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Northern Illinois U to Introduce Center Dedicated to Ed Tech Research

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Next year Northern Illinois University will open CREATE Center, a new facility dedicated to "cross-disciplinary research on engaging advanced technology for education." It will be housed in the College of Education.

The center is expected to draw faculty and researchers from campus, industry and organizations to work together on multidisciplinary projects. Faculty from several NIU colleges, including Education, Engineering and Engineering Technology, Health and Human Sciences and Liberal Arts and Sciences have already begun planning research projects. Students, including future teachers, will also be part of the center operations, working on research projects, for example.

One such project is AVAUS (A Virtual Advisor for Under-represented Students), which is focused on student advising for STEM success at community colleges. That project will also bring in researchers from the University of Florida and the Bellwether College Consortium.

Other research efforts include Project IDEAL, which is exploring the use of a human-like robot to mediate young children's collaboration, and Project MathGirls, which uses virtual peers as learning companions to help change high school girls' negative self-images and attitudes toward STEM.

CREATE was the vision of Yanghee Kim, a professor and technology research chair in the College of Education, who will serve as director.

"Through the innovative use of technology, the programs will seek to address educational challenges we face in the real world and also create new opportunities for marginalized groups of students and teachers in conventional settings," she said in a statement. "The door is wide open; the center will welcome any NIU researchers who have solid ideas and are passionate about implementing their ideas."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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