Next Generation Learning Challenges Seeks Promising Tools That Can Help Students Get Ready For College | Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
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SEATTLE--The Next Generation Learning Challenges today announced a new round of challenge grants that will provide up to $10 million to expand promising technology tools and applications that help more students master seventh- through ninth-grade math and literacy competencies, which are critical to college and career readiness. The initiative, which is already supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, also announced today a $1.4 million investment from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to broaden funding for the program’s grants to innovators.
“This initiative has the potential to help change how the next generation of students learns,” said Paul Brest, President of the Hewlett Foundation. “Technology has a great role to play in advancing 'deeper learning,' an approach to improving education that helps students achieve a critical combination of the fundamental knowledge and practical skills they will need to succeed in a fiercely competitive global economy.”
Next Generation Learning Challenges provides investment capital to technologists, institutions, educators, and entrepreneurs to bring promising technology solutions to more students across the K-12 to postsecondary spectrum. The initiative released its first request for proposals (RFP), focused on improving postsecondary education, in October 2010. Finalists eligible for funding from this round will be announced within the next several weeks.
An RFP released today seeks proposals for the new round of grants. Proposals must outline promising approaches to helping students master seventh-, eighth-, and ninth-grade content and competencies aligned with the Common Core State Standards—a set of guidelines developed by states that define the knowledge and skills students need to learn for success in college and careers. Applicants’ approaches must also include innovative learning assessment strategies that generate real-time information, which teachers and advisors can use to help more students succeed in their education.Proposals are due March 4, 2011; winners are expected to be announced in June 2011.
“We support innovators who want to harness the power of technology to help more young people get into and through college, ready to succeed in the workplace,” said Ira Fuchs, Executive Director of the Next Generation Learning Challenges. “We must accelerate the use of learning tools that hold tremendous promise to help meet this challenge.”
Applicants responding to the new Next Generation Learning Challenges RFP must present programs and applications that meet the following criteria:
- Target seventh- to ninth-grade math or literacy content and competencies; programs may focus on all ages of learners.
- Use modular content that can be mixed and matched easily by learners and teachers.
- Use embedded assessment that can capture and assess student performance and provide performance feedback that the learner and teachers can use to improve the learning process and results.
- Exemplify contemporary research in cognitive and learning science, including interactive and contextualized learning, multiple learning paths, and scaffolded learning that results in deeper disciplinary understanding of concepts, as well as opportunities for students to practice skills and competencies.
- Focus on student progression and mastery of concepts and skills, rather than “seat time.”
The Next Generation Learning Challenges will provide new challenge grants that focus on different opportunities and education challenges approximately every six to 12 months. It will also evaluate the projects it funds to build a body of evidence regarding their impact, and help create an active community of innovators and educators committed to driving next generation learning forward. Learn more about the discussion online.
“We believe that if technology is applied well, it has the potential to significantly improve student learning experiences and can offer more personalized and effective approaches to prepare students for college and the workforce,” said Vicki Phillips, Director of Education, College Ready at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Through the Next Generation Learning Challenges partnership, we are excited to collaborate with a diverse field of innovators to improve and increase the adoption of tools that help students succeed.”
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