When researchers nationwide think of implementing data-driven educational programs, they will think of Temple University, thanks to a grant from the United States Department of Education.
The grant, worth $1.422 million per year for five years, will allow Temple University’s Center on Innovations in Learning to become one of only seven content centers in the country.
The content centers will distill and disseminate heavy data on a myriad of educational programs. The content center will provide data through the regional center, which will be easily accessible to educators of all grades and levels who are looking to implement new educational models.
According to the Department of Education, the regional centers will provide research-based information and tools, and each center will work in one of the following capacities: standards and assessment implementation, great teachers and leaders, school turnaround, early learning, college and career readiness, innovations in learning, and building state capacity and productivity.
“These centers will help low-performing schools and districts close the achievement gap,” said United States department Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “They provide valuable support of the Administration’s P–12 initiatives to ensure that every child is able to receive a high-quality education.”
For Temple — and its partner, the Illinois Academic Institute — it means the North Philadelphia-based school will be a nationwide provider of some of the most intense educational data mining results in the field of academics.
“Our area is innovations and learning, and we are charged to increase the state of educational capacities, to get [interested parties] more interested in learning innovations that they may want to learn about for their respective schools,” said Center on Innovations in Learning Principal Investigator and Center Director Dr. Marilyn Murphy. “We do the footwork, and based on our research, we can tell the likelihood of the [proposed program] being effective.
“And there’s lots of data out there.”
According to Murphy, this is one of the largest grants the center has ever received in more than 25-year history.
“The Institute of Schools and Society, which is the research wing of the College of Education has been here since 1985, and we have about 30 different proposals in different stages of implementations,” Murphy said. “This particular grant is a substantial figure, and comes with good potential. This is a significant award.”
Murphy said the common misperception is that most individuals and organizations view innovation as being heavily technical, and would subsequently shy away from the entire process. But innovation comes in many forms, Murphy said, including simply changing the way a prospective organization goes about its business.
“It can also be different ways of doing business and their approaches to educational issues. That’s how we help them move forward, by providing updates on the latest educational innovations out there, so they can share the information,” Murphy said. “We’ll also work on-site with some of these organizations that might need assistance in sorting through the data and get good advice before implementing something that the data shows would or wouldn’t work.”
Aside from assisting in national education reform, this grant will serve as a win-win for Temple University, as it will simultaneously establish Temple as a research institution while raising its visibility with students interested in attending a program renowned for its research.
“What is different about this grant is that it will bring a national spotlight to Temple because we will work with all 50 states and regional centers,” Murphy said, noting that the grant is one of the more significant ones the center has received. “Therefore, the name ‘Temple University’ will be exposed to educational institutions across the country, and it is also good in that it is good for the institution to show its work.
“This provides a very high profile for Temple University.”