Directory of People & Offices
Timothy E. Wirth Professor in Learning Technologies
Technology, Innovation, and Education Program
Chris Dede's fundamental interest is the expanded human capabilities for knowledge creation, sharing, and mastery that emerging technologies enable. His teaching models the use of information technology to distribute and orchestrate learning across space, time, and multiple interactive media. His research spans emerging technologies for learning, infusing technology into large-scale educational improvement initiatives, policy formulation and analysis, and leadership in educational innovation. He is currently conducting funded studies to develop and assess learning environments based on modeling and visualization, online teacher professional development, wireless mobile devices for ubiquitous computing, and multiuser virtual environments. Dede also is active in policy initiatives, including creating a widely used State Policy Framework for Assessing Educational Technology Implementation and studying the potential of developing a scalability index for educational innovations. From 2001 to 2004, he served as chair of the Learning & Teaching area at HGSE.
- Ed.D., University of Massachusetts, Amherst
- "Building University Faculty and Student Capacity to use Wireless Handheld Devices for Learning" (with E. Dieterle) in Ubiquitous Computing: Invisible Technology, Visible Impact (ed. by M. vant Hooft). (forthcoming)
- "Collaborative Design of Online Professional Development: Building the Milwaukee Professional Support Portal" (with D.E. Spicer) in Journal of Technology and Teacher Education (forthcoming)
- "Studying Situated Learning in a Multi-User Virtual Environment" (with D.J. Ketelhut, J. Clarke, B. Nelson, and C. Bowman) in Assessment of Problem Solving Using Simulations (ed. by E. Baker, J. Dickieson, W. Wulfeck, and H. ONeil) (forthcoming)
- 'Neomillennial' Learning Styles Propagated by Wireless Handheld Devices" (with E. Dieterle and K. Schrier) in Ubiquitous and Pervasive Knowledge and Learning Management: Semantics, Social Networking and New Media to Their Full Potential (ed. by M. Lytras and A. Naeve) (forthcoming)
- Online Professional Development for Teachers: Emerging Models and Methods, ed. (2006)
- "A Design-based Research Strategy to Promote Scalability for Educational Innovations" (eith J. Clarke, D.J. Ketelhut, and B. Nelson) in Educational Technology. (2006)
- "Scaling Up: Evolving Innovations beyond Ideal Settings to Challenging Contexts of Practice," in Handbook of the Learning Sciences (ed. by R.K. Sawyer). Cambridge University Press. (2006)
- "Designing Distributed Learning Experiences: An Overview" (with D.J. Ketelhut, P. Whitehouse, and T. Brown-LBahy) in Encyclopedia of Online Learning (2005)
- "Planning for 'Neomillennial' Learning Styles: Implications for Investments in Technology and Faculty," in Educating the Net Generation (ed. by J. Oblinger and D. Oblinger) (2005)
- Scaling Up Success: Lessons Learned from Technology-Based Educational Improvement (ed. with J. Honan and L. Peters). Jossey-Bass. (2005)
- "Why Design-Based Research Is Both Important and Difficult," Educational Technology (2005)
- Design-Based Research Strategies for Studying Situated Learning in a Multi-User Virtual Environment (with D. Ketelhut, B. Nelson, J. Clarke, and C. Bowman) in Proceedings of the International Conference on Learning Sciences (2004)
- "Distance Learning (Virtual Learning)," (with T. Brown-L'Bahy, D. Ketelhut, and P. Whitehouse) in The Internet Encyclopedia (ed. by H. Bidgoli) (2004)
- "If Design-Based Research is the Answer, What is the Question?" in Journal of the Learning Sciences (2004)
- Learning from Leapfrog: Creating Educational and Business Value (9-804-062) (with L. Applegate and S. Saltrick). Harvard Business School Case Study. (2003)
- "Motivation, Usability, and Learning Outcomes in a Prototype Museum-based Multi-User Virtual Environment," (with D. Ketelhut and K. Ruess) in Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ed. by P. Bell, R. Stevens, & T. Satwicz) (2003)
- "Designing and Studying Learning Experiences that use Multiple Interactive Media to Bridge Distance and Time," (with P. Whitehouse and T. Brown-L'Bahy) in Current Perspectives on Applied Information Technologies. Vol. 1: Distance Education (2002)
- "No Cliché Left Behind: Why Education Policy Is Not Like the Movies," in Educational Technology (2002)
- "Enhancing State and Local Policy Making about Educational Technologies," in Great Expectations: The E-Rate at Five (2001)
- "Emerging Influences of Information Technology on School Curriculum," in Journal of Curriculum Studies (2000)
- "Emerging Technologies and Distributed Learning in Higher Education," in Higher Education in an Era of Digital Competition: Choices and Challenges (2000)
- "Using Virtual Reality Technology to Convey Abstract Scientific Concepts," in Learning the Sciences of the 21st Century: Research, Design, and Implementing Advanced Technology Learning Environments (with C. Salzman, B. Loftin, and K. Ash) (2000)
