Education Department's innovation portal signs up 4,400

Web site crowdsources ideas for learning

The Education Department’s Open Innovation Portal that's crowdsourcing ideas for innovation in education has drawn 128 ideas and more than 4,400 people have registered since the site started operations in February, officials have reported.

The department and IBM Corp. are sponsoring idea challenges on the site, and the online portal highlights eight challenges, including five sponsored by the department and three sponsored by IBM that use the company’s software.

In its challenges, the department asks for ideas on improving teaching, using data, developing standards and turning around underperforming schools. IBM wants ideas for how to best use its KidSmart Early Leaning Program software and play station and how to leverage the company's Reading Companion software.

Other sponsors of the portal are the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Spencer Trask Collaborative Innovations/VenCorps.org, according to a statement on the site.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the portal will be a “national marketplace of ideas” and a place for funders, innovators and practitioners to spotlight areas of need, propose improvements, and find funding.

Users must register and provide basic contact information, and users may submit ideas and supporting materials to the portal. Site members can rate the ideas.

Another section carries “classifieds” where members seek to collaborate or build support for various programs. Many of the postings refer to projects needing funding.

Some of the ideas include: Would teen students do more volunteering if they tracked their contributions to their communities at a national Web site? Would school physical education programs benefit from a Web platform that would guide them in providing anti-obesity education and monitoring the results?

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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