Congratulations to all of the first round grant winners of the Next Generation Learning Challenges initiative. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently announced the recipients of a combined $10 million in project funding. Non-profit organization EDUCAUSE will distribute the money. Competitors pitched ideas to the Gates Foundation for technology-based programs that could help boost the graduation rate from U.S. public colleges and universities. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the four-year graduation rate is currently a paltry 29%. About 54% of students graduate with a bachelor’s degree in six years.
The Next Generation Learning Challenges program was developed with funding from technology guru Bill Gates’ foundation to increase these numbers. More than 600 grant applications were submitted, each focusing on innovation and technology to help college students learn better and faster. 29 grant winners were announced for the first wave of the project. More grants are expected to follow over the next several years.
Among the winners were Wake Forest University’s BioBook eText, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Carnegie Mellon University’s Classroom Salon social learning tool, and the University of California’s development of 50 online university-level courses with transferrable college credit. Other grant-winning ideas included initiatives for socially academic networking, development of online study resources and the creation of multimedia learning assistance applications for students. The second round of winners will be announced in June.
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