Common Core Aligned: Gates Foundation Grants Funding Apps, Tools

CommonCoreAligned“…to create just these kinds of tests—next-generation assessments aligned to the common core. When the tests are aligned to the common standards, the curriculum will line up as well—and that will unleash powerful market forces in the service of better teaching.”  – Bill Gates, 2009 Speech To Natl. Conference of State Legislatures

The goal is to align everything so that students and the money have nowhere to go but Common Core.

Last time, we checked out  “Common Core Quest“, created by OpenEd Inc. and available on your phone.  Today, we’re looking at grants made by the Gates foundation for apps and tools to support Common Core.

Here are just a few that I found in a recent look at the 2014 grants being made by Gates in the college ready category that included automated designs. They were LightSIDE labs and Empirical Resolutions.

LightSIDE Labs LLC


Date: March 2014
Purpose: to develop a system that automatically assesses and gives feedback on student writing, and supports the revision process for students
Amount: $200,000
Term: 13
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Grantee Website: http://www.lightsidelabs.com


 

Check out LightSIDE’s goals. Looks like they want to automate feedback and they will render teachers unnecessary.


Empirical Resolution Inc.


Date: April 2014
Purpose: to continue building a website that provides personalized grammar lessons and interactive peer writing tools for students
Amount: $200,000
Term: 13
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Darien, Connecticut


 

Funny that the grant is for building a website when the company itself doesn’t have one – at least not under their name ‘Empirical’. Apparently, Empirical’s website is here at Quill. Empirical’s goal is the same as LightSIDE — reduce teacher involvement.

Empirical’s mission is to create an active learning environment by presenting students with engaging problems to solve and allowing them to construct solutions. In this environment, students take charge of their own education.

Quill is our web-based tool that provides personalized, interactive writing lessons for middle school students. Over the coming years, Quill will move beyond sentence writing and proofreading, into a variety of other writing activities.

 

Self-Directed Learning
Beyond these two grants for automated ‘personalized learning’, there were two more of interest. These two called for ‘self-directed’ learning and were given to FSG, Inc. and Educause.

FSG, Inc.


Date: June 2014
Purpose: to produce a case study on the approach to student engagement and self-directed learning
Amount: $33,000
Term: 3
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Grantee Website: http://www.fsg-impact.org

Educause


Date: May 2014
Purpose: to support the Next Generation Learning Challenges – Breakthrough Schools Fund
Amount: $5,100,000
Term: 20
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Louisville, Colorado
Grantee Website: http://www.educause.edu

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a freelance journalist and is currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
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