Today’s a big day for one of our favorite clients, the Consortium for School Research at the University of Chicago. It marks the launch of a new and improved website for reporting the results of their bi-annual survey of 5 Essentials for School Improvement in Chicago Public Schools. Inquirium designed and built CCSR’s original survey reporting website in 2009, and today we are pleased to roll out the new and improved version.
The new site provides an interface to text and data visualizations that help principals, teachers, parents, and community members explore survey results on what makes their schools tick — areas such as learning climate, instructional leadership, ambitious instruction, professional capacity, and family and community involvement. The primary goal is to give school stakeholders insights into the factors that most impact student learning, in order to help foster improvement.
While today’s launch is a huge milestone, there is more to come. We will be rolling out additional improvements and enhancements later this month.
Last Thursday, The MacArthur Foundation put on a showcase of its recent efforts to re-imagine learning. The event highlighted Katie Salen’s Quest to Learn, a school built on the principles of game design, as well as three initiatives by former Inquirium founder Nichole Pinkard: the Digital Youth Network, a program through which mentors engage young adults in interest-based digital media projects, the Remix World social media platform to support those projects, and the highly successful YOUmedia learning lab, a space at Chicago’s Harold Washington Library where teens can explore their interests using state of the art digital media facilities.
It’s exciting stuff, and we at Inquirium couldn’t resist getting involved. Last year, we helped redesign the teacher planning and design component of Remix World, and recently we began helping MacArthur expand it’s YOUmedia initiative by designing an online toolkit to support the creation of new sites.
The MacArthur event also featured a special appearance from Chicago’s Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel, who seems to have his pulse on this movement — which is reassuring for those of us in Chicago.
The centerpiece of the event was a new PBS documentary, Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century which highlights these projects along with interviews from a number of educational experts.
We at Inquirium are thrilled to be involved in a just-awarded $19 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES). The core of this 5-year project is to find ways to help students ages 11-18 develop better literacy skills by supporting claims with evidence — also known as evidence-based reasoning.
The grant is motivated by the ever-increasing need for young readers to be able to integrate, analyze, and interpret information from multiple sources and disciplines (think: research via the web).
The official grant title is Reading for Understanding Across Grades 6-12: Evidence-Based Argumentation for Disciplinary Learning. It involves basic research, the design of new educational resources, and evaluation. Inquirium’s role is to create software tools that support and motivate students during evidence-based argumentation tasks.
We join a talented multi-disciplinary team of researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Northwestern University, Northern Illinois University and WestEd, as well as practitioners from Chicago Public Schools and the San Francisco Unified and Oakland Unified School Districts, among others. Can’t wait to get started!
UPDATE 1: The Department of Ed officially announced the awards here.
UPDATE 2: Northwestern University’s School of Ed posted this nice press release mentioning our role.