CERTI: Center for Educational Research & Technological Innovation

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Creating learning through technology.

The Center for Educational Research and Technological Innovation (CERTI) at Chesapeake Bay Academy (CBA) was established in January 2021 to study the impact of a wide-range of technology-based interventions and strategies utilized at CBA, both before and during the pandemic.

To develop, evaluate, and disseminate new programs and practices utilizing innovative, learner-centered technology in partnership with institutions of higher education and in collaboration with the K-12 community.

CERTI will be globally recognized as a community-oriented, collaborative leader in educational research and technological innovation.

Meet Dr. Shantanu Tilak, Director

Dr. Shantanu Tilak, DirectorDr. Tilak completed his PhD in Educational Psychology at The Ohio State University, with his work focusing on how to synergize informal Internet-influenced learning and formal learning in classroom environments to allow students at varied ages (from elementary schoolers to lifelong learners) to acquire the skills for critical Internet navigation. At CERTI, Dr. Tilak’s research focuses on how neurodiverse students use information technologies to construct new knowledge and project-based artefacts at the collaborative and individual level.

Core Values

Learner Centered: CERTI emphasizes personalized education that considers each individual’s unique learning needs and preferences, through understanding and inclusivity.

Collaborative Leadership: CERTI is structured on a model of shared and transformational leadership that inspires individual, collective, and organizational growth.

Community: CERTI is dedicated to creating reciprocal partnerships that support and advance community investment in educational research.

Ethical: CERTI models ethical practices in education, research, collaboration, and resource management in the pursuit of just beneficence.

Empirical: CERTI embraces an empirical approach to knowledge acquisition based on experimental research and ever-evolving data driven conclusions.

Disruptive Innovation: CERTI reimagines learning across the educational continuum.

With the advent of the COVID pandemic, the use of educational technology has accelerated in totally new and unanticipated ways. CBA has seized the moment to study the wide range of instructional technology, methodologies, and interventions that have been implemented in service to all students, and particularly those with learning differences. Chesapeake Bay Academy, in partnership with Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS), Old Dominion University (ODU), and Virginia Wesleyan University (VWU) has created the Center for Educational Research and Technological Innovation (CERTI).

Research Highlights

Upper school students at CBA significantly preferred Microsoft Teams (Fall 2020) to ZOOM as a videoconferencing platform for “meeting their learning needs” (p < .05)(Spring 2020).

The predominant personality temperaments of CBA upper and middle school students in 2022 were conscientiousness and openness to experience. Both of these styles positively correlated with a preference for in-class vs. virtual learning (2022).

CBA students, parents, and teachers participated in a national research project to help validate a standardized measure of social-emotional well-being, the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA, 2018).

CBA faculty self-rated high comfort (rated 4 of 5) with pedagogical knowledge emphasizing individualized learning (2021).

90% of upper and middle school CBA students preferred in-class to virtual learning (2022).

Upper school CBA parents were highly satisfied with their virtual learning in May 2020 (rated 9 of 10).

Upper school CBA students were highly satisfied with digital learning in both April and May 2020 (rated 8.38 and 9 of 10 in April and May, respectively).

Being with friends was the major reason given for CBA students’ in-class learning preferences; emotional engagement in learning was high among students with in-class learning preferences (2022).

Why CBA?

CBA strives to be a beacon for best practice methods in individualized learning – now evidence-based best practice.

CBA size and nature makes it conducive to innovation and flexibility.

CBA has a foundational research infrastructure built on prior research projects within the school.

CBA has foundational alliances with area institutions of higher education.

Advisory Committee

J.D. Ball, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Eastern Virginia Medical School

Mindy Gumpert, Ph.D.

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Education, Old Dominion University & Virginia Wesleyan University

Judy Jankowski, Ed.D.

Head of School, Chesapeake Bay Academy

Linda Miller-Dunleavy

Master Lecturer, Old Dominion University (retired)

Taryn Myers, Ph.D.

Director of Academic Effectiveness and Associate Professor of Psychology, Virginia Wesleyan University

Derek S. Porter, Ed.D.

Teacher of History & Music, Center for the Study of Boys, Research Coordinator, St. Christopher's School

Mary Roberts, Ph.D., LPC-ACS, ATR-BC, ATCS

Associate Professor, Art Therapy and Counseling, Eastern Virginia Medical School