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Next Generation Learning Challenges Announces $12M in Grants

Next Generation Learning Challenges has announced it will be giving away a third wave of grants to K-12 and postsecondary institutions totaling $12 million. Funding comes from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (which also provides funding for Editorial Projects in Education, the publisher of Education Week).

The third wave of grants is broken down into two categories: one for grades 6-12 and one for the postsecondary level. The money available for schools serving grades 6-12 will go to those projects that combine "the best aspects of brick-and-mortar and online learning and result in more personalized, mastery-based learning." Winners of this grant may receive up to $450,000—$150,000 for planning grants and $300,000 in funds (that must be matched one-to-one) to carry out those plans.

The proposals should focus on student outcomes and achievement first and foremost, says an explanation of the proposal. Proposed programs should also have a special emphasis on personalized learning and learner-centered classrooms. And while technology is not the be all and end all, it provides an opportunity to explore flexibilities, such as cost savings and efficiencies of time and personnel, that should be reflected in the proposals as well.

Applications will be accepted in three rounds with deadlines of Nov. 11, Feb. 9, and June 8. The proposed schools will open in fall of 2012 and fall 2013. Two webinars are scheduled to help applicants prepare their proposals. The first (a proposal walkthrough) will be on Oct. 11 at 1 p.m. Eastern time, and the second (a chat with the program officer) will take place on Oct. 25 at 3 p.m., Eastern, so if this is an opportunity that piques your interest, mark your calendar!

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