Connecting League members, researchers, and developers to tackle pressing challenges in education
Across the country, school districts are tackling the toughest challenges in education, from student academic achievement to data interoperability to family support systems and more. Digital Promise’s Challenge Collaboratives engage teams of public school districts to develop shared solutions to the challenges they face.
At a Glance
Challenge Collaboratives are 1-3 year research and development projects that are driven by the needs and goals of educators. Starting with insights from the Digital Promise Challenge Map, Challenge Collaboratives bring together cross-sector teams (educators, researchers, developers, community members, subject matter experts) to co-create programs, tools, practices, or models to improve teaching and learning.
The outputs are piloted, refined and validated in multiple educational contexts and then shared with school districts outside of the League of Innovative Schools. An example of an output is our Real World Learning Roadmap and Builder to support districts and teachers in designing and implementing real world learning strategies and learning experiences.
Challenge Collaboratives Portfolio
Digital Promise facilitates Challenge Collaboratives with the generous support of a diverse set of funders. To date, our portfolio includes five projects:
- Real World Learning (Chan Zuckerberg Initiative) — Creating authentic, life-relevant opportunities for middle and high school students
- Assessment Data Interoperability (Michael & Susan Dell Foundation) — Integrating assessment data across learning applications to support teacher instruction and student learning
- Computational Thinking Pathways (National Science Foundation) — Articulating equitable, competency-based K-12 CS/CT pathways
- Open Educational Resources Deeper Learning for Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) (William and Flora Hewlett Foundation) — Supporting deeper learning in NGSS through challenge-based projects and formative assessment tools
- Computational Thinking for Next Generation Science Standards (Carnegie Corporation of New York) — Supporting effective, inclusive NGSS implementation through PD, computational thinking and micro-credentials
How it Works
Challenge Collaboratives support districts through deep collaborations with researchers and developers in rapid-cycle design iterations. This process happens in three stages:
- Challenge Scoping — Identify root causes of the challenge, scan the landscape for existing research and approaches, and set target outcomes shared by all stakeholders in the project
- Research & Development (R&D) — Create prototypes to test, measure, and improve in rapid cycles toward the target outcomes
- Expand Implementation — Implement prototypes with district and school partners to measure and improve the outputs in new settings
Challenge Collaboratives have a tiered participation structure so that a diverse group of Pilot districts can test and validate early prototypes that are co-designed by a set of Core districts. Scale up districts choose to utilize the output once it has been tested and validated in multiple contexts.
Challenge Collaboratives result in tools and practices that are developed by districts in partnership with researchers — and packaged to spread the learnings and benefits to the broader K-12 market. Models for solving educational challenges will support the creation of agile partnerships between districts, researchers, and others to develop effective solutions that benefit thousands of teachers and students.