What is educational innovation?

At the Sheridan Center’s Laboratory for Educational Innovation, we explore this question by creatively applying digital technologies and new media to enhance teaching and learning at Brown.


Digital technologies and new media practices inflect all our efforts, yet we believe technology alone—or for its own sake—is never sufficient. Effective teaching in every medium is shaped by an understanding of the cognitive, social, and participatory processes of learning. We seek to bring this understanding to bear on digital pedagogies and practices.

To that end, we approach our work with a spirit of curiosity and inquisitiveness. We make, we build, and we take apart. Every project, every collaboration presents opportunities to experiment and to re-imagine.

  • 1 Experimentation + Play

    Thoughtful experimentation and creative play are the starting points for re-imagining teaching and for developing new strategies for active learning.

    Experimentation graphic: nested hexagon, pentagon, square, triangle
  • 2 Design + Iteration

    We employ design-based approaches to consider the interplay of teaching, learning, and technology, iteratively refining and adapting our ideas in collaboration with our faculty and student partners.

    Design graphic: a compass within orange hexagon
  • 3Reflection + Impact

    Reflective practices, engagement with current scholarship, and careful observation of the results of our work allow us to monitor its impact.

    Reflection graphic: arrangement of concentric circles within red hexagon


At the Lab, we collaborate with faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates to explore creative enhancements to teaching and learning at Brown and beyond. Our projects draw on a broad range of approaches, informed equally by our own curiosity and by the scholarship of teaching and learning.


Working with the Lab is a collaborative partnership in which we identify and respond to the unique needs and circumstances of your specific project. Every project is different, but our basic process always includes several foundational components.

  • Consultation graphic: orange hexagon containing three circles joined by larger circle


    Extensive, in-depth consultations provide opportunities for sustained conversations about your ideas and goals. Consultations might also include discussing existing examples and brainstorming new possibilities.

  • Development graphic: green hexagon containing two arrows forming a circle

    Development + Iteration

    We work with you to develop initial versions of your ideas, whether that means re-imagining the structure of a course, creating a new assignment, or building a completely new tool. As we develop ideas, we also iterate to refine and adjust our approach.

  • Evaluation graphic: blue hexagon containing white magnifying glass outline


    We continually evaluate our work and the impact it has on the courses or contexts for which it is designed. This feedback informs the iterative process through which we refine and improve our work.


Envisioned in Building on Distinction: A New Plan for Brown and established in 2014, the Laboratory for Educational Innnovation is part of the Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning at Brown University.

We foster innovative approaches to teaching and curriculum design, promoting scholarly pedagogical practices and investigating how digital and online collaborations facilitate engaged, participatory learning.

With experience in digital pedagogies, design, digital scholarship and publishing, multimedia development, web programming, visualization and information graphics, and the scholarship of teaching and learning, we have the knowledge to sustain creative projects across the disciplines.

Contact us

Do you have questions about digital pedagogies? Ideas for an innovative project related to teaching and learning? Do you simply want to learn more about our work?

We want to hear from you. Contact Sheridan_Center@brown.edu.