Pearson opens new iDEA Innovation Center to advance pre-K to college mobile and digital education

Research, development, and design hub to explore 21st century learning solutions and strategies; inaugural event features Professor James Gee of Arizona State University

Chandler, AZ, February 3, 2010 — The education services and technology company Pearson announced today the opening of the Pearson iDEA Innovation Center, a digital laboratory focused on user-centered design, software usability testing, and efficacy research. Located in Pearson’s Chandler, Arizona complex, home of Pearson Digital Learning, the Center will support Pearson development of pre-kindergarten through higher education instruction and design globally.

The Center’s inaugural event will take place February 10, 2010, when renowned Professor James Gee of Arizona State University will speak to an audience of educators, content developers, and software designers on the topics of literacy, learning, and educational design. This is the first in a series of Think Big sessions which will include topics related to: instructional design, emerging technologies, immersive environments, media design, and performance assessments.

“The goal of the Think Big sessions is to balance innovation with the needs of students, teachers, and schools and to open minds while considering practicalities. The iDEA Innovation Center is a high-tech laboratory in which we can collaborate with students and teachers, and together explore and promote new learning and teaching approaches made possible by the latest mobile and digital technologies,” said Shawn Mahoney, Executive Director of the Innovation Center. “Our mission is to learn more about what’s possible in partnership with fore-thinking educators, industry, and academia. We’ll be constantly inquiring: What will change the way we see and think about our world as we look to inspire learning?”

Many of the results of this research and exploration will be documented and shared more broadly by the Pearson Foundation, Pearson’s non-profit arm. The Pearson Foundation will also use the Center as a venue to share–via focused briefings for teachers and education leaders–the latest advancements in mobile and digital learning that are part of its own research and exploratory practice.

“Our efforts and discussions will focus on the nexus between academia and industry–ways to develop highly engaging, highly effective learning experiences that make use of unmatched expertise and strategic partnerships. It is our belief that we need to be collaborative and inclusive and to set very clear intentions to support, extend, and expand the thoughtful work that is happening to enhance learning for all,” said Mahoney.

“With the new iDEA Innovation Center, Pearson is expanding its ability to partner with education colleagues around the world. We are modeling how innovation and learning can happen successfully in virtual learning communities,” said Jeff Bergin, Pearson’s Director of Outreach, a role focused on working with non-profit organizations, colleges and universities, and other industries to explore innovative research and design ideas.

As a collaborative design, development, and research hub, the Pearson iDEA Innovation Center is centered around a usability lab and observation lounge equipped with state-of-the-art audio, video, and software capabilities.

In recent years, the usability lab has provided the setting for Pearson’s instructional design teams and researchers to develop and improve elementary and secondary products and technology solutions, such as SuccessMaker and NovaNET courseware, the enVisionMATH and Reading Street elementary curriculum programs which offer teachers the option of print, digital or blended instruction that tracks student performance and promotes individualized learning. The developers also have created small group and whole class instruction lessons compatible with interactive whiteboards and student response systems that include instruction, practice, collaborative vocabulary-building activities, and games. These programs are aligned to state standards and objectives, and they include complete lesson plans for teachers to ease implementation.

For more information about the iDEA Innovation Center, email

About Pearson

Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the global leader in education and education technology, reaches and engages today’s digital natives with effective and personalized learning, as well as dedicated professional development for their teachers. This commitment is demonstrated in the company’s investment in innovative print and digital education materials for pre-kindergarten through college, student information systems and learning management systems, teacher professional development, career certification programs, and testing and assessment products that set the standard for the industry. Pearson’s other primary businesses include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group. For more information, go to

About the Pearson Foundation

The Pearson Foundation extends Pearson’s commitment to education by partnering with leading nonprofit, civic, and business organizations to provide financial, organizational, and publishing assistance across the globe. The Foundation aims to make a difference by sponsoring innovative educational programs and extending its educational expertise to help in classrooms and in local communities. For more information, visit


Stacy Skelly