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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 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. (Read a recent EDC publication co-authored by Parris, In Support of Educators: Strategies That Work).
Parris is a producer and designer for Zoom In! Learning Science with Data, an an NSF-funded project for creating lessonsto build high-school students' skills in using data to investigate and explain signficant 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. The tool also provides embedded professional development resources for teachers.
Previously, Parris 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 colleagues, he continues game-related work with an 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 EDC, Parris developed the IBM Kidsmart Early Learning Multimedia Guide. Translated into ten 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, he has also 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. Selected resources include: The Children of Willesden Lane: A Video and Web Teaching Resource, Connecting with the Arts, and Picturing Modern America.
Prior to joining EDC, Parris worked at the Children’s Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop) and 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.