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HCDE and iSchool faculty collaborate on new network to improve educational technologies for children, supported by $11 million from the Jacobs Foundation

Leah Pistorius
September 13, 2021

3 headshots
Professors Julie Kientz (HCDE), Jason Yip (iSchool), Alexis Hiniker (iSchool)

Julie Kientz, professor and chair in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering, is the University of Washington lead on a newly-created network to tailor digital technologies for children, the University of California, Irvine announced.

CERES logoThe Connecting the EdTech Research EcoSystem (CERES) is aimed at reducing growing inequalities in children's learning and development and increasing access to education for children with disabilities. Researchers in the CERES network will study the larger context in which individual learning technologies are used, to design collaborative technologies that expand learning beyond the individual into the larger family, classroom, school, and community. The network will also study how artificial intelligence can be integrated ethically and responsibly into educational tools that prioritize children's learning. This work will contribute to a larger body of knowledge on children's learning and development, establishing a robust evidence-base that can be evaluated in real time, with transparent reporting and metrics, and measurable indicators of impact.

Collaborating with Kientz at UW are Information School Professors Jason Yip and Alexis Hiniker (HCDE PhD, '17). The overall CERES network is led by Candice Odgers, UCI professor of psychological science, and Gillian Hayes, UCI vice provost for graduate education and dean of UCI's Graduate Division. It was launched in September 2021 with support from a five-year, $11 million grant from the Jacobs Foundation, one of the world’s leading foundations in the field of child and youth development.  

“Dr. Kientz is one of the world’s experts in how families engage with technologies for healthcare, education, and general wellness," said Hayes. "Her research, alongside those of other faculty and scientists at UW, is fundamental to understanding how we can collectively design usable, engaging, and efficacious technologies with and for children and their families.” 

Other CERES collaborators include researchers with Carnegie Mellon University; the University of California, Berkeley; Germany’s Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education; the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences; the University of Cambridge; and Canada’s Western University. Read more in the press release from UCI.