Input Sought on Mechanisms for Educational Technology

On Jan. 13, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy posted a Request for Information (RFI) on advancing learning technology through “pull” mechanisms.

Traditionally, the federal government has favored “push” mechanisms, such as grants, contracts, or tax incentives, which pay for inputs; a problem must be solved and an organization is paid to try a particular approach, regardless of whether that approach is successful in solving the problem. “Pull” mechanisms, however, pay for outcomes, without specifying a course of action. Established pull mechanisms have been used in government and in other sectors; these include prizes; pay-for-success strategies, such as social impact bonds; and advance market commitments.

OII’s mission is to “accelerate the pace at which the U.S. identifies, develops, and scales solutions to education’s most important and persistent challenges.” An integral part of this work is serving as thought partners and collaborators in considering new and innovative structural solutions. A number of pull strategies are promising and could have strong applicability to learning technologies and our students’ future.

For more information, check out the White House’s blog post on the RFI.

Increasing Educational Productivity: Smart Ideas for Challenging Times

Sharing effective practices and strategies plays a smart role in helping to ensure that education dollars are spent efficiently and effectively, and can be particularly helpful to local and state leaders during tough fiscal times. With this in mind, the Office of Innovation and Improvement is launching Increasing Educational Productivity: Innovative Approaches & Best Practices, a collection of resources and examples on the school, district, and state strategies being implemented across the country to improve student achievement and maximize the impact of educational investments.

This work builds off of Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s Smart Ideas to Increase Educational Productivity and Student Achievement, a document released to the nation’s governors in March describing steps that states, districts, and schools can take to ensure that federal dollars support policies, practices, and programs with the greatest positive impact on students.

Looking Back and Ahead: The View from OII’s Assistant Deputy Secretary

This past calendar year, a number of new programs and initiatives were launched and many of OII’s existing programs were refined to align with the Department of Education’s commitment to being an “engine of innovation” for the U.S. public education system. Assistant Deputy Secretary Jim Shelton discusses the highlights of the past year and provides his thoughts on several important issues facing education in this February interview with The Education Innovator.

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