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2023-24 Tools Competition

Tools Competition Overview

In recent years, advanced technologies such as generative artificial intelligence, machine learning, and large language models have brought transformative change to various fields and industries. Whether expanding access to healthcare services or changing the ways we all find information online, these technologies are undoubtedly changing how we live and work, which is only evidence that we need to rethink how we teach and learn.
The 2023-24 Tools Competition is thrilled to introduce a focus on artificial intelligence, including through a new partnership with OpenAI to launch the OpenAI Learning Impact Prize. We aim to increase interest in and understanding of the possibilities of advanced computational methods in learning platforms.
With global attention on ChatGPT and the other latest technologies, now is the time to lead concentrated and coordinated efforts in bringing innovative solutions to all learners.
In the U.S. and beyond, the need for technological innovation in education has never been greater. In 2023, teacher turnover rates hit new highs – for some states, the highest in the last five years or a few decades. The systems that fail students impact not only students’ academic outcomes but their mental health and well-being. The field is eager for change, and the rise of generative AI tools in schools is strong evidence.
In addition to rethinking teaching and learning for students in early childhood through higher ed, we must also think about the needs of adult learners. The OECD reports higher employment rates of workers with greater exposure to AI. These workers are also better able to adapt to the changes brought about by emerging technologies.
The Tools Competition has seen the success of tools powered by advanced technologies. Teams like Smart Paper, a 2021-22 winner, whose tool analyzes learning data on paper to automate the grading process, and Rising On Air Interactive, a 2020-21 winner, whose tool utilizes an AI-powered chatbot tutor to deliver instruction via popular messaging tools, are examples of how to leverage cutting edge technologies to maximize impact for all learners.
We are thrilled to launch another cycle of the Tools Competition and challenge participants to innovate and scale solutions that dramatically transform learning. These new tools will need to encourage continuous improvement and other approaches to maximize our understanding of what works for student learning.
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Why Participate?

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How are submissions evaluated?

The Tools Competition has a three-phase selection process that spans approximately eight months. This process is intentionally designed in order to give participants time and feedback to strengthen their proposal.

Phase I: Abstract Screening for Fit

Reviewers evaluate for:

Phase II: Proposal Review

Each detailed proposal is scored by multiple reviewers against a rubric. Rubrics will be published prior to Phase II. High-scoring proposals in each track advance to an expert review phase where reviewers with unique knowledge related to the technical methods or content focus of the proposal evaluate the proposals based on factors such as novelty of the technology in the space, potential for impact, and ability of the tool or dataset to contribute to research.

Phase III: Virtual Pitch

Finalists deliver a live pitch and Q&A before a panel of judges.
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Tools Competition Tracks

This year’s opportunity is organized into five tracks that span Pre-K through adult learning. The tracks are designed to encourage participants to propose new and innovative solutions that target pressing issues in learning.

Explore the tracks below to decide which is the best fit for your tool or idea.

Building an Adaptive & Competitive Workforce

Tools that support adult learners in developing critical skills necessary for the current and future national security workforce.

Submissions closed February 26th.

Accelerating & Assessing Learning

Tools to accelerate and assess PreK-12 learning outcomes and improve the learning experience.

Submissions closed November 10th.

Happy african american school girl making a solar system for a s

Preparing for the 21st Century World

Tools that increase the relevance of instruction to build 21st century skills and prepare students to navigate the changing world.

Submissions closed November 10th.


Instructional Coaching for Early Childhood Education

Tools that support instructional coaching for PreK to 2nd grade classrooms and expand teacher-centered principles in coaching practice.

Submissions closed November 10th.

Pleasant senior engineer telling measurements to his intern

Facilitating Learning Science Research

Tools and technologies that facilitate the learning science research process in order to expand the field's knowledge and improve learning interventions.

Submissions closed November 10th.

Smart black woman attending online class from home, using laptop

Engaging Adult Learners in Higher Education

Tools that increase the effectiveness and reach of higher education, particularly of non-traditional adult learners.

Submissions closed November 10th.

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Impact Prizes

Impact prizes are opportunities for supplemental funding and resources. A subset of winners will be selected to receive Impact Prizes on top of their awards. Those invited to advance to Phase II will complete additional submission materials for consideration for an Impact Prize.

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OpenAI Learning Impact Prize

In partnership with OpenAI the Tools Competition is thrilled to offer the OpenAI Learning Impact Prize to catalyze the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on learning outcomes and drive edtech innovation leveraging advanced computational methods.

Given the rise of ChatGPT and growing interest in the possibilities of AI in educational settings, the 2023-24 Tools Competition is especially interested in supporting teams that are exploring, testing, or using AI-enabled tools and services to impact learning.

OpenAI will select up to three recipients of the OpenAI Learning Impact Prize among winners who will receive $100,000 in additional funds, $10,000 in OpenAI API credits, and technical guidance from OpenAI engineers. Select participants will also receive $2,500 in OpenAI API credits.


Implementation Impact Prize

This year’s Tools Competition will also feature an Implementation Impact Prize of $100,000 in the Instructional Coaching for Early Childhood Education, Facilitating Learning Science Research, and Engaging Adult Learners in Higher Education tracks.

This prize will be available to participants at the Growth or Transform levels in these tracks. While there are specific requirements for the prize that differ by track, broadly, the Implementation Impact Prize is designed to encourage participants to form partnerships to co-design, user-test, pilot, validate, or conduct research using their product in an educational setting.

Please see the track pages for more details.
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.