New Designs for School
New Designs for School

We’ve all had the experience of truly purposeful, authentic learning and know how valuable it is. Educators are taking the best of what we know about learning, student support, effective instruction, and interpersonal skill-building to completely reimagine schools so that students experience that kind of purposeful learning all day, every day.

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NGLC seeks approaches that can help all students—but especially low-income students and students of color—develop the skills and knowledge necessary to lead productive lives.

October 5, 2011 (Washington, DC) - Signaling the need for a fundamental change in the way education is designed and delivered across secondary and postsecondary institutions, Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) today announced the availability of $12 million in grants for comprehensive models that apply technology to personalize students’ learning experiences, thereby improving the speed and depth by which they develop and master critical knowledge and skills.

NGLC’s Wave III focuses on breakthrough models for both college readiness and completion and includes two separate Requests for Proposals: one addressing grades 6-12 and one targeting postsecondary education (including two-year and four-year degree programs). NGLC is seeking approaches that can help all students—but especially low-income students and students of color—develop the skills and knowledge necessary to lead productive lives. Wave III is looking for models that have a clear, sustainable expansion or adoption plan to meet the need.

“There is a great deal of data showing that many students are not prepared to succeed in college,” said Ira Fuchs, NGLC Executive Director. “Technology has the power to disrupt the status quo, and is beginning to do so in education. Now is the time to identify and scale initiatives that are having success and then accelerate their adoption across the education spectrum.” 

NGLC is identifying proven and emerging technology-enabled solutions and providing support that helps to increase their visibility and adoption. In addition to providing investment capital, NGLC is building a body of evidence and creating a community of innovators and adopters who are working to dramatically improve student success in the United States. 

NGLC’s Wave IIIa, Breakthrough School Models for College Readiness, will seek new, technology-enabled, whole school solutions that aim to radically improve student performance across grades 6-12. Applicants would be eligible for $150,000 pre-launch planning grants and up to $300,000 in one-to-one matching funds. NGLC expects to make up to twenty $150,000 awards and has a pool of $3 million for the one-to-one matching funds. NGLC will be seeking both district and charter school applicants who seek to launch new blended school models. 

NGLC’s Wave IIIb, Breakthrough Models for College Completion, will identify innovations that stimulate the development of new, next generation online and blended programs that lead to the highest quality associate or bachelor degrees. Wave IIIb additionally poses the question:  Have learning, policy, and organizational processes advanced far enough to enable associate and bachelor degree programs to be delivered for $5,000 or less per student per year without sacrificing quality, accessibility, or scalability? NGLC believes such potential exists and seeks to answer the question and provide findings to the field. Applicants, including accredited public, private or for-profit institutions of higher education, are eligible for awards up to $1 million. 

“Complete programs of study that redesign the learning process and personalize the learners’ experience can dramatically improve student success,” said Diana Oblinger, President and CEO of EDUCAUSE, a professional organization that seeks to advance higher education through the use of information technology and is the managing partner of the NGLC initiative. 

NGLC’s first two waves of challenges awarded $17.5 million in grants to 48 organizations and institutions in 33 states, the District of Columbia, and the United Kingdom. As with earlier waves, Wave III grantees will be expected to participate in rigorous program evaluation as well as publicly disseminating their approaches, key findings, and program outcomes. Funding for Wave III is being provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

“Our first two waves of grants invested in catalytic building blocks to support new educational approaches that directly counter outdated elements of our current education system,” said Fuchs. “In Wave III, our emphasis moves from specific learning materials to whole school models and complete degree programs that reorganize the learning process and redefine student experiences.” 

More information can be found at Additionally, four one-hour long webinars are scheduled to discuss Wave III in more detail:

Oct. 11, 2011, 1:00 p.m. ET
Wave IIIa, Breakthrough School Models for College Readiness | Proposal Walkthrough 

Oct. 13, 2011, 1:00 p.m. ET
Wave IIIb, Breakthrough Models for College Completion | Proposal Walkthrough 

Oct. 25, 2011, 3:00 p.m. ET
Wave IIIa Breakthrough School Models for College Readiness | Program Officer Chat 

Oct. 27, 2011, 3:00 p.m. ET 
Wave IIIb Breakthrough Models for College Completion | Program Officer Chat 

For a complete schedule and login details, please visit events.

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Next Generation Learning Challenges

A dedicated team moving the mission of NGLC forward, helping to bring next gen learning to today’s students.