5 big ideas for education innovation in 2018

Last year saw a flurry of activity in support of personalized learning, new school designs, and new approaches to K-12 education policy. Looking ahead, education innovators have their work cut out for them in 2018. Some of this work requires asking hard questions. Some requires acknowledging that there’s an elephant in the room. And some requires looking beyond our current conversation to where the next waves of innovation stand to emerge. Here are five ways I’m hoping the K-12 education innovation agenda moves forward in 2018:

(1) Unpack “just-in-time supports.”

One of the core elements of a high-quality competency-based model is students receiving just-in-time supports. These same supports seem to be implied when advocates of personalized learning call for tailored learning experiences and pathways that resemble those of high-touch tutoring models. Yet we often lack a clear, systematic way to talk about what those supports are and aren’t. What does learning science tell us about the best approaches? In which instances should these supports result from students seeking out help themselves? And when should educators scaffold them in? Put broadly, how can we infuse the notion of “just-in-time supports” with an understanding of what works, for which students, in which circumstances? I worry that without getting deep into these instructional innovations and beginning to categorize them in clear ways, structural innovations to rethink time and unlock personalized, competency-based progressions will risk falling flat. This year I’ll be keeping an eye on efforts like TLA’s Practices portfolio and Digital Promise’s Learner Positioning Systems for clearer answers.…Read More

Nominations open for The Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education

The nomination window is open for the 2017 Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education, which honors innovation and has become one of the most prestigious educational awards since its founding in 1988. The Prize is administered through an alliance between McGraw-Hill Education and Arizona State University, which began in 2015.

The public will have the opportunity to submit nominations by visiting McGrawPrize.com until October 31st, 2016. The 2017 Prize winners will be featured at and join in an evening reception during the ASU GSV Education Innovation Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, on May 8-10, 2017.

The Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education annually recognizes outstanding individuals who have dedicated themselves to improving education through new approaches and whose accomplishments are making a difference today. The Prize includes three categories: U.S. K-12 and higher education, and international education. Honorees receive an award of $50,000 and a bronze sculpture designed by students from ASU.…Read More

Why is innovation so often synonymous with disappointment?

The Harvard Business Review reports: Because a pure idea is a beautiful thing, and seeing it get mauled as it struggles to become something real can be highly disappointing. It’s painful to see your “bridge to the moon” end up as a mere woodshed. Welcome to HBR’s new Insight Center: Beyond the Breakthrough: Executing on Innovation. This four-week series addresses the reality problem that always besets great ideas, and our thesis in curating it is that reality isn’t a problem — or at least it doesn’t have to be. We believe that reality too can be a beautiful thing, although, granted, it’s more of an acquired taste. We’ll take a close look at the execution aspects of innovation. In other words, you’ve birthed the breakthrough idea — now what? How do you nurture it, raise it, put it on its own two feet? How do you make sure it has an impact on the world? We’ll draw on a range of writers with a range of insights…

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What we can learn from a dinner controversy in the desert

A few weeks back, I had the honor to emcee the closing awards dinner at the Education Innovation Summit in Scottsdale, Michael Horn reports on Forbes.com.  The evening took a sour note though as the dinner keynote, which Andy Kessler delivered, stunned and offended the majority of the audience by essentially arguing that as digital learning rises, we won’t need teachers anymore. The audience took to Twitter to voice vehement disagreement, and my co-emcee and I—we were just as surprised as everyone else—did our best to distance ourselves from the remarks and hit the reset button on the evening…

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New round of grants target education innovation

Applications for the second round of i3 grants are due Aug. 2, and grants will be awarded by the end of this year.

The federal government is trying to make it easier to apply for one of its grants for innovative ideas to improve education. But with budget cuts, there’s a lot less money to give away this year.

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) gave out $650 million to 49 school districts, charter organization, colleges, universities, and other nonprofit organizations with entrepreneurial ideas for improving the nation’s schools. On June 3, ED announced that there’s $150 million available for the second round of Investing in Innovation, or i3, grants this year.

Nearly 1,700 groups applied for the 2010 grants, which encourage education innovation. Applications are due Aug. 2, and grants will be awarded by the end of this year.…Read More

Experts: Use national budget crisis as an opportunity

The keynoters took the stage to share what they thought ed-tech leaders should hear to get them through their own troubling times.

In the opening session for the Consortium for School Networking’s annual conference, held this year in New Orleans, the theme was “Mastering the Moment,” which referred to the country’s current budget crisis.

Starting with tables of coffee and muffins, a few hundred or so attendees settled in to glean tidbits of information from four experts in educational technology.  With the intimate setting and small prominent stage, it seemed as though the session was less glitz and glam, and more get-down-to-business.

One by one, like participants in a town hall meeting, the keynoters took the stage to share what they thought ed-tech leaders should hear to get them through their own troubling times.…Read More

Forum explores how to spur school innovation

Panelists at a recent forum focused on how to encourage more innovation in education.

Innovation was a key theme of President Obama’s State of the Union address on Jan. 25, and it also was the theme of a recent forum in Washington, D.C., that explored how policy makers and education leaders can encourage more innovation in the nation’s schools.

Hosted by the Aspen Institute, the Education Innovation Forum kicked off Jan. 20 with Education Secretary Arne Duncan calling on states to implement the Common Core standards and integrate more technology into classrooms.

“We’re nowhere near where we need to be as a country,” Duncan said. “The brainpower here, the innovation, the creativity [can help us] get not just incremental change, but … dramatically better outcomes for young people.”…Read More

Feds turn to ‘crowdsourcing’ for educational innovation

Since the portal opened in February, 4,000 people have already signed up.
Since the Open Innovation Portal opened in February, more than 4,000 people have signed up.

Education technology advocates hope that a new national online community will inspire entrepreneurs and educators to team up in developing and funding innovative solutions to some of education’s most persistent challenges.

The Open Innovation Portal, launched by the U.S. Education Department (ED) with help from IBM’s cloud-computing solutions and Spencer Trask Collaborative Innovations (STCI), aims to address educational challenges ranging from high school dropout rates to low reading, math, and science scores.

The initiative is part of a new White House effort to encourage innovative collaboration across all industry sectors. To do this, federal officials are turning to a process known as “crowdsourcing,” in which officials tap the collective wisdom of a large group of people through the power of the internet, to inspire new practices and creative solutions to systemic problems.…Read More