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$5.4 Million Grants Fund Personalized, Blended Learning Programs

Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) has awarded $5.4 million in new grants to assist 13 secondary and postsecondary educational organizations in the development of new models of personalized, blended learning, where traditional classroom teaching methods are combined with computer-mediated activities.

These grants are the third wave of investments by NGLC, an organization dedicated to improving college readiness and completion rates. This round of grants targeted organizations launching new educational models "that incorporate technology to accelerate and enhance new, personalized, competency-based, blended program, supported by business models that can sustain expansion," according to information released by NGLC.

NGLC has now granted a total of $30 million to 78 organizations since its inception in 2010. NGLC is funding these new models with the goal of encouraging the development and adoption of effective educational innovation.

Seven of the organizations receiving grants from the NGLC will each receive $150,000 in pre-launch planning grants and up to $300,000 in one-to-one matching funds to help them develop solutions to improve student performance in secondary education.

Organizations receiving grants to develop new models for college readiness include:

  • Aspire Public Schools, which is opening two K-8 blended learning schools in Memphis, TN that focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), individualized learning, and computer coding;
  • Fayette County Public Schools in Lexington, KY, for its new STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) Academy, which is a partnership between the school district and the University of Kentucky and will offer personalized instruction, internships, and dual or college credit opportunities;
  • Foundations College Prep in Chicago for its grade 6 to 12 early-college academy, which will open in the fall of 2013 with the goal of creating an environment that simulates postsecondary education, while training its teachers in blended instruction;
  • Generation Schools Network (GSN), a nonprofit organization in Denver, CO, for its partnership with Denver Public Schools to apply GSN's school-redesign model to West Denver High School;
  • Intrinsic Schools for its grade 6 to 12 school, which will open in Chicago in 2013, offering adaptive digital content, multimedia content, small group instruction, group projects, and independent work;
  • Horry County Public Schools in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, which is applying a new model to one of its middle schools to focus on a blended core academic curriculum and a system of personalized supports; and
  • Matchbook Learning, which is applying its teacher-centric, blended school model to a middle school in Tennessee's Achievement School District.

Six other organizations receiving grants from the NGLC will receive grants to develop "new models for online and blended programs that significantly improve postsecondary access, persistence, completion, and affordability, without compromising the quality of learning outcomes."

Organizations receiving grants to develop new models for college completion include:

  • Kentucky Community and Technical College System, which will receive $1 million to convert its existing, competency-based learn-on-demand model to support an associate's degree in Arts/Science - General Studies;
  • Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, which will receive $1 million to develop and offer an accelerated, online Bachelor of Arts degree with a strong service-learning component, in partnership with Columbus State University;
  • Altius Education in San Francisco, which will receive $300,000 to move all of Ivy Bridge College's courses to the personalized learning platform, Helix;
  • Ameritas College Educational Services in Irvine, CA, which will receive $250,000 to offer Bachelor of Arts degree programs along with English language instruction for working Hispanic adults;
  • University of Washington in Seattle, which will receive $884,000 to provide an online degree-completion program at a lower cost for Americans who have earned some college credits but, owing to other life commitments, need an online format to complete their degrees; and
  • Rio Salado College in Phoenix, Arizona, which will receive $970,000 to create a program for targeted students in early college programs, educational service partnerships, and those seeking to obtain credit for prior learning.

Funding for the third wave of the NGLC grant program was provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Further information is available on the NGLC site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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