Education Innovation Clusters (EdClusters) are local communities of practice that bring together educators, entrepreneurs, funders, researchers, and other community stakeholders (families, local government, nonprofits) to support innovative teaching and learning in their region. By working together, these partners form a network that is uniquely positioned to design, launch, iterate on, and disseminate breakthrough learning practices and tools.
Based on Alfred Marshall and Michael Porter’s theories of economic agglomeration, EdClusters draw on strengths and resources that already exist within a community to make a lasting and sustainable change in local education ecosystems.
In 2014, Digital Promise formally partnered with the U.S. Department of Education and its Office of Education Technology to catalyze, support, and scale individual EdClusters, stand up a national network of these regional ecosystems, and convene stakeholders to share best practices. Although Digital Promise no longer works directly with the Department of Education, we continue to convene the national EdClusters network.
We believe that as EdClusters evolve, they will have an unprecedented opportunity to:
- accelerate the pace of evidence-rich innovation
- close the Digital Learning Gap, and
- improve learning for all students.
Through convenings, research cohorts, and working groups, we have helped many EdClusters to deepen and formalize their partnerships, supporting initiatives that improve learning for thousands of students.
Custom Solutions for Unique Regions
Educators who have embraced personalized learning understand that diverse pathways allow students with different needs to reach their full potential. In the same vein, EdClusters in distinct regions of the country are the most productive and efficient when they can pursue their own needs and goals. Rather than impose cookie-cutter solutions on schools in different regions and contexts, EdClusters work with local stakeholders to develop unique tools, networks, and resources that support students and strengthen the community.
Every EdCluster determines its own initiatives and agenda based on the region’s distinct needs and resources. In Pittsburgh, for example, the Remake Learning Network focuses on maker learning. In Tucson, Arizona, the EdCluster convened by CommunityShare takes a hands-on approach to real-world learning and community engagement.
Several of our EdClusters have partnerships with their local districts in Digital Promise’s League of Innovative Schools. Learn more about the League and its network.