Contest Rewards Innovative Partnerships for STEM Learning

By Erik W. Robelen — July 05, 2011 1 min read
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Calling all STEM education innovators.

The deadline is just four weeks away for an online competition that aims to identify, and reward, promising ideas to engage STEM experts from various fields—whether health care, technology, pharmaceuticals, academia, banking, and so on—with high-need public schools.

The winners will receive more than $120,000 in cash and in-kind prizes. (That’s a drop in the bucket compared with the federal i3 Investing in Innovation grant program at the U.S. Department of Education, which handed out some STEM grants, but presumably entrants will be as interested in the good publicity as the cash.)

The competition was launched in May by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Opportunity Equation, and Ashoka Changemakers, a nonprofit organization that connects social entrepreneurs to share ideas. Support also comes from a variety of other nonprofits, foundations, and companies, including Google, ExxonMobil Foundation, and the Mind Trust.

“Together, we can help build a movement that re-establishes this nation’s leadership in STEM education while tapping the talents of young people, particularly those in the highest-need schools,” said Diana Wells, the president of Ashoka, in a press release.

Entrants will be assessed in three categories: innovation, social impact, and sustainability. Entrants, for example, “must describe a systemic or disruptive innovation with the potential to develop lasting partnerships for the advancement of education in math, science, and related fields.” In addition, the judges will be looking for solutions that “re-envision” how schools teach STEM subjects and use outside STEM resources and expertise. Innovations at any stage of development are welcome, whether still in the design phase or already operating in a school, district, or state.

The deadline is Aug. 3 at 5 p.m. Eastern time.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.