A Next Gen Learning Challenge

Do you have a passionate belief in the need to improve college readiness and completion in the United States?

Do you see the possibilities for how technology can help improve student success and transform learning?

Are already using technology to further learning and increase student success?

So asks the website for Next Generation Learning Challenges. Their mission is lofty. They are looking for "the best, brightest, most innovative individuals and institutions committed to using educational technology to make more students successful."

I find the mission appealing. I agree that technology is one path (though not the only one or necessarily the best one). But what  find most appealing is the open resources approach. Open educational resources (OER) is high on my priorities list. They describe "Open Core Courseware" as a a way to make "world-class, interactive learning materials available to those students and faculty in these high-demand, low-success courses, for free."

They are just starting their first wave of challenges and those focus on a topic of great interest at my own college and certainly at almost every other - ways that technology can be used to dramatically improve college readiness and completion, particularly for low-income young adults (Download the First Wave RFP) The submission period begins October 25, 2010.
There is a core set of courses that almost all students take as they enter college. Unfortunately, sometimes as many as half of them – particularly low-income students and those with the least preparation – will not succeed in those courses, wasting their time and the college’s resources and putting graduation at risk. At the same time, faculty are often left to “recreate the wheel” for thousands of similar courses around the country with little access to high-quality, customizable digital resources.
From their FAQs page, you will find that NGLC is a collaboration among philanthropists, educators, innovators, and technologists focusing on innovative IT solutions.

They will be providing grants,but they also want to start dialogue and community building through a social network and community engagement.

The four challenges are: Open Core Courseware, Blended Learning, Web 2.0 Engagement and Learning Analytics.

Even if you don't apply for a grant, you can benefit from the program. All content contributed to NGLC (from website postings to information generated by grantees) will be available to the community under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, which allows community-generated content to move in and out of the site with ease. Grantees are encouraged to make other supporting technology available under approved open-source licenses.


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