We propose a 1-day workshop designed to seed a cross-agency analysis of the infrastructure that is needed to bring research-developed learning technologies to broad use. While technology transfer programs exist within NSF and the Department of Education, we believe the challenges of bringing learning technologies to broad use go beyond what general-purpose technology transfer organizations are designed to provide. The workshop will be held on December 14, 2010, in Washington, DC. It will bring together individuals who have successfully taken their research-developed learning technologies to broad use with representatives of organizations that have brought some of those technologies to market, that help researchers develop learning technologies with scale-up in mind, that provide infrastructure for transitioning technologies from research to use, and organizations that fund design and development of learning technologies and research on learning with technology (the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Department of Education (ED), and the Institute for Education Science (IES)). Our objectives for this workshop are as follows: (1) Identify pathways for taking research-developed technology to broad use, (2) Identify phases in each of those pathways, and for each phase, identify the challenges to successfully completing it, (3) Identify infrastructure that is available for addressing those challenges, (4) Identify gaps in that infrastructure, and (5) Provide an opportunity for a broad range of program officers at NSF, IES, and ED to come together to consider this set of important issues. The end product of the workshop will be a document that identifies pathways for transitioning learning technologies to broad use, phases along each pathway and the challenges to success at each phase, available infrastructure for enabling the processes and mitigating the challenges, and infrastructure that is missing. Our hope is that these lists will enable and empower appropriate communities to continue the discussion and plan toward the needed infrastructure. Intellectual Merit: The workshop will build on the experiences and research of those who have worked towards bringing learning technologies to broad use and identify challenges and some of the ways of addressing those. Broader Objectives: An infrastructure that can help researchers transition worthy learning technologies to broad use will enable rich and effective learning experiences for the entirety of the country?s school-age population and beyond.
A one-day workshop was held in December, 2010, with the intent of beginning a process of identifying the major challenges in taking research-developed learning technologies to scale and the infrastructure that is needed to bring research-developed learning technologies to broad use. The workshop brought together individuals from three communities: (i) those who have successfully taken their research-developed learning technologies to broad use, (ii) representatives of organizations that have brought some of these technologies to market and that help researchers bring technologies to scale, and (iii) representatives of organizations that fund design and development of learning technologies and research on learning with technology (the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Department of Education (ED), and the Institute for Education Science (IES). Six broad challenges to taking research-developed learning technologies to scale were identified: Integrating with classroom goals and state/national standards; Obtaining funding for sustaining the innovation beyond its original funding; Finding a balance between technologies ready for current use and transformative technologies; Sustaining commercial models; Sustaining professional development; Technological scaling; Measuring success in novel environments. A broad variety of ideas for addressing these challenges were suggested: Common infrastructure for researchers to access schools and museums and to manage data collection, storage, and analysis; Funding to support tool development and integration and software maintenance; Tech-savvy professional development; Research on models for sustaining inexpensive broad use, including crowd-sourced solutions; A government-funded dissemination center; Central support for brokering research and evaluations; Business-savvy help for researchers; An approved repository of recommended platforms for development; Pushing the market beyond school; Developing good, widely-adopted 21st-century (automated) assessments; An OS-neutral platform for developers and openness to access data, APIs, etc.; Changes to SBIR that allow funding for educational non-profits; Set up matchmaking of potential partners that can come together in developing and scaling technologies; Holding workshops to help researchers learn about scale-up and sustainability. There was agreement that this conversation needs to be continued and broadened to include additional participants.