- "Multisensory Immersion as a Modeling Environment for Learning Complex Scientific Concepts," in Computer Modeling and Simulation in Science Education (with M. Salzman, B. Loftin, and D. Sprague) (1999)
- Learning with Technology, yearbook of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, ed. (1998)
- Honored by Harvard University as an Outstanding Teacher (2007)
- National Service Award, National University Telecommunications Network (2007)
- Outstanding Reviewer Award, Educational Researcher, American Educational Research Association (2003)
- Timothy E. Wirth Professorship in Learning Technologies, Harvard Graduate School of Education (2000)
- Editorial Board, American Educational Research Association Review of Research in Education (2002-2005)
- National Advisory Board, Association for Teacher Education Commission on Technology and the Future of Teacher Education (2002-2005)
- Editorial Board, Educational Researcher (2000-2003)
- National Advisory Board Member, Milwaukee Public Schools (2000-2003)
- International Steering Committee, Second International Study of Technology in Education, International Educational Assessment Association (1997-2003)
- Technology Expert Panel, U.S. Department of Education (1999-2001)
- Advisory Board, George Lucas Education Foundation (2005-)
- National Design Team, PBS TeacherLine (2005-)
- Board of Directors, Tech Boston Academy, Boston Public Schools (2003-)
- Education Advisory Board, The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2002-)
- National Advisory Board, University of Texas Telecampus
- Professor Dede’s current research focuses on three areas: emerging technologies for learning and assessment, leadership in educational technology implementation, and effective policy for educational technology utilization. His research in emerging technologies includes funded projects on multi-user virtual environments, augmented realities, sociosemantic networking, distance education, and Web 2.0 tools. His research on leadership focuses on issues of scaling up innovations from local to widespread use, and his work in policy centers on state and national level educational improvement strategies.
- EcoMOBILE: Blended real and virtual immersive experiences for learning complex causality and ecosystems science, National Science Foundation, (2011-2015)
Content knowledge about ecosystems and populations is an important strand of the life science content standards, and the processes underlying ecosystems exemplify sophisticated causal mechanisms (e.g., systems dynamics) foundational for advanced science and mathematics. However, even after instruction, students often hold inaccurate interpretations about ecosystems structural patterns and systemic causality. Prior research (Grotzer & Basca, 2003) has shown that students often have difficulty reasoning about the causal complexity inherent in ecosystems. Co-PI Grotzers NSF-funded Causal Patterns curriculum (Grotzer, 2002) has shown success in helping students understand and explain the causal dynamics of ecosystems. However, teachers struggle to convey in hands-on, engaging ways difficult concepts involving causality involving time delays, spatial distance, non-obvious causes, and population-level effects. To meet this shortfall in current, largely textbook-based curricula, with Institute of Education Sciences (IES) funding we have developed and are studying EcoMUVE (www.ecomuve.org): a multi-user virtual environment (MUVE)-based ecosystems science curriculum centered on grades 6 through 8 life science National Science Education Standards (NSES). EcoMUVE is an inquiry-based, four week curriculum that includes two one-week modules focused on experiencing immersive, simulated virtual ecosystems through observation, with scaffolded, collaborative interpretation by students. The curriculum centers on ecosystems science, the inquiry process, and the complex causality inherent in ecosystems dynamics. Our research findings in classrooms show promising results on the perceived value, usability, implementation feasibility, and student and teacher experiences associated with our curriculum, as well as pilot data showing gains in student learning and motivation (Metcalf et al., 2010). We hypothesize that student understanding and self-efficacy in science would be enhanced if students using EcoMUVE could also use powerful mobile broadband devices (MBDs) to explore the real ecosystems in their own backyard. MBDs will allow students to collect and share data using probeware, cameras, and microphones; access on-demand, on-site information about ecosystem components; and visit geo-referenced locations to directly observe critical components of the ecosystem and to experience virtual simulations related to their underlying causality. To study these hypotheses, we plan to develop EcoMOBILE (Ecosystems Mobile Outdoor Blended Immersive Learning Environment): a complementary set of learning experiences based on using MBDs to infuse virtual information and simulated experiences into real world ecosystems. We aim to determine what types of complementary learning and engagement real world settings infused with virtual resources add to immersive simulations. With prior funding from the U.S. Department of Education, we developed and studied augmented reality curricula (http://isites.