senior researcher and designer
John Parris is highly experienced in educational media, research and evaluation, instructional design, multimedia production, and project management. He contributes his expertise to a wide array of research projects and development of prototypes and products for science, social studies, and interdisciplinary curricula. All of his instructional design work is rooted in a deep understanding of the realities of classrooms, which he has written about in recent EDC publication, In Support of Educators: Strategies That Work.
John is currently a producer and designer for Zoom In! Learning Science with Data, an NSF- funded project to create lessons to build high-school students’ skills in using data to investigate and explain significant problems in biology and earth science. Originally Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as a history education tool, Zoom In! helps students read authentic primary documents, compare their perspectives, and write their own historical arguments, helping them build literacy and historical thinking skills required by the Common Core Standards. EDC launched Zoom In! as a free, research-based, online tool in 2015. The tool also provides embedded professional development resources for teachers.
Previously, John spent six years focusing on educational game research, design, and production. As the production coordinator for Possible Worlds, the IES-funded National Research and Development Center on Instructional Technology, he helped develop innovative science games for the Nintendo DSi and other handheld computing platforms. He also contributed to the development and field-testing of two Nintendo DSi handheld video games, Cipher Force and Code Invaders, designed to help improve the literacy and reading comprehension skills of struggling middle-grade students. With his CCT colleagues, he continues game-related work with another NSF-funded study, Digital Games as Analogical Sources for Science Learning, that is testing various design features of digital games in support of science learning to discern which instructional strategies can help build middle-grade students’ conceptual understanding.
Earlier in his career at CCT, John developed the IBM Kidsmart Early Learning Multimedia Guide. Translated into 10 languages, and in use around the world, the Guide provides teachers and parents with information and ideas for supporting early childhood development and learning by using technology at school and at home. Over the years, John also has worked on a wide variety of initiatives that have advanced the goals of leading cultural institutions, such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian Institution, the American Museum of Natural History, the Library of Congress, Carnegie Hall, and the New York Philharmonic.
Prior to joining EDC, Parris worked at the Children’s Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop) and at Bank Street College of Education, designing educational software and serving as a technical adviser to projects integrating new technologies into formal and informal educational settings.