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By Sarah Pliske • December 17, 2013

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Awards eSpark Research Grant

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has selected eSpark Learning as a winner of the RFP for New Approaches for Evaluating and Improving Efficacy in Digital Courseware. eSpark's RFP was selected as one of 8 winning proposals from a mix of non- and for-profit organizations from across the country. The proposals were evaluated by a panel of leading practitioners, school administrators, and entrepreneurs, as well as Gates staff, through a competitive, open process designed to identify the best new approaches to helping teachers better understand which courseware tools are working for their students and for innovative providers to quickly improve their products.


Maya Lopuch, Data Scientist at eSpark Learning, discusses eSpark's research on student achievement and engagement in educational apps.

eSpark Learning is embarking on an ambitious project to measure the effects of specific educational apps on student achievement and engagement. With the support of the Gates Foundation, we will evaluate hundreds of apps using real-time feedback from thousands of students all over the country.

eSpark Learning has been collaborating with school districts to increase student achievement for over three years. No other organization has more expertise in helping teachers and school leaders leverage iPads for student learning, and no other organization has a comparable infrastructure to analyze data on the impact of educational apps. eSpark's data on student achievement and engagement provides a previously unattainable view of educational quality at the level of specific apps. This data will help us rigorously identify which content is truly best of breed, as revealed to us by thousands of students. We believe that student voice is central to building the leading digital curriculum.

The aim of this project is to continually improve the digital curriculum and report back to teachers, administrators, and app developers about what works in the modern classroom. We look forward to sharing our results!

About the Grant

With the New Approaches for Evaluating and Improving Efficacy in Digital Courseware grant, "The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation seeks to invest up to $2 million in new approaches to facilitating short-cycle feedback on product efficacy so that teachers, school decision-makers, and parents have better information about the effectiveness of digital courseware, and developers of such products receive more rapid input to improve their offerings." (source)

About the Foundation

"Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation aspires to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. We are dedicated to discovering and disseminating innovative approaches to addressing extreme poverty and poor health in developing countries and improving the U.S. education system." (source)


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