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=harp) for learning middle school mathematics and English/Language-Arts (OShea, Mitchell, Johnston, & Dede, 2009; Dunleavy, Dede, & Mitchell, 2009). Since that research was completed, powerful mobile broadband devices are now the primary technology infrastructure used by young people (Chiong & Shuler, 2010; Project Tomorrow, 2010); the EcoMobile project will study their potential power in academic settings to improve motivation and deepen learning of ecosystems science. Combined, EcoMUVE and EcoMobile will encompass the types of learning strengths and preferences many students today bring to school, based on their usage of social media and Internet resources on mobile devices, as well as their involvement in immersive gaming.
- Studying Technology-based Strategies for Enhancing Student Interest in STEM Careers through Algebra Curricula in Grades 5-9, National Science Foundation, (2010-2012)
This research proposal seeks to investigate the relationship between specific technology-based motivational activities and student interest in STEM careers along a developmental span. This study will develop a four-day, classroom-based experience for students in grades 5 9. Through random assignment by class balanced within teacher and grade, student induction in this learning experience may involve (1) watching career-related videos that provide the context of the to-be-solved problem(s); (2) assuming the identity of a STEM professional in a multi-user virtual environment (MUVE) that is directly related to the to-be-solved problem(s); or (3) receiving a narrative description of the problem-solving context from the teacher using powerpoint-like presentation media. The learning experience will influence student's motivation and interest in STEM careers not only by the content and format of the induction experience, but also by the process of the scripted two-day algebra lesson. Students in grades 5 9 rarely have the opportunity to engage in the types of authentic algebra problem-solving activities that constitute the work of STEM professionals. Therefore, the focal point of the treatment is a two-day lesson concerning a specific but vital concept in algebra (linearity) that students can use to solve the authentic problem(s) posed in induction. Recognizing that teachers are likely to have widely varying levels of competency in algebra instruction, teachers will experience eight hours of professional development and specific instructional guidelines to aid in the fidelity of implementation for this lesson. By varying the technological context of the induction and closing experience while holding the instructional component constant at each grade level, and by measuring student constructs before and after the experience, this study can test a series of specific hypotheses relating outcomes of interest (such as motivation, self-efficacy, STEM career interest, and mathematics learning) to activity assignment within grade.
- Studying the Potential of Virtual Performance Assessments for Measuring Student Achievement in Science, U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, (2008-2011)
The purpose of this research study is to develop and study virtual performance assessments based on National Science Education Standards (NSES) in middle school science, and to conduct construct validity studies and generalizability studies on their effectiveness.
- Advancing Ecosystems Science Education via Situated Collaborative Learning in Multi-User Virtual Environments, U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, (2008-2011)
The purpose is to develop a Multi-User Virtual Environment (MUVE)-based ecosystems science curriculum centered on grades 6 and 7 (middle grades) life science National Science Education Standards, and to conduct feasibility studies on the practicality, integration, and acceptance of the MUVE-based curriculum for student engagement and learning in classroom settings. The goal of our project is development. Our design process is iterative and informed by research evaluation in classroom settings. Practicality of use and implementation are key outcome measures for the feasibility of our design. Other key outcome measures are: Content: measure that shows our curriculum is teaching content we intend to be teaching students (based on curriculum standards and teacher objectives). Enjoyment: measure of students engagement with learning experiences. Feasibility: a composite that measures teachers feelings about the practicality and value of use for our curriculum.
Dede shares his research with Usable Knowledge in "Augmented Reality Technology Brings Learning to Life."