TIER-ED Leveraging Campus-Wide Strengths for Educational Technology Innovation

Based in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the TIER-ED community is poised to find education solutions through innovative uses of technology.

Technology Innovation in Educational Research and Design (TIER-ED) brings together experts in various disciplines from within the College and around campus who work with a variety of technologies—augmented reality, virtual reality, data analytics, multitouch and other interfaces, and online learning platforms—to enhance their uses as technological tools in classrooms, museums, and other educational settings. Robb Lindgren, an associate professor in Curriculum & Instruction at the College of Education, is director of TIER-ED.

"TIER-ED supports new research that would effectively use the digital media platforms that are becoming available to us to solve big pressing issues in education," Lindgren says. "Through TIER-ED, we will be creating new tools and new designs that we can scale up and have an impact on the state first and foremost, but also nationally and internationally."

This fall, the College added three new faculty members—each with different interests within educational technology research and development—to its TIER-ED ranks: Drs. Nathan Castillo, Cynthia D'Angelo, and Michael Tissenbaum.

"Innovating in the space of educational technology is something that Illinois is accustomed to," Lindgren says. "But we needed a burst of momentum to keep that going into the future."

Creating more equitable and accessible educational experiences for diverse learners is a major thrust of TIER-ED. From better-using mobile devices to cultivate literate practices, to building gesture-recognition systems that help people understand challenging science and math concepts, TIER-ED provides opportunities to build effective and practical tools that educators can use to open new worlds to students.

Large-scale interdisciplinary research is another core component of TIER-ED, Lindgren says, and he emphasizes that such research is not new to the University of Illinois. Working with investigators in the campus' existing interdisciplinary research powerhouses, like the College of Engineering and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, TIER-ED provides the necessary infrastructure to develop wide-ranging educational technology solutions.

"Often, such interdisciplinary initiatives are serendipitous. With a bit more attention to those possibilities, TIER-ED will attract people in different disciplines to collaborate. And those collaborations will happen more frequently and with more power," he says.

Lindgren foresees TIER-ED growing far beyond its three years of secured funding. "Our initial proposal was based on a 10-year vision," he says. "With the injection of new talent and new resources, we aim to generate revenues through grants and student tuition that can fuel TIER-ED well beyond 10 years."

View the TIER-ED video to learn more. Visit tier-ed.education.illinois.edu for more details and follow TIER-ED on Twitter @TierEdIllinois for the latest updates.

SOURCE College of Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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