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Next Generation Learning Grants

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced the Next Generation Learning Challenges, a collaborative, multi-year initiative that aims to dramatically improve college readiness and college completion in the United States through the use of technology. The program will provide grants to organizations and innovators to expand promising technology tools to more students, teachers, and schools. It is led by nonprofit EDUCAUSE, which works to advance higher education through the use of information technology.

The program has released the first of a series of Requests for Proposals to solicit funding proposals for technology applications that can improve postsecondary education. This round of funding will total up to $20 million, including grants that range from $250,000 to $750,000. Applicants with top-rated proposals will receive funds to expand their programs and demonstrate effectiveness in serving larger numbers of students.  The first-wave RFP seeks proposals that address four specific challenges:

  1. Increasing the use of blended learning models, which combine face-to-face instruction with online learning activities;
  2. Deepening students’ learning and engagement through use of interactive applications, such as digital games, interactive video, immersive simulations, and social media;
  3. Supporting the availability of high-quality open courseware, particularly for high-enrollment introductory classes like math, science, and English, which often have low rates of student success; and
  4. Helping institutions, instructors, and students benefit from learning analytics, which can monitor student progress in real-time and customize proven supports and interventions.

The initiative will fund RFPs approximately every six to twelve months. The second wave of funding, anticipated in early 2011, will focus on secondary education.

The pre-proposal submission period for the initial RFP opens October 25, 2010, and closes November 19, 2010.

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