NLI Team

Screen_shot_2010-10-08_at_9.22.57_AM.png**Dr. Hiller Spires**,is a Professor of Literacy and Technology in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction; she received her Ph.D. in literacy education from the University of South Carolina. She served as the founding director of The William and Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovationfrom 2002-2006 and currently serves as FI Senior Research Fellow. Her research focuses on the effects of digital literacies on learning, including emerging literacies associated with gaming environments. She received NC State University's Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor Award in 2012. She is co-PI on the NSF-funded projects, Crystal Islandand Narrative Theatre. She has published in Journal of Educational Psychology, Cognition & Instruction, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, Literacy Research & Instruction, Reading Psychology, among other journals. She coordinates the New Literacies & Global Learning K-12 Reading graduate program and co-directs the Friday Institute’s New Literacies Collaborative. Check out her website.

Dr. John K. Lee, is an associate professor of social studies and middle grades education. He conducts research on digital history, and is specifically interested in the development of innovative ways for supporting teachers and students as they make use of online historical resources. He is author of the book Visualizing Elementary Social Studies Methods and co-author of the book Guiding Learning with Technology. He is also involved in efforts to theorize and develop tools and materials related to new literacies. For more see

Erin_2011.PNGErin Lyjak is a research associate at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, working on the New Literacies Collaborative project. She received her Master's degree in Experimental Psychology from Radford University. Erin has been in the field of educational research for over 10 years. Prior to joining The New Literacies team, she worked on a wide range of educational studies, including school violence prevention, standardized testing, PISA , and chancellor reviews.

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Crystal Simmons is a Curriculum and Instruction doctoral student at North Carolina State University with a concentration in Social Studies Education. She received her bachelors in history and international studies at UNC-Chapel Hill. Also at UNC-Chapel Hill she obtained her Masters of Education in Social Studies Education. For six years she taught 8th grade social studies both in Asheboro City and Durham Public Schools. Her leadership roles within the schools included department chair for the social studies department, team leader, faculty council, and after school manager. While in her fifth year of teaching she was named teacher of the year for Githens Middle School in Durham. Currently as a full time doctoral student she teaches pre-service teachers in social studies methods for middle grades and an introductory course to education. Her research interests are critical race theory and racial identity development in social studies education