Microsoft Invests Millions In Innovative Teaching Practices Research

Microsoft today announced that its Partners in Learning program is sponsoring the Innovative Teaching and Learning (ITL) Research project, which is led by non-profit R&D organization SRI International.

The global research program intends to “broadly investigate” the effects that information and communications technology has in transforming teaching and learning at the school and education system level. Microsoft says it will invest $1 million annually in the multi-year study in partnership with the governments of Finland, Indonesia, Russia and Senegal.

The primary focus of this research, which is being guided by outside advisors from the OECD, UNESCO, the World Bank, the International Society for Technology in Education and other organizations, is to assess teachers’ adoption of innovative classroom teaching practices and the degree to which those practices provide students with personalized learning experiences.

This will complement the Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills (ACT21S) research that Microsoft announced on Monday, which focuses primarily on identifying what it refers to as ’21st century skills’, and developing ways to measure them by providing new methods of assessing students. The ACT21S research was developed through a collaboration between Cisco, Intel and Microsoft.

Teams of national researchers from universities, think tanks and other institutions will work with SRI International to conduct the research in each country. Methodologies, data and reports are open to researchers around the world, and will be free and publicly available each year (the first results are expected this summer and annually from then).

In addition, the research project will develop a set of evaluation tools that schools and education systems can adopt to measure their own progress.