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Solving School Challenges In a More Collaborative Way - 'Crowdsourcing'

Feds turn to ‘crowdsourcing’ for educational innovation

Education technology advocates hope that a new national online community will inspire entrepreneurs and educators to team up in developing and funding innovative solutions to some of education’s most persistent challenges.

The Open Innovation Portal, launched by the U.S. Education Department (ED) with help from IBM’s cloud-computing solutions and Spencer Trask Collaborative Innovations (STCI), aims to address educational challenges ranging from high school dropout rates to low reading, math, and science scores.

The initiative is part of a new White House effort to encourage innovative collaboration across all industry sectors. To do this, federal officials are turning to a process known as “crowdsourcing,” in which officials tap the collective wisdom of a large group of people through the power of the Internet, to inspire new practices and creative solutions to systemic problems.

President Obama recently challenged cabinet officers to have every federal department be able to openly discuss innovative solutions with the public in the next 18 months.

“The national, state, and local governments are basically at a point where old ways of fixing problems are not working,” explained Mike Turillo, chief operating officer and vice chairman for STCI, an organization that helps bridge the private sector with local communities. “They’re saying, ‘I give up,’ and are now willing to embrace change and innovation, because that’s all that’s left. They’re embracing a paradigm shift to innovation and collaboration, because without collaboration across all sectors, nothing will get solved—and everyone’s starting to realize this.”

Learn more about what inspired the collaborative ideas, as well as, how cloud-computing works at eSchool News.

Additionally, organizations and businesses can post “challenges” to the portal. For example, IBM is providing $500,000 in technical service grants through the Open Innovation Portal to support educational innovations that can bring measurable and sustainable improvements in K-12 student and school performance and teacher effectiveness. During 2010, IBM will offer five separate challenges on the portal to identify the best ideas for integrating advanced IBM education technologies within local education agencies (LEAs) to drive higher student achievement.

Visit the Open Innovation Portal at

To learn more about Spectrum's advanced solutions for integrating educational technologies into the classroom visit our website.

Open Innovation Portal
U.S. Education Department (ED)
Spencer Trask Collaborative Innovations (STCI)
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