There is a greater appetite to try new educational models as schools try to adjust to the social and emotional needs of students returning from times of pandemic lockdowns and other disruptions in recent years.
But before schools can try new models, they need to know what’s out there.
A new online library called the Innovative Models Exchange, unveiled on Monday, hopes to give educators an easy place to quickly consider some possibilities. The exchange, developed by nonprofit Transcend Education with funding from the Gates Foundation, allows schools to search a database of “innovative” models that Transcend says are ready for adoption by schools. schools.
The association hopes that the database will shake up the education system.
For more than a century, the American education system has relied on the same educational model, says Jenee Henry Wood, chief learning officer at Transcend. And Wood says this model leaves no room for alternatives.
Transcend sees its mission as replacing that model and working against a one-size-fits-all approach for American schools. According to the group, what is needed is a set of new models that allow schools to innovate.
Investigating new models of education would typically require a school to have the right connections – even to know that other schools are trying new learning methods – as well as the finances and time to travel to those schools. .
Having an online database will allow schools to be more exploratory, Transcend argues.
The exchange currently features 36 models approved by the nonprofit. Examples include whole-child learning models, blended learning models, and high-dose tutoring models. For each, there is an overview of the model, as well as notes on the model’s design, existing materials for schools looking to implement the model, and why Transcend considers it innovative, and other information.
Ultimately, the nonprofit hopes the exchange will accelerate the adoption and scale of education transformation attempts by making it cheaper and easier to explore them.
High dose tutoring
“Schools, typically, in this country, don’t have enough of a culture of innovation. We have an opportunity to create that now,” says Alan Safran, CEO of Saga Education, a high-dose tutoring nonprofit.
High-dose tutoring – a form of intensive, small-group tutoring – is one of the areas of innovation collected on Transcend’s exchange, and Saga Education is one of the models featured in this collection.
Proponents of the approach say high-dose tutoring would help address the literacy crisis and would also help ease the burden on overworked teachers. But it took time for the districts to hear them.
Few schools had adopted tutoring models until this year, when more than 40% of districts said they planned to spend money on tutoring, Safran says. But, while many school districts have earmarked federal relief funds for tutoring, some of that money may be earmarked for less proven tutoring methods, like 24/7 online tutoring, versus which Safran warns.
Successfully transitioning to tutoring models is also important, he says. While some districts may be eager to rush these days, Safran says it’s best to introduce tutoring slowly — starting small — if it’s a system-wide change.
Safran sees the new exchange as a tool to advance evidence-based tutoring.
According to Safran, platforms like the exchange model make it easier for district leaders to connect to programs that have already been approved.
“It’s an open door for us, which is very important when there’s so much noise,” says Safran.