LEAP INNOVATIONS: Chicago-based LEAP Innovations, an edtech nonprofit, recently announced that it has received a $5.1 million grant from the Gates Foundation in order to support "New Approaches for Evaluating and Improving the Efficacy of Digital Courseware." Of the $5.1 million, half of the funds will go toward building LEAP's network infrastructure (including human capital and new research capabilities), and the other half will go toward developing further methods and evaluations that can codify whether edtech works in the classroom, specifically linked to the tools included in LEAP's pilot network.
In an interview with EdSurge, CEO Phyllis Lockett said that she credits the iZone in New York for inspiring this work. (Back in 2014, the iZone began short-term efficacy trials, which had also been supported by Gates grants.) "I was on an advisory group with Innovate NYC, and I was so inspired by the leadership," she says.
Lockett reports that now, LEAP and Chicago are holding a torch of their own, and LEAP will use this money to "codify the tools and resources" that can eventually be shared beyond the Chicago community. "The grant will go toward Leap advising other cities to replicate and scale our model and will allow us to serve more schools in the Chicago area," Lockett told Chicago Business on June 23.