America, the Edtech Savvy: EdSurge Launches Second Annual 'Fifty States Project'

America, the Edtech Savvy: EdSurge Launches Second Annual 'Fifty States Project'

Alice Barton

We love educators, and they know their students--and how they want technology to serve them--better than anyone. To that end, we want to celebrate the knowledge and great practices shared by these educators from urban, suburban and rural communities, all of whom are wielding technology to make a real difference for kids.

That's why in 2014, we came up with the Fifty States Project (#edsurge50)--an EdSurge initiative to publish articles by educators in each of the 50 states and several U.S. territories over the course of a year, showcasing educators’ stories of supporting learning with technology.

With the publishing of the project came impact. Educators were recognized by local media; several writers were flown out to California at speak at a Stanford University symposium; and readers called out the importance of teacher voice in the edtech world.

And because people took note, we’re back--rebooting the Fifty States Project for the 2015-2016 school year.

We’re looking for detailed examples of meaningful, credible practices to share--specific, actionable practices that other educators and administrators can adopt. We want to hear about the successes and, yes, the hiccups, including the tools, resources and stakeholders that helped you and your students soar.

We’ll highlight the states as we find writers to represent them (see below). To kick off this year, we’ve got articles from educators in Texas, California, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

The official Fifty States map identifies which states have been claimed (green) and which states have yet to be represented (gray).

What are the stories about?

This year, the Fifty States Project is sponsored in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Teachers Know Best survey. Many of the articles will include a snippet of data from the Teachers Know Best report, to provide insights into what teachers nationwide have and want from edtech.

We invite educators to submit articles in any of the following categories:

  • How-To’s from Inside the Classroom: Got a step-by-step guide around using technology in your school or district--from grading to digital portfolios to data collection? Tell us about how you use that technology or empower kids to use that technology.
  • Making Data Work: Data, privacy, assessments--at times, these elements support or undercut one another. How are you collecting and using data to tailor and improve instruction and practices? How do you or your school safeguard student data?
  • Educators Know Professional Development: Professional development comes in many forms, from online courses to conferences and EdCamps. What makes a difference for you? Where are you making a difference in the ideas and practices around professional development?
  • What Educators Want from Digital Tools: What are the tools that you love--and where are the holes in your curriculum that tools can help fill? Tell us what you’re looking for--or if you yourself have or created the best tool out there for K-12.

Does this funding mean that the authors, the Gates Foundation, and the EdSurge team agree on everything? No way--and that’s part of the beauty of this project.

Who are the writers--and how can I get involved?

We invite educators--teachers, admins, and/or district leaders--to tell their stories about how they are implementing or integrating technology. If you work in K-12, we want to hear from you. Admire a colleague’s work? Nudge them to write for us.

If we’ve already published a writer in your state, we invite you to submit an idea anyway. EdSurge is always looking for great stories, independent of the Fifty States Project. Interested parties can apply here by submitting a short paragraph about their practices or article idea. Or, you can nominate an educator you know with incredible work.

If you apply and are accepted, then we’ll ask you to write your story. We’ll polish your prose with a little editorial elbow grease and put it on EdSurge. And, added bonus, you’ll get a Fifty States contributor badge (shown to the right) for your blog or profile! 

Will this project be available in any other form?

We hope to compile these stories into a book at the completion of the project. If you are interested in potentially purchasing a copy, indicate your interest here--it will help us gauge interest. (To purchase last year’s Fifty States Project book, visit

Once again, we look forward to hearing your stories and including you in our collection of great educator voices. And if you’d like to join in the conversation and even share stories from your own schools and districts, Tweet with #Edsurge50. We'll periodically share them on the site!

The project is supported in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the individual contributors alone and do not reflect the views of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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