Tips for Developing a Successful Phase I Abstract


Welcome to the 2023-24 Tools Competition, a global edtech competition that encourages innovators at all stages of development to use digital technology, big data, and learning science to conceive of new ways to meet the urgent needs of learners worldwide. This year’s competition will award more than $5.5 million to winning tools that present high-impact ideas for Pre-K through adult learning. This year’s competition tracks include:

Innovation starts simply – with an idea. Phase I of the Tools Competition allows individuals and teams to submit a brief abstract on the idea for their tool. It’s not necessary to have everything figured out as you submit your abstract in Phase I – the competition is designed to give you time and space to build and refine your ideas over the course of the competition. For the abstract submission on Nov. 10, you should focus on finding the best fit track for your tool and sharing your vision so that we can ensure it is a strong fit for the Tools Competition.

With this in mind, here are some tips to help you develop a strong abstract:

Find the right track fit. Select the track you feel will be the best fit and describe how your vision and the goals of the track are aligned. Remember to review the track pages to learn more about the target audience, eligibility requirements, and overall objectives of each track.

Clearly describe your tool. Remember to keep it simple. After reading your proposal someone without additional background information should be able to understand and describe your tool and why it matters. Responding to the specific prompts in the submission form will help with this.

It’s about quality, not quantity. At this phase, we’re interested in the quality of your idea over the length of your abstract, so really take the time to communicate the key aspects of your tool. Provide a clear understanding of how your tool works and share how it can address an urgent need in education.

Be early. If possible, submit your proposal in advance of the Nov. 10 deadline to avoid any potential difficulties with the submission platform. If the platform is not working for you at the last minute, you can submit a complete version of your proposal via email using this template as long as it is BEFORE the submission deadline.

Help is out there – use it. 

  • Need inspiration? Learn from previous winners. Review winning tools from the 2020-21, 2021-22, and 2022-23 competitions for examples of competitive ideas. Exploring these tools will give you a sense of what compelling tools look like and may help spark your ideas! 
  • Utilize available resources. Take advantage of the resources and events designed to support you as you develop your abstract. This blog post includes a full list of supports available for Phase I of the competition.


Phase III results for the Building an Adaptive & Competitive Workforce track will be released in late May. Meet the finalists for all other tracks here.