Higher Education

$20 million effort by Gates Foundation for eInstruction at College

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On October 11, 2010 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced a launch of a $20 million initiative that aims to find new ways to deliver college instruction, using technology to make college learning more effective, and possibly also less expensive. Bill Gates explained that the Next Generation Learning Challenge is to support through grants to educators and entrepreneurs, development of fully promising technology tools. Initially, the grants will focus on classes taken by students in higher education, but in later years it will focus on K-12 learning.

Some of the technologies that might be funded under the grant process include increasing the use of 'blended' learning, which combines face-to-face instruction with online learning; using digital games, interactive media, simulations and social media to spark interest in learning; supporting 'open courseware' for introductory classes such as math, science and English; and using learning analytics, or tests, to monitor student progress in real time. The initiative is being offered in collaboration with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and is being led by a nonprofit, EDUCAUSE, which works to advance higher education through the use of information technology. The grants will range in size from $250,000 to $750,000.

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