The Institute for Research and Innovation


Transforming Education Through Research and Innovation

The Institute for Research and Innovation (IRI) was founded by Headmaster Geoff Jones and Director of Innovation, Thomas Steele-Maley and launched in 2015. The aim of IRI is to research, support and dessiminate the innovative educational design and practices of GEMS World Academy -Chicago.  IRI will focus on four strands of innovation and an ongoing design based research intiative that directly ties teacher leaders and their students into the process.

Innovation Strands

The horizon of innovation in education has radically changed over the last decade, and GEMS World Academy is in an incredible position to deliver the most innovative education experience in the world. To accomplish this, we have created a systematic and purposeful plan for innovation that focuses on four strands:

  • Learner as Researcher: Cultivating a “Laboratory as Mindset"
  • Connected Learning: Exploratory, Participatory and Inquiry Based Learning
  • School as a Mesh Network: Ubiquity, Data, and New Learning Environments
  • Landscape as Learning: A New View of Field Studies 

These innovation strands are interdependent as they blend our school’s purpose, leadership, instruction, professional learning, assessment, curriculum and learning environments.  


Our Program of Participatory Research for innovation and technology is a key component to realizing our goals. Rooted in the fundementals of Design Based Research, each innovation strand goes through a theorize, design, prototype, diffusion and iteration cycle with multiple teachers and classes. As active participants in their own research, teachers become elemental in the growth and success of each innovation and the cultivation of key dipositions of learning in children. 

Founding Board of Advisors

We will be announcing our Founding Board of Advisors in 2016.