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Nathan Castillo

Key Professional Appointments

  • Assistant Professor, Center for African Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Editorial activity, Learning at the Bottom of the Pyramid 2 (Event), 2020 - 2020

Ph.D. in Human Development, University of Pennsylvania

Ed.M. in International Education Policy, Harvard University

B.S. in Psychology, Colorado State University


Awards, Honors, Associations

Outstanding Faculty Award for Public Engagement, 2021

Editors Choice Award for Original Research , Springer, 2019


Google Scholar Profile

Research & Service

My research investigates learning, teaching, and measurement in the Global South and how the appropriate use of technology can better support positive learning ecologies. My current research interests include early grade reading models in developing countries, the effects of education policies and organizational structures on student outcomes, and the application of advanced technologies for education.


Castillo, N. M., Wagner, D. A., Alrawashdeh, G. S., & Gidra, A. (2023). Language choice, technology and international education. In R. J. Tierney, F. Risvi, & K. Ercikan (Eds.), International Encyclopedia of Education (4 ed., pp. 817-824). Elsevier Science.  link >

Alam, A., & Castillo, N. M. (2022). Can digital personalized learning end the world’s education crisis? Education for All.

Castillo, N. M., Adam, T., & Haßler, B. (2022). Improving the impact of educational technologies on learning within low-income contexts. In D. A. Wagner, N. M. Castillo, & S. G. Lewis (Eds.), Learning, Marginalization, and Improving the Quality of Education in Low-Income Countries (pp. 113-147). Open Book Publishers.  link >

Castillo, N. M., Adam, T., Alam, A., Alrawashdeh, G. S., & Tiwari, P. (2022). Trends in Digital Personalized Learning: Landscape Review of Personalized Learning Solutions in Low and Middle-Income Countries. UNICEF Office of Global Insight & Policy.

Wagner, D. A., Castillo, N. M., & Grant Lewis, S. (Eds.) (2022). Learning, Marginalization, and Improving the Quality of Education in Low-income Countries. (Learning at the Bottom of the Pyramid; Vol. 2). Open Book Publishers.  link >

Wagner, D. A., Castillo, N. M., & Tuz Zahra, F. (2020). Global learning equity and education: looking ahead. Reimagining Our Futures Together: A New Social Contract for Education.

Castillo, N. M., & Wagner, D. A. (2019). Early-grade reading support in rural South Africa: A language-centred technology approach. International Review of Education, 65(3), 389-408.  link >

Castillo, N. M., Fierro-Villa, A., & Tapia Quintana, D. (2018). Advancing Human Development for Youth in Mexico: Constraints and Opportunities. In M. J. Nakkula, & A. J. Schneider-Muñoz (Eds.), Adolescent Psychology in Today's World: Global Perspectives on Risk, Relationships, and Development (Vol. 1). Praeger.

Castillo, N. M. (2018). Two ways artificial intelligence will transform traditional learning models. ICT Works.

Wagner, D., & Castillo, N. M. (2017). El aprendizaje en la base de la pirámide: Restricciones, comparabilidad y política en países envías de desarrollo. Revista de Sociologia de la Educacion, 10(2), 240-253.  link >

Wagner, D., Buek, K., Adler, A., Castillo, N. M., Tuz Zahra, F., Lee, J., Chittamuru, D., & Lee, S. (2016). Review: The World Bank's Mind, Society, and Behavior. Comparative Education Review, 60(3), 601-603.  link >

Castillo, N. M., Lee, J., Zahra, F. T., & Wagner, D. A. (2015). MOOCs for Development: Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities. Information Technologies & International Development, 11(2).

Castillo, N. M., & Wagner, D. A. (2014). Gold standard? The use of randomized controlled trials for international educational policy. Comparative Education Review, 58(1), 166-173.  link >

Murphy, K. M., Castillo, N. M., Zahra, F. T., & Wagner, D. A. (2014). Mobile Learning Design Solutions: Innovations in Learning through the Use of Mobiles across Contexts. In G. B. Gudmundsdottir, & K. B. Vasbø (Eds.), Methodological Challenges When Exploring Digital Learning Spaces in Education (pp. 13-27). (New Research – New Voices). Sense Publishers.  link >

Wagner, D. A., & Castillo, N. M. (2014). Learning at the bottom of the pyramid: Constraints, comparability and policy in developing countries. Prospects, 44(4), 627-638.  link >

Wagner, D. A., Castillo, N. M., Murphy, K. M., Crofton, M., & Zahra, F. T. (2014). Mobiles for literacy in developing countries: An effectiveness framework. Prospects, 44(1), 119-132.  link >


EPOL380: Education and Social Justice

CI446: Culture in the Classroom (Current, SP)

EPOL500: Proseminar for Doctoral Studies in Education Policy, Organization & Leadership

EPOL520: Education and Globalization (Current, FA/SP)

ERAM582: Evaluation with Applied Survey Methods II (Current, SP)

EPOL590: Information and Communication Technologies for Education Development in Global Perspective (Bi-annual, SP)