College of Education

Technology Innovation in Educational Research and Design

Projects and Research People News and Events

New Technologies Empower Diverse Learners

What is TIER-ED?


TIER-ED is a community of interdisciplinary researchers and designers at Illinois developing cutting-edge applications of new technologies to critical issues in education and learning across the lifespan. The initiative is based in the College of Education, but it draws on expertise from across the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in designing, developing, and assessing these technologies. Effective, impactful, and accessible education remains a critical challenge of the 21st century. While we live at the cusp of a technological revolution, where ubiquitous sensors, artificial intelligence, “big data”, and augmented reality are transforming many aspects of how we live and work, longstanding challenges in education persist: offering access to all students and all types of learners, finding optimal ways to motivate students and create new identities around critical areas of knowledge, and supporting pedagogical practices that are adaptive and culturally sensitive. There is a tremendous opportunity to apply the landscape of emerging technologies to these challenges in education, and TIER-ED is invested in taking advantage of this possibility.


We seek innovative solutions that

  • Facilitate cognitive and emotional engagement across academic disciplines
  • Addresses issues of equity and access for diverse learners
  • Prepare teachers to work effectively in an emerging landscape of digital tools

Our research and design platforms include

  • Augmented and virtual reality environments that enable new ways to interact with learning content
  • Data analytics methods that allow for personalized learning environments and understanding issues of access and equity
  • Multi-touch and other interfaces that support collaborative learning
  • Online learning platforms that transform the way that students interact with others and receive feedback from the instructor