Research & Centers

EdLab LogoEdLab is a design, development, and research unit that envisions and pilots knowledge projects for a fundamentally different education sector that is attuned to the emerging post-industrial world. EdLab engages in work that has the potential to contribute to the improvement of educational institutions today and the broader evolution and reconfiguration of future educational services.

The possibilities for enhancing education in all its forms are greater than they have ever been. Driven in part by new technologies of communication and knowledge representation and in part by new understandings of how individuals and groups learn, the prospects for advances in the design of educational tools, processes, and institutions have never been brighter. However, with new possibilities come new challenges to develop educational opportunities that truly meet individual and societal needs. EdLab addresses those challenges directly by pioneering new forms of educational tools, processes, and institutions.

The mission is to engage in conceptual development, demonstration projects, and new educational research to explore and document diverse possibilities for the future of education. This mission is pursued by involving scholars and educators at Teachers College and around the world in a continuing conversation about the future for education. The work is shaped by an evolving assessment of ongoing changes in the conditions for education.

The work of EdLab is organized in five foundational areas: Reimagining Schooling, Innovations for Online Learning, New Directions for Online Publishing, Efficiencies in Educational Research, and Charting the Future of Libraries.

Big Math for Little Kids is co-authored by Herbert Ginsburg of Teachers College, Columbia University with Carole Greenes at Boston University and Robert Balfanz at Johns Hopkins University. It is a comprehensive and challenging mathematics curriculum developed for pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten children.

The program is based on research findings indicating that young children are ready to learn math, capable of learning math, and enjoy learning math. Founded on these principles, Big Math for Little Kids aims to provide young children with an enjoyable, meaningful, and rich mathematical experience that lays the groundwork for academic success.

From 2004-2007, a three-year research project to evaluate the fidelity with which teachers teach the curriculum, to examine the quality of their teaching, and to determine the program's effectiveness in promoting student mathematics achievement. Since then, we have been developing professional development workshops In conjunction with this research to support teachers of Big Math for Little Kids.

To read more about the project, please visit Big Math for Little Kids or contact Herbert Ginsburg (

The Language and Cognition Lab is in affilation with the Department of Biobehavioral Sciences. Visit website.

The Education for Thinking Project examines the development of thinking and learning skills as a goal of education. Learning how to think and know what is actually known, and the value of knowing is examined through. It two components - Argument and Inquiry research. For more details see: Education for Thinking.

Director: Deanna Kuhn, (
Professor of Psychology and Education
Teachers College, Columbia University

The National Center for Children and Families (NCCF) advances the policy, education, and development of children and their families. Housed at Teachers College, Columbia University, NCCF challenges the status quo that perpetuates inequalities among children and families. The center's work is built on a commitment to eliminate educational, economic, and employment disparities through the production and application of the highest quality scholarship to the most intransigent social problems. NCCF informs and shapes child and family policy through cutting-edge research and analyses; the systematic training of future leaders, scholars, and policy scientists; and the distribution of relevant research to the media, policy makers, and practitioners on the front lines.

NCCF is co-directed by Teachers College professors Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor of Child Development and Education and Sharon Lynn Kagan, Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor of Early Childhood and Family Policy. (Visit Website)

The Institute for Learning Technologies (ILT), uses digital communications technologies to advance innovation in education and society. Rapid change in information technology is reconfiguring social, cultural and intellectual possibilities. University research, K-12 and post-secondary education, the arts, community and political activities, and social exchange are all in transition. ILT is a major element of Columbia University's effort to shape these transitions-transitions that are central to the University's mission and practice.

ILT takes education in its broadest sense as its primary area of work. In practice, it promotes an intellectually rigorous progressive education accessible to all. To renew progressivism, educators must pose powerful generative questions in cooperative settings; and limitations on the intellectual resources available to students; enable teachers and students to communicate beyond the classroom; and provide advanced tools of analysis, synthesis and simulation. Increasing the interaction of pre-college and higher education is important. The new technologies provide effective support for such novel interactions. The education of the 21st century will feature extensive collaboration among scholars, teachers, university of students, librarians, museum professionals, community organizers, parents, and children of all ages, and these relationships may span great distances and bridge significant cultural divides.

ILT pursues an integrated program of design, development, implementation, and evaluation.

  • School-based projects aim to alter the classroom through infrastructure planning and installation, content and curriculum creation, professional development, technical support, and evaluation.
  • Professional development includes workshops on the use of generic and project-specific technologies, seminars on curriculum design and development, and consultations by content experts and instructional technologists.
  • Content projects develop multimedia to support innovation in education, delivering high quality intellectual resources and learning tools to students.
  • Evaluation projects document the impact of programs and the principles of good design, working with groups in the commercial, governmental, non-profit, and educational sectors.
  • Consulting services provide design, development, and strategic analysis for organizations conducting innovative educational projects.
  • An internship program provides individuals with experience in school-based projects, professional development workshops, evaluation and policy studies, and content creation. Technology does not drive educational change, but it conditions educational possibility. Rooted in traditions of liberal education, ILT acts on the technological context to renew established educational traditions.

For more information, please visit:

The Education for Persistence and Innovation Center, or EPIC, is a global interdisciplinary research center at Teachers College, Columbia University dedicated to studying the critical role that failure plays as a catalyst for learning, innovation, leadership and career development. EPIC is led by Human Development Professor of Cognitive Science in Education, Dr. Xiaodong Lin-Siegler. Read more on the EPIC website here,

The Neurocognition, Early Experience and Development (NEED) Lab investigates how early life experiences and adversity influence children's brain and cognitive development, including language, memory and self-regulation. Our aim is to use neuroscience to inform educational, health, and policy interventions to promote healthy development for all children. The NEED lab currently has two ongoing research studies: The Baby's First Years: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Poverty Reduction study and The Building Understanding of Developmental Differences Across Years (BUDDY) study. 

Director: Dr.Kimberly Noble
Professor of Neuroscience and Education
Teachers College, Columbia University

Visit our website for more information:
For questions please contact the lab manager, Dayanara Sanchez (

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