Dr. Robert Tinker

Dr. Robert Tinker is an internationally recognized pioneer in constructivist uses of educational technologies. He was the first to link probes to desktop computers for students to make real-time measurements—a technique called microcomputer-based labs. As chief scientist at TERC in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he applied technology, particularly advanced instrumentation and telecommunications, to enhance education. He was the first to use electronic networking to enable students to collaborate on distributed environmental investigations. The initial result of this work was the NGS Kids Network, the first curriculum to extensively use student collaborations and data sharing. This early success led to the Global Lab and GLOBE projects as well as the creation of LabNet, an early use of networking to support teachers’ professional development.

In 1994, Dr. Tinker founded the Concord Consortium to concentrate on applying technology to improve learning. His current research includes work on the educational applications of hand-held computers, large-scale tests of online courses for teachers and secondary students, sophisticated simulations and molecular modeling, and the creation of technology-rich materials for sustainable development education. The best-known of these projects is the Virtual High School, which currently offers over 180 courses to high school students throughout the country.

Dr. Tinker is also co-PI for the Center for Innovative Learning Technologies co-located at Concord, Berkeley, Vanderbilt, and SRI International, an international center for collaborative, cross-sector research and development of educational technology. Dr. Tinker earned his Ph.D. in experimental low temperature physics from MIT and taught college physics for ten years. He currently serves on the Committee on Technological Literacy and is a past member of the US National Committee on Science Education Standards and Assessment.