Saturday, July 9, 2011

Next Generation Learning - Connecting Islands of Innovation

A few weeks ago I was pleased to learn that some connections I had made paid off...

(My personal and professional mission, to discover or design solutions that help people and organizations fulfill their potential, often involves making connections...connecting ideas and opportunities to people and organizations. )

I had the privilege of connecting four great organizations, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), CELT, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), and Edutopia, to apply for a grant through Next Generation Learing Challenges (NGLC). The project will rapidly expand the use and impact of ASSISTments technology to fundamentally alter teaching and learning processes for improved mastery of 7th-9th grade level Common Core State Standards and development of deeper learning competencies.

The ASSISTments system, developed by Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) under IES & NSF grants, combines online formative assessment with continuous feedback and expert tutoring. (In the grant proposal I coined the term "assessment AS learning" to describe ASSISTments, because it goes beyond summative “assessment of learning” and even beyond formative “assessment for learning”. The platform supports formative instruction and individualized learning.) The system has been used by hundreds of teachers and thousands of students across the U.S. and was cited in the 2010 National Education Technology Plan.

On June 14, Next Generation Learning Challenges announced the ASSISTments project as one of the winning proposals. The project is designed to scale use of ASSISTments from an "island of innovation" toward broad-scale use.

The founder of ASSISTments is WPI professor Neil Heffernan. You can learn more about Neil and the story behind ASSISTments in this interview on the nationally syndicated public radio show Hear and Now.

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