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Master's Programs

Technology, Innovation, and Education

The Technology, Innovation, and Education (TIE) master’s program is home to creative leaders in education –- among both faculty and students. Together with outstanding fellow students from around the world, you will learn how to research and design new technologies and media that deliver powerful teaching and promote engaged learning. For a class project, you might prototype an iPad app for tracking student progress, design a digital school library, produce a children’s TV show, or devise a global social network for tweens. Through it all, you will be mentored by TIE faculty who are world-class researchers and top-echelon practitioners, leaders in bringing technology, media, and education together in powerful new ways.

Technology is the Means, Not the Mission 

Everything we do in the TIE Program is grounded in teaching and learning. The first questions are always, “Who are the users, and what educational challenges are they grappling with?” We don’t start with the goal of creating a sticky website, viral app, or immersive simulation. Instead, we choose the medium or technology that delivers the most effective learning experience for our specific goal. No previous computer science or technology experience is required to join TIE, only a passion for harnessing innovation and creativity to improve educational outcomes for all learners.

Faculty Director Joe Blatt on the TIE Program:

Message from the Director

Thank you for your interest in the Technology, Innovation, and Education (TIE) program. You have reached a lively learning community of researchers, industry leaders, and outstanding students. We are an enormously diverse group, yet we share a passion for designing, implementing, and evaluating media and technology that will improve the life chances of all children and young people.

In this short message, we just want to introduce ourselves by highlighting three features of TIE that make it a distinctive and compelling option for graduate study:

  • Our approach puts learning and teaching at the center, with technology as the means, not the mission. Whether it's a course on designing cutting-edge technologies, a practicum on large-scale distance learning, or a course on evaluating the impact of educational apps, we concentrate on the cognitive, affective, and social dimensions of learning, not on the bit rate.
  • Our curriculum invites you to study across three broad strands of design, implementation, and research. The goal is to help you prepare for a leadership career in any of the many education and technology fields in which TIE graduates are now working.  Meet some of our alumni and find out about positions they now hold.
  • Our program is nested in the broad intellectual sweep of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, rich with courses in human development, mind and brain research, social policy and school leadership – and with access to the unequalled resources of Harvard University, as well as to the stimulating environments of Cambridge and the Boston area.

Again, these are only some highlights. We hope you will be intrigued to learn more, from the Admissions Office and from us. If you have specific questions about TIE, please contact Rilda Kissel, our Program Administrator. Rilda can also help put you in touch with a current student or alum.

Best wishes as you make your plans for the coming year!

Joe Blatt
Faculty Director, Technology, Innovation, and Education Program
Senior Lecturer in Education

Program Highlights

TIE is a one-year master’s program for people from a wide variety of academic, professional, and personal backgrounds. Here are some of the greatest strengths of the program:

  • Learning First – Our approach begins with empirical principles of learning and teaching. Our courses examine cutting-edge technologies that bridge distance and time, the research behind them and the design that goes into them – but we always center on the cognitive, affective, and social dimensions of learning, not on hardware or fashion.
  • Balanced, Flexible Curriculum – The TIE curriculum bridges three critical areas: design, implementation, and research. The goal is to help you prepare for a dynamic leadership career in technology development, entrepreneurship, and policy; online, mobile, and social media design; research and evaluation; teaching and administration; or in any of the many other education and technology fields in which TIE graduates are now working.
  • Extraordinary Internships – TIE’s internship program connects you with organizations and entrepreneurs doing exciting work at the intersection of education and technology. Popular internship sites include WGBH, IBM Visualization and Behavior Group, Walden Media, the MIT Media Lab, the Boston Museum of Science, and many more.
  • Cohort & Community – One of the biggest assets of the TIE program are your fellow students. You will join a remarkable cohort of passionate educators and creative thinkers of all ages from all around the world. You will also become part of the larger HGSE family, a supportive community that is dedicated to excellence, innovation, and equity in education.

The TIE curriculum is designed to be both comprehensive and customizable. Your faculty advisor will help plot a learning experience to fulfill your individual goals.  In this mix we will provide you with a firm grounding in three key areas:

  • principles of creative design
  • leadership skills required to implement new technology and media projects
  • research that informs our understanding of teaching and learning, and our ability to evaluate the effectiveness of media and technology projects


You will complete eight courses (32 credits)

  • Five of your eight courses must be technology-related. You may choose five courses from the list below.
  • Three electives

*May be taken only with the consent of the instructor.

Not offered in 2016-2017

View all courses in the Academic Catalogue.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

TIE, alongside other master’s programs, asks students to demonstrate thoughtful engagement with issues of diversity, equity, and inclusivity.  You may accomplish this by taking a course or internship that focuses on these issues. 

Electives & Cross-Registration

You can choose additional courses — in human development, mind and brain research, social policy, and organizational leadership — from every department of HGSE, and from other schools at Harvard – including the Harvard Business School, the Harvard School of Public Health, and the Harvard Kennedy School — as well as at MIT — through cross-registration.


Field internships are a critical component of the TIE experience, offering real-world experience with innovative media and technology organizations across Cambridge, Boston, and beyond. Approved internships count as one of the five required TIE courses, and you may complete up to two internships for degree credit.


The summer before classes begin, you will join all other incoming TIE students for an online introduction to learning theory and educational technology called Foundations. The online program consists of videos and readings designed to stimulate conversations on the site’s discussion forum. It’s a great way to get to know your TIE cohort and hit the ground running when you arrive in the fall.


The TIE faculty brings together some of the foremost scholars of educational technology with leading practitioners. Among our research faculty, Chris Dede is an internationally recognized design innovator and theorist of educational transformation. Karen Brennan spearheads implementation of the popular Scratch programming language as a tool for teachers. On the applications side, David Rose teaches about Universal Design for Learning, the breakthrough field he helped to invent. Joe Blatt teaches Informal Learning for Children in collaboration with senior executives and producers from the Sesame Workshop. And David Dockterman brings decades of expertise to his Innovation by Design course as the chief architect of learning sciences at Scholastic Education.


No two TIE students are exactly alike. We attract classroom teachers and school administrators who want to integrate innovative technologies into their schools. We draw software designers from Silicon Valley who want to apply their skills to education innovation and reform. And we welcome creative professionals of all stripes who want to design the technologies and produce the media projects that bring education into the 21st century.  All TIE students share a commitment improving outcomes and opportunities for all learners. Together, they create a richly collaborative and supportive learning community in which to learn and grow both personally and professionally.


TIE graduates are leaders in the creative development of education and technology. They launch start-ups that are part of the entrepreneurial wave driving educational innovation today. They design games and build apps that teach reading and math concepts to schoolchildren in Latin America.  They evaluate new products and conduct the research that will inform the next generation of educational technology. They lead the integration of technology into teaching at every level of school, in workplaces, hospitals, and government offices. And they produce TV programs and interactive websites that provide informal learning to kids and their families, teens and their peers, and teachers and other professionals.

Where Alumni Work


Visit HGSE admissions to learn more about application requirements and deadlines, and to get important information about financial aid. Applications are due in January of the academic year you plan to enroll.


If you have questions about the admissions process or want to learn more about the benefits of the Technology, Innovation, and Education program, please contact our admissions liaison Laura Amrein at or 617-495-3414. If you have specific questions about TIE program offerings and requirements, please contact program administrator Rilda Kissel at or 617-495-3543.