Celebrating 25 Years Collaborating With Teachers

We started in a quaint but nondescript little bungalow with brown siding on a street named after Concord’s hometown boy: Henry David Thoreau. The incongruous sign out front announced: “educational technology lab.” At the time, it was anyone’s guess what that was.

It was 1994 and the beginning of the Concord Consortium. In the historical Massachusetts town known for its revolutionary past, Bob Tinker was enlightened by a perception of the future. And thanks to the incredible vision of our founder, this small startup has become a true powerhouse, constantly developing innovative educational solutions over the years.

Premier issue of @Concord

The premier issue of our @Concord newsletter in spring 1997.

I started in 1997 as the project coordinator for INTEC (International Netcourse Teacher Enhancement Coalition), which included over 800 teachers across the country in one of the nation’s first online professional development courses. At the time, Internet speeds were measured in kilobits per second (one thousand times slower than today’s typical connection in American homes!) and Google, YouTube, and Facebook did not exist. But these pioneering teachers collaborated in online discussion forums and shared frontline tales about eye-opening experiences using student-centered inquiry in their classrooms.

A lot has changed since then.

We are now a bicoastal organization with offices in Concord, MA, and Emeryville, CA, near the heart of Silicon Valley. We have a staff of 50 curriculum developers, software developers, learning scientists, educational researchers, and more. (We outgrew that little house on 37 Thoreau Street in Concord years ago and now occupy two modern office spaces across the street from our “starter home.”) And our logo has changed, too, from a sunflower to a simple lightbulb.

InquiryWorks! book cover

INTEC teachers documented their classroom experiences.

One thing has remained constant. Teachers have been steadfast supporters and our collaborators in innovation. Early adopters continue to join our research projects, testing beta software and curriculum, and providing invaluable feedback about real students in real classrooms.

This year, we are proud to announce our new Teacher Ambassador program, which commemorates our 25th anniversary by recognizing 25 outstanding teachers.

As the new academic year begins at schools across the country, we are honored to share their stories. First up, meet Andrew Njaa, who was an online teacher moderator for INTEC and continues to innovate in his high school physics classes today. Here’s to you, Andrew, and all our awe-inspiring teacher ambassadors!