We’re sure you’ve been sitting on pins and/or needles, wondering who our expert panel of judges chose to receive the $100k we put up for anyone willing to try to innovate in education. Who are these visionaries and difference-makers? And what are their big ideas? Well, wonder no more because here they are: the education-innovating, difference-making, paradigm-shifting, grant-winning ideas for both Higher Ed and K-12.

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Higher Ed Winners


Helping students get what they
want out of their education.
Carnegie Mellon University

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Facilitating Competency-Based Learning

“Are we there yet?” is a phrase often heard in the car on family vacations, but it’s also a question students ask themselves throughout the semester. This project proposes the design and build of a personalized dashboard that tracks course progression against longer term career goals. It aims to define the ROI investment for students, considering the financial and time costs of a high quality education. Using data via the Canvas API, students will be able to see for themselves where they are on their journey to both academic and ultimately career success.

Questions I Hope to Help Answer:
  • How can students better gauge their progress during their education?
  • How do you measure the value of student experience and efforts you put into it?
  • How can we personalize students’ path from student to professional?

Stewart Huntly

Eportfolios for Interdisciplinary
Online Program
Alamo Colleges

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Engaging Students Throughout the Course of Their Education

Engaging students and faculty in managing outcomes for the core curriculum at one of the largest community college districts in Texas has been a challenge. This project proposes the use of an open source ePortfolio system integrated with Canvas to help students create digital archives of their work and allow faculty to link that work to the program learning objectives. Building on a pilot program, this project will expand the ePortfolio project to include additional students and faculty plus add in a program evaluation component.

This project is built upon three big ideas:
  • ePortfolios as demonstrations of student achievement
  • ePortfolios as showcases of student creativity
  • Canvas (and its robust rubric functionality) as supercharger of Big Ideas 1 and 2— for more engagement and better, more effective evaluation.


Merging hands-on with online via
the Maker Movement
Texas Woman's University and North Central Texas College
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Blending online and face-to-face courses

The TINKER, MAKE & LEARN project will promote the integration of technology, education, and problem solving as a model for experiential learning through an open online course centered around the philosophies of the hands-on Maker Movement. Simply put, that philosophy revolves around learning-by-doing/tinkering/making. The project director has recruited an army of makerspace experts and educators to collaborate on this one-of-a-kind yet fully replicable experience for teachers, librarians, higher education faculty, and other educators interested in finding out more about making and learning.

Project goals
  • Develop a replicable blended learning MOOC that adds material to the body of practice in teaching making.
  • Show the value of quality blended Open Courseware as effective professional development that supports discovery and exploration.
  • Advocate the Maker Movement as an effective learning phenomenon.


COLAB: A Tool to Enhance
Active Inquiry
University of Southern Indiana

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New models of content and curriculum development and sharing

Collaborative learning and active inquiry are the primary drivers in this project which proposes to develop a web-based student collaborative laboratory (COLAB) for use in almost any discipline. Students can input data into the shared database where they can compare and contrast experiments with others while working alone or in small groups. It’s an easy-to-use interactive application where students can collect, accumulate, and disseminate data then analyze and report their findings.

What is Colab?
  • A facilitator for data collection, accumulation, and dissemination.
  • A modern tool for collective, active inquiry across disciplines.
  • A cool idea that’s time has come.


UDOIT LTI: Making accessibility
more accessible
University of Central Florida

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Applying universal design to online learning

The UDOIT LTI tool is designed to empower faculty and course developers to self-check and improve their Canvas course content for general accessibility and universal design compliance. UDOIT will be a simple Canvas LMS integration that will aid instructors in identifying course content that doesn’t meet UDL recommendations. We believe it will have a positive impact on the experience for students who require accommodations in online learning materials.

What does UDOIT stand for?
  • Universal Design Online Content Inspection Tool
  • You might also have noticed it sounds like You Do It.
Canvas Grants Winner

K-12 Winners


Shifting students’ focus from
video technology to video content
Video Think Project

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1:1 Initiatives

What if students could spend more time focused on the what and why of video production and less time worrying about the how? This project will explore proof of concept for a tool that enables students to quickly test video content, shifting the emphasis from making technology work to making ideas work. By streamlining the pre-production process with a visualization and feedback loop, this tool will make it easier for teachers to use student-generated videos as a catalyst for learning.

The process:
  • Work with K-12 educators to better understand classroom video production needs.
  • Develop prototypes for a tool that will create a better user experience.
  • Conduct user tests and interviews to determine the highest priority features.


Giving Philadelphia’s inner-city students
a voice through video
Philadelphia School District

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Extending the classroom

This project aims to equip students who attend Philadelphia’s most cash-strapped middle and high schools with the resources they need to record, edit, and broadcast video stories about themselves, their schools, and their communities. In addition to being featured on the Web, student videos will be broadcast with the help of an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of a new television program that provides a forum for citizen and student digital journalists.

Why this project matters:
  • It will provide an enriching learning experience for students whose schools have limited resources to support special projects.
  • It will empower vulnerable students to expose problems, advocate for change, and tell their own stories on their own terms.


