Outcomes Research

Two Nonprofits Merge in Push for More Evidence of Impact in Ed Tech Decisions

Two national nonprofits working to ensure K–12 schools are basing ed tech decisions on evidence of impact are joining forces.

EdTech Evidence Exchange and InnovateEDU announced early today that they are merging, in hopes of accelerating their work to improve outcomes and efficiencies in K–12 education, according to a news release.

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The Exchange, founded with the University of Virginia School of Education and Human Development, will join InnovateEDU, whose network of initiatives focus on documenting educator experiences with ed tech and the resulting student outcomes.

InnovateEDU — which also announced a new $1 million grant from Overdeck Family Foundation to fund its efforts — started in New York City but has expanded into a number of nationwide research projects and initiatives to support under-resourced schools and educators, including:

The organization is “committed to massively disrupting K–12 public education by focusing on the development of scalable tools and practices that leverage innovation, technology, and new human capital systems to improve education for all students and close the opportunity gap,” according to InnovateEDUnyc.org.

“Too often, schools and educators must make complex – and costly – decisions about education technology with almost no information about which tools will be the right fit for their contexts. The result is that the American education system spends billions on edtech that doesn’t actually improve learning,” said Bart Epstein, CEO of the EdTech Evidence Exchange and a research associate professor at the University of Virginia. “InnovateEDU shares our commitment to solving this problem by helping educators learn from one another’s experiences at scale. By joining forces, we’re taking the next step that will enable us to disseminate the evidence gathered by the Exchange faster, and help educators put it into action sooner.”

The Exchange has published research showing that even before COVID expanded the use of ed tech in K–12 education, the nation’s public education system was spending over $25 billion a year on education technology but a majority of tech purchases were used ineffectively or not at all. The Exchange’s work has aimed to design and build instruments that enable K–12 educators to measure and understand how ed tech should impact and is impacting learning outcomes.

Its next stage of its research offers cash stipends to thousands of math teachers who commit to documenting their ed tech implementation and report back on the impact seen in their classrooms; the project is a joint effort with the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

“Having the Exchange team join InnovateEDU is a natural extension of the work of InnovateEDU to provide educators with the tools they need to understand what works for whom, when, and in what context,” said Erin Mote, co-founder and executive director at InnovateEDU. “By merging with InnovateEDU, the Exchange joins powerful national initiatives like Project Unicorn and BIRD-E, advancing our shared goal of a better-informed ecosystem for all schools and districts.”

Learn more at the InnovateEDU website and EdTechEvidence.org.

About the Author

Kristal Kuykendall is editor, 1105 Media Education Group. She can be reached at [email protected].