It all started with a single demo.
The biggest connections between technology and education had a tiny beginning.
The revolution really began with an idea: that a tiny thermal sensor – originally intended for industry, and tucked inside a single test tube – might help students measure heating and cooling during phase changes. That idea was small, but for Bob Tinker its results were huge – a class period's worth of painstaking data collection suddenly shrank to less than 60 easy seconds. Students could see results quickly and were freed to learn and test new ideas at startling speed. This new digital technology could take an essential educational experience, amplify its impact, and make it convenient and available to all.
He didn't know it then, but this first demo planted a seed that would grow into a full, mission-driven organization. Technology – when applied to in appropriate ways to the right problems – had the power to transform education.
Bob took this demonstration on the road, showing its power to anyone and everyone he could find. And what first started as a series of physics-conference demonstrations soon turned into something much more. As computers became more available and more widely accepted, it was clear they were no passing fancy. Networked computing, rapid processor-speed increases and prolific consumer examples clinched the deal.
Bob Tinker and Stephen Bannasch founded the Concord Consortium together in 1994. The two shared a vision: turning the promise of educational technology into a reality. Since then, we've grown from those first two part-time staff to a full-time staff of over 30 innovators, all working to deliver on this promise.
Pioneers from the beginning
These ideas were pioneering from the start. And the innovation has continued unabated since then. We've successfully developed and researched many projects and generated many pioneering contributions that have shaped the field.
The Concord Consortium and its staff
- Invented the first ultrasonic motion sensor – currently used in thousands of classrooms across the country
- Created the first fast-response temperature sensor – the precursor to today's commercial examples
- Developed the first self-identifying probes and sensors
- Invented the first portable, self-contained probeware interface.
- Made the first connections between probes and mobile computers
- Gave birth to the Virtual High School, one of the first-ever examples of online education
- Developed the first multi-level model for supporting genetics learning
- Created the Molecular Workbench, the most comprehensive modeling software package for molecular dynamics education
Opening new doors with research
Our research has generated equally important contributions. We've provided some of the earliest examples to demonstrate that
- Models and simulations can support learning effectively
- Models, simulations and probeware can make science concepts accessible at much earlier ages than previously thought
- Probeware can lead to significant learning gains across many areas of science
- Online assessment holds significant promise
- Mobile computing can make learning widely available and accessible
We are hard at work in our labs creating more inspiration for education's future.