Tracking student work with the
“Assignment Machine”
Eastside Preparatory School

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Involving parents in meaningful ways

IT wizards at Washington state’s Eastside Preparatory School have developed an “Assignment Machine” that makes it easy for students, parents, and advisors to verify the status of students’ assignments and grades. So the questions, “Did you turn in your math homework?” and “What’s your current grade in history?” never result in ambiguous answers. This project proposes to develop an Assignment Machine app that can be used by other schools (in conjunction with the Canvas learning management system) with minimal end-user configuration.

The assignment machine in action:
  • At Eastside Prep, the Assignment Machine generates about 20,000 API calls to Canvas every day. As a result, far fewer dogs are falsely accused of eating student homework.


The Next Step For Curation of
Institutional Practice
Ingenuity Prep Public Charter School

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Meeting the demands of standards

This project aims to support and build upon the success of the existing Curation of Institutional Practice Project in developing a video playbook of visual examples demonstrating the best practices of a blended learning model. The model includes personalizing student learning paths, utilizing PreK-5 technology, and extending the classroom to meet and exceed standards.

Possible video uses:
  • Collaboration—Schoolwide, Master Teacher, Grade Level Collaboration
  • Coaching Sessions Reflection
  • Individual Teachers Education
  • On-boarding/ New Staff Dissemination


Engaging and motivating
21st-century students
Venture Academy High School

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Personalized learning path

Student engagement levels are at an all-time low. This project aims to address that problem by upgrading an existing, quest-based learning program for algebra, geometry, and algebra 2. The existing program is open and standards-based, but its Java-based applets must be replaced with new, HTML-based applets to ensure compatibility with any device. Once accomplished, this quest-based learning program will use innovative technology devices, software, and modern learning concepts to provide the critical elements that enable teachers to motivate and engage 21st-century students.

Quest-based learning helps overcome:
  • Lack of student engagement and effort
  • Avoidance based on fear of failure
  • Absence of the desire to learn

Nancy Jo

Creating a “makerspace” for changing,
modifying, or hacking the physical world
Ruth Borchardt Elementary Frisco ISD

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PK-5 technology

Teachers are often so focused on state learning standards and standardized tests that student learning becomes almost entirely worksheet-based. This project will take learning outside the test bubble by creating a “makerspace” where students can gather with educators and mentors to explore, design, and make things. Making is about bringing personally-meaningful ideas into the physical world through hands-on experiences with basic tools and new technologies. The makerspace is an environment rich with possibilities where participants are empowered to change, modify, or hack the physical world.

A few makerspace technologies:
  • LEGOS are construction toys for building complex structures with little or no engineering knowledge.
  • littleBits are small, simple, intuitive, blocks that make creating with sophisticated electronics a matter of snapping small magnets together.
  • Minecraft is a world-building game focused on placing and breaking blocks.


Developing research and multimedia
skills through cultural preservation
Minarets High School

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Project-based learning

The language and cultural heritage of California’s North Fork Mono Tribe is slowly disappearing. To help document and preserve the tribe’s cultural heritage for future generations, this project will engage students, including many from the Mono Tribe, in developing a multimedia database of Mono language and history. In the process of creating this invaluable, professional-level resource for cultural preservation, participating students will come away with college-readiness skills, as well as an increased understanding and respect for the heritage of the Mono people.

What students will gain
  • High-level research skills
  • Experience creating multimedia resources
  • Pride in the Mono culture and in their work to preserve it


Transitioning students with cognitive disabilities
into new communities cultural preservation
Huntington County Community School Corporation
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Special education

Students with mild cognitive disabilities need extra support to successfully integrate into new academic communities. Through a partnership between Indiana’s Huntington County Community School Corporation and Huntington University, this project will create such a transition program. In addition to engaging in reflective journaling and receiving special access to community transportation, students will communicate with their parents and school staff using the Canvas learning management system. These activities will provide the tools to bridge the gap for students with disabilities while further improving the transition process.

How we’ll help integration
  • Community prep resources
  • Improved access to community transportation
  • Reflective journaling
  • More seamless student/parent/faculty communication


Developing three-dimensional solutions to
real-world problems
North Penn School District

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STEM learning

3-D isn’t just for movies anymore. With advances in 3-D printing, all it takes to manufacture new technologies is an idea, a printer, and enough design and engineering know-how to bring the two together. This project will challenge students to apply both the engineering design process and the scientific method to solve real problems with “printable” solutions. Using skills like algebra, geometry, trigonometry, measuring, technological literacy, mechanical drawing, and many others, students will have the opportunity to design and print 3-D product prototypes.

Real-world learning:
  • Students will apply STEM learning principles to real-world research, design, and development projects.
  • They’ll gain hands-on experience using state-of-the-art, industry-grade technologies.
  • And they’ll see and evaluate the results of their work by simply clicking the print button.


From Spanish-only to English-speaking
in one app
Douglas MacArthur Junior High School

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Universal design for learning

How can we help assimilate and transition students from a Spanish-only environment into social and educational English-speaking environments? For this project, students of Environmental And Spatial Technology will collaborate and partner with members of the Jonesboro community such as the Hispanic Center and English Language Learner (ELL) Specialists. Together, they will design, develop, and implement the use of an ELL app for Spanish-speaking students throughout the Jonesboro Public School District for educational and social purposes.

The ELL app will provide:
  • an efficient and user-friendly experience
  • information and resources about English, school, the community
  • anonymity, comfort, confidence for ELL students