self-regulated learning, reflection, and critical thinking skills. Her research is conducted at all levels of education as well as with medical doctors (in training). She has received several honors for her work, among them a listing as one of the top five most successful female educational researchers worldwide (2020).

Learning (to Learn) from Examples

As an educational psychologist, I am fascinated by the question of how people learn and how we can design instruction to help them learn more effectively, efficiently, and enjoyably. My main line of research focuses on fostering the acquisition of problem-solving skills by means of example-based learning. In this keynote, after a brief introduction of example-based learning, I will present recent research from my team on 1) the effects of different fixed sequences of examples and practice problems on students’ self-efficacy and learning outcomes, and 2) improving students’ self-regulated learning from self-selected sequences of examples and practice problems. Our approach to the latter? Not surprisingly: Example-based learning.

This keynote will be introduced by Charlotte Dignath (DIPF).

Tamara van Gog


Deborah Loewenberg Ball (May 11th, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM)

Update: Keynote has been rescheduled!

Deborah Loewenberg Ball is the William H. Payne Collegiate Professor of education at the University of Michigan, an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, a research professor in the Institute for Social Research, and the director of TeachingWorks. Her research focuses on the practice of teaching, using elementary mathematics as a critical context for investigating the challenges of building relationships with children and helping children develop agency and understanding, and on leveraging the power of teaching to disrupt racism, marginalization, and inequity. Her research has been recognized with several awards and honors, and she has served on national and international commissions and panels focused on the improvement of education.

(How) Can Mathematics Teaching Disrupt White Supremacy and Oppression?

Mathematics teaching at all levels has enormous potential to disrupt racism and oppression, but it has instead often reproduced inequality and reified injustice through the discretionary spaces that are inherent to teaching. These discretionary spaces require sensitivity to cultural contexts and communities, deep understanding of learning, and flexible knowledge of mathematical content that affords critical power to learners. This talk will investigate the connections between discretionary spaces and flexible mathematical content knowledge, examine how they interact to impact students’ sense of identity, belonging, and success, and consider what it would take to make just instruction a reality inside of classrooms.

This keynote will be introduced by Susanne Prediger (TU Dortmund).

Deborah Loewenberg Ball


Brian Nosek (June 8th, 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM)

Brian Nosek is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Virginia. As a social psychologist, he studies thoughts and feelings that occur outside of conscious awareness or control and how they influence perception, judgment and action.  In addition to his social psychology research, Brian Nosek is a well-known proponent of the Open Science Movement. He is co-Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Open Science, which seeks to enable open and reproducible research practices through its Open Science Framework. He was the leading author of the Reproducibility Project which demonstrated the problem of failed reproducibility in social sciences in 2015 and thus triggered the debate of a reproducibility crisis in psychology and other disciplines.

Culture change toward more open, rigorous, and reproducible research

Improving openness, rigor, and reproducibility in research is less a technical challenge and more a social challenge. Current practice is sustained by dysfunctional incentives that prioritizes publication over accuracy and privacy over transparency. The consequence is unnecessary inefficiency in research progress. Successful culture change requires coordinated policy, incentive, and normative changes across stakeholders to improve research credibility and accelerate progress. Some stakeholder groups and disciplines are making more progress than others. We can change the system, but if we do not act collectively we will fail. Let’s not fail.

This keynote will be introduced by Johannes Bauer (Universität Erfurt).

Brian Nosek


William Sandoval (October 13th, 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM)

William Sandoval is professor at the School of Education & Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. With a Bachelor of Science and a Ph.D. in Learning Sciences as academic background, he is interested in how children’s ideas about knowledge and knowing influence and are influenced by their learning in school, particularly in science. He has is also interested in how computational technologies can support science learning and in design-based research methods in education. His work is published in many high ranking international journals and he has received several awards for his work. 

Community-oriented science education: bringing science to the people, for the people

Science education reforms have, for decades, focused on helping youth learn how science works by having them engage in scientific practices of inquiry. While these efforts are demonstrably better at helping students learn science concepts, it is not at all clear that youth see those concepts as relevant to their own concerns or usable for addressing those concerns. I present an argument for extending current reforms to engage with everyday concerns more directly by orienting science learning toward community concerns rather than mere “natural” phenomena. The argument builds on the work of place-based and justice-oriented scholars over the last 10-15 years to argue for the benefits from such an approach and concludes with preliminary evidence of its benefits for the public understanding of science.

