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Take a moment to remember someone who impacted your life in a positive way — someone you trusted, asked for advice, or who inspired you to think differently. Are you thinking of a teacher? A parent? A mentor? A coach?
Many of us are lucky enough to have dedicated and passionate teachers in our lives — whether they’re at home, in the classroom, guiding us through online courses, or assisting us at work.
Furthermore, UNESCO estimates that the demand for teachers will double in developing countries by 2030, requiring an additional 69 million new educators globally. Simply put, the world needs more teachers. And whether a teacher, professor, or instructor is a veteran or newly minted, they’ll need the right tools and support system to best serve their learners.
Some teachers are fortunate to receive this support. At the K-12 level, many teachers in the United States and Europe have likely been engaged in professional development and digital classroom initiatives for many years. Even at the post-secondary level — where teacher training is arguably nonexistent — professors and instructors receive at least a baseline level of training, whether it be for a new technology to use in the classroom, best practices for distance learning, or an overview of new assessment protocol.
We know these systems and training programs work. The problem is that they don’t currently exist in many places. In Ghana, for example, nearly 45 percent of primary school teachers receive no training whatsoever. Around the world, there are large differences in the scale of teacher training and in the availability of up-skilling initiatives as they incorporate new methods and technologies into their teaching. To address these gaps, we can use scalable technological solutions to rethink and complement existing programs to level the playing field for teachers and educators around the globe.
Instead of thinking that technology and digital tools will usurp and replace educators, Solve believes that technology can amplify the work of teachers, support new educators, and improve education quality. To tackle this challenge, we need creative new ideas and the resources to turn those ideas into reality.
That’s why Solve’s 2018 learning Challenge asks: How can teachers and educators provide accessible, personalized, and creative learning experiences for all?
We’re asking innovators the world over to submit novel solutions that address this question. Already, we’ve seen potential applicants rise to the occasion. Just last week at TechTown Detroit, Solve held a dynamic Solveathon workshop in partnership with General Motors, who recently announced its $100,000 Prize for Advanced Technologies in STEM Education.
The event brought together 40 members of the Detroit, Michigan community -- a diverse group of innovators with compelling ideas. During the Solveathon, participants worked in small groups to generate viable solutions to two Solve Challenges: Teachers & Educators and Work of the Future. Participants workshopped and refined six Teachers & Educators solutions. Five of these solutions will be formally submitted to the Challenge.
Now it’s your turn. We need your ideas of how to ensure that every teacher is adequately prepared to foster innovation, creativity, critical thinking, social and emotional learning, and skills-building in diverse learners. Submit your solution to the Teachers & Educators Challenge today -- the deadline to apply is July 1.
Students discuss an exercise in the classroom. (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)