Professor Heffernan researches how smarter technologies can help K-12 classrooms use technology more effectively and optimize student learning. His platform (ASSISTments) can run 100 different experiments comparing different interventions; I’m interested in going beyond what people call “intelligent tutoring systems.” He says "Ultimately, I hope to play a role in closing achievement gaps." He uses a middle school math platform with 100,000 students to study how to improve students learning of mathematics.
EdSurge published an article by seventh-grade teacher Andrew Burnett, FA Day Middle School in Newton, in which she sited her work with Neil Heffernan, the William Smith Dean's Professor of Computer Science and the director of the Learning Sciences and Technologies Program at WPI. She detailed how her research for Heffernan, involving ASSISTments, a responsive online learning tool based in learning science that was founded by Heffernan and his wife, impacted her teaching when she returned to the classroom.
Boston 25 reported that WPI is getting an $8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to scale up ASSISTments, a middle-school math assessment tool. ASSISTments was created by Neil Heffernan, the William Smith Dean Professor of Computer Science and the director of the Learning Sciences and Technologies Program at WPI, and his wife, Cristina Heffernan.