This keynote will be introduced by Birgit Neuhaus (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München).

William Sandoval


Martin Fischer (November 16th, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM)

Martin Fischer is the Director of the Institute for Medical Education at the Medical Faculty and the University Hospital of Ludwig-Maximilian-University of Munich (LMU). He studied medicine in Hamburg, Freiburg, Luzern and Hanover (USA) and received his habilitation at the LMU. In his research he focuses on diagnostic competences, clinical reasoning, curriculum and faculty development, and scientific career paths. He is deputy speaker of the interdisciplinary DFG-Forschergruppe “Facilitating diagnostic competences in simulation-based learning environments in the university context (COSIMA)”. His institute offers services to the faculty in the fields of teacher trainings, technology-enhanced learning, quality of assessment, and evaluation of teaching and learning.

Medizindidaktik macht Schule: Verbindungen und Unterschiede

Die Medizindidaktik hat sich als Fach in den letzten 15 Jahren in Deutschland dynamisch entwickelt und ist inzwischen an vielen medizinischen Fakultäten gut sichtbar. Sie beschäftigt sich mit Lehr-, Lern- und Prüfungskonzepten in der Medizin und im Gesundheitswesen, um mit den Ergebnisse von Aus-, Fort- und Weiterbildungsprogrammen zu einer Verbesserung der Gesundheitsversorgung beizutragen. Die Medizindidaktik bedient sich dazu der Theorien und empirischen Ergebnisse der allgemeinen und medizinischen Bildungsforschung. Ist die Medizindidaktik damit einfache eine weitere Fachdidaktik? Was unterscheidet sie von der schulischen Didaktik und welche Verbindungen gibt es? Welche Synergien und domänenübergreifende Ansätze lassen sich zeigen und welche Potentiale liegen in einer Zusammenarbeit mit der Medizindidaktik? Am Beispiel von Diagnosekompetenzen an dem damit verbundenen Wissensarten soll examplarisch aufgezeigt werden, welches Lernpotential im Chanon der Medizindidaktik mit den schulichen Didaktiken und der allgemeinen Bildungsforschung besteht.

This keynote will be introduced by Tina Seidel (TU München).

Martin Fischer



Courtney Bell (December 7th, 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM)

Courtney Bell completed her doctorate at Michigan State University in Curriculum, Teaching, and Educational Policy after earning her B.A. in Chemistry at Dartmouth College. A former high school science teacher and teacher educator, Courtney’s research looks across actors in the educational system to better understand the intersections of research, policy and practice. Her studies use mixed-methods to analyze the measurement of teaching and the validity of measures of teaching quality, especially observational measures. She has published in a variety of scholarly journals and also co-edited the 5th Edition of the American Educational Research Association’s Handbook of Research on Teaching.

Definitions, metaphors, and modes in the assessment of teaching

Every time we observe a lesson or students complete a questionnaire about the teaching in their classroom, we are “assessing” teaching.  Assessment is a straightforward idea but a complex enterprise.  In addition to the issues that readily come to mind when we think of assessment – e.g., the degree to which an instrument captures the complexity of teaching, the meaning of scores, rater reliability, and the consequences associated with assessments –  stakeholders frequently do not agree on the goals of assessing teaching.  Researchers may have one goal in mind, while practitioners another. This talk describes two dominant metaphors – assessment as a feedback loop and as measurement – used by stakeholders.  Drawing on data from three studies (a U.S. study of teacher evaluation in Los Angeles, a study of teaching and learning in eight economies, and a study of virtual reality performance assessments of core practices) the talk illustrates these metaphors, and the inherent choices researchers face when studying teaching. Researchers’ decisions about definitions, metaphors, and measurement modes have implications for what the field learns about teaching quality.  The talk identifies these implications, including why stakeholders often have incompatible views of teaching assessments.

This keynote will be introduced by Eckhard Klieme (DIPF).

Courtney Bell