How to Apply

How to Apply

Submit by September 18

For Phase I, participants should submit a concept that addresses the following points in a one-page document.

  • Summary: Describe the concept in less than 100 words.
  • Background: Describe the team in less than 100 words.
  • Goals: How will the proposal accelerate the rate of improvement of student outcomes? Please aim to address one the following problem areas.
    • Increase the number of students who are reading by 3rd grade
    • Increase the number of students on track in middle-school math
    • Expand the number of students gaining data and computer science skills in high school
    • Driving more students into college through academic and nonacademic supports.

    You are also welcome to identify another learning goal. If you select your own, please describe why it is important and how it is related to COVID-19.

  • Key factors: In the concept note, please address each the following four factors:
    • Learning Engineering : How is your project architected for rapid experimentation and data-driven continuous improvement? Could researchers use the data to better understand how students learn? Consider this as a potential example.
    • Effectiveness: : What is your evidence – or theory of impact – to explain why you think your idea will improve learning outcomes?
    • Equity : How does your proposal address the needs of marginalized student populations?
    • Scalability : How does your project scale?
  • Amount of Requested Award: Please see the guidance to determine the level of the award that is best suited for your proposal.


The Tools Competition will have a phased evaluation process in order to give participants the time and feedback to strengthen their potential solution and build an effective team.

Phase 1: Submit a one-page concept

Due Sept. 18, 2020: Participants will submit a one-page description of their  tool or technology that includes the award request and a description of you and your team. We encourage interested individuals or platforms to complete an eligibility quiz to guide the development of effective proposals.

Phase 2: Submit a detailed proposal with budget

Due Oct. 26, 2020: Columbia and the Learning Agency will review concepts and invite competitive proposals to submit a detailed description. Participants will revise and expand on their proposals, including adding a budget and a plan for execution. The detailed proposal should be up to 3,000 words and include a budget and proof of concept.

Phase 3: Pitch with a panel of judges, and winners announced.

Mid November 2020. The organizers will then select finalists, who will be given the opportunity to pitch their idea to a panel of judges. Winners will then be announced, and will participate in a Product Review Day in early 2021 to get additional input and feedback.

Winners announced

Week of December 3, 2020

Winners will then be announced and receive the first installment of their award. Winners will be provided coaching, the opportunity to connect with leaders in the field, and the ability to present their idea to a panel of educators for further refinement.

Product Review Day

Early 2021

Winners will present on their progress to date, and open challenges, to the other winners and engage with leaders in the field. Winners making sufficient progress by Product Review day will receive the second installment of their prize. 

Join a learning engineering networking session! December 14 at 1:00 pm Eastern Time
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