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Name of Collaboratory :


Center for Innovative Learning Technologies (CILT)


URL :  

Collaboratory Status :

Operational   Start Date : 1997 End Date : 2004 Info Last Updated : Sun, Dec 5 2010 1:01am PST

Primary Collaboratory Function :

  Distributed Research Center  

Secondary Collaboratory Functions :

  Virtual Community of Practice, Virtual Learning Community  

Domain(s) :

  Education, education technology  

Brief Description of the Collaboratory :


The Center for Innovative Learning Technologies (CILT) was founded in October 1997 with a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to stimulate the development and study of important, technology-enabled solutions to critical problems in K-14 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning. CILT has engaged the collaborative efforts of a wide range of people, institutions, and organizations including cognitive scientists, computer scientists, natural scientists, engineers, classroom teachers, educational researchers, learning technology industry leaders, and policy analysts. CILT was designed as an inclusive national effort led by senior researchers at five institutions-SRI International, Stanford University, University of California at Berkeley, Vanderbilt University, and the Concord Consortium. This distributed structure brought together substantial experience in foundational research on learning, technology innovation, and school improvement.

Four theme teams focused the efforts in areas of highest promise: Visualization, Modeling, and Design; Ubiquitous Computing; Assessments for Learning; and Community Tools. CILT also conducts synergy projects that synthesize important ideas and tools from all themes.
CILT workshops: a collaborative forum in which the community met to assess the progress of the field, define research agendas, and initiate new partnerships.
CILT seed grants: a unique mechanism to provide rapid funding ($5-15K) within each theme to initiate promising collaborations in critical directions.
The CILT Knowledge Network: a growing network of people and resources in the learning technology field.
A postdoctoral program trained scholars to work at the intersection of the sciences of learning, technology innovation, and technology appropriation.
The Industry Alliance Program (IAP) encouraged companies to collaborate with the CILT community.


The Center for Innovative Learning Technologies (CILT) is a distributed research center designed to serve as a national resource for stimulating research on innovative, technology-enabled solutions to critical problems in K-14 learning.
The Center is headed by senior researchers at four core institutions (SRI International, the University of California at Berkeley, Vanderbilt University, and the Concord Corsortium), and work is focused on four theme teams (Visualization and Modeling, Ubiquitous Computing, Assessments for Learning, and Community Tools).

CILT provides funding to innovative new work via seed grants ($5-15k). It has also created the CILT Knowledge Network, a database environment that provides access to a broad range of people, projects, pedagogies, and other resources central to the learning technology field.

Much CILT activity centers around a unique conference/ seed grant system. The conferences have no traditional presentations, but rather are a set of ad hoc working groups forming around issues of interest. The ad-hoc groups that garner sustained interest can apply for CILT seed grants of $5-15k, which pay for additional meetings and some research costs over the next 1-2 years. Seed grants are required to be cross-institutional collaborations.

CILT also sponsors a postdoctoral program, allies with partners in industry and school programs, sponsors a design contest for handheld computers, and conducts a series of online NetSeminars offered through the Concord Consortium.


Access to Instruments :


Access to Information Resources :

  CILT Knowledge Network houses an online bibliography and directory  

Access to People as Resources :

  CILT's mission is primarily in connecting human resources within this field. Besides the conference/ seed grant system, CILT also has a postdoctoral fellows program.  

Funding Agency or Sponsor :

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Notes on Funding Agencies/Sponsors:

Organizations with Funded Participants:
Organization name:
Approx # of participants:
Description of organization's role(s):
Concord Consortium
1 PI 1 postdoc
SRI International (SRI)
   SRI Center for Technology in Learning (CTL)
2 PIs, 2 sub-PIs, 2 administrative people, 2 evaluators, 1 postdoc
Stanford University
University of California, Berkeley
1 PI 2 postdocs
Vanderbilt University
1 PI 1 postdoc
Organizations Otherwise Associated:
Organization name:
Approx # of participants:
Description of organization's role(s):
Intel Corporation
Palm, Inc.
PASCO Scientific
Sun Microsystems Computer Corp.
University of California, Berkeley
Vanderbilt University

Notes on Participants/Organizations:
Difficult to characterize-- 9 PI's,3-5 postdocs and 2-3 staff were partially supported at any one time. Conferences were attended by ~200.


Communications Technology Used :

  CILT website is a public face of the project, Weekly teleconferences, an email list, and an ftp-accessible site are the backbone of internal project communications.  

Technical Capabilities :

Simulation, modeling, visualization
Support for transition between synch and asynch
Directory of services/experts/resources
Asynchronous object sharing
Vetted knowledge based of multiple authors, Email/attachments
Asynchronous conversation
Synchronous conversation
Audio, Instant messaging/chat
  Key Articles :  

Pea, R.D., Tinker, R., Linn, M., Means, B., Bransford, J., Roschelle, J., Hsi, S., Brophy, S., & Songer, N. (1999). Toward a learning technologies knowledge network Educational Technology Research and Development, 47(2), 19-38.

Sabelli, N., & Pea, R. (2004). Six years of knowledge networking in learning sciences and technologies. Menlo Park, CA: SRI International.


Project-reported performance data :

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