Digital Promise is excited to welcome the 54 educator mentors who will engage in the co-design process with the 54 semi-finalist teams of the VITAL Prize Challenge! The educator mentors were selected from a pool of nearly 200 applicants, and the caliber of competition among the applicants was incredibly high. All of the selected mentors are current or former classroom teachers, and they currently serve in a variety of additional education practitioner roles including professional development coach, curriculum specialist, principal and district administrator. Forty-five of the selected educators have over 10 years of experience in education, and two educators have over 30 years of experience. The educators have collectively taught all grade levels spanning from pre-kindergarten to college, and many have extensive experience in the key focus areas of the semi-finalist teams, including artificial intelligence, deeper learning, augmented reality, social emotional learning, and gamification for learning to name a few. Chaula Gupta, vice president and chief program officer at Digital Promise said, “We are honored to have such an exceptional group of educators join the challenge and extend our sincerest congratulations.”
Each educator mentor has been paired with a dedicated semi-finalist team and will receive $15,000 for their participation. Prior to joining their team, educator mentors participated in training to ensure that the co-design process leads to concepts that address the most important challenges for the communities they intend to serve, honor the context and lived experiences relevant to the challenges, and address systemic inequities that impact learners.
Digital Promise also designed learning modules to further support educators and teams with the co-design process throughout the Semi-final Round. The key learning modules—each with synchronous and asynchronous content—focus on topics in which Digital Promise has proven expertise and leadership, such as Equity-centered Research and Design, Designing for Learner Variability, and Designing for Excluded Needs.
At the conclusion of the Semi-final Round, teams, including the educator mentors, will present their revised concepts based on learnings from the process, and the judging panel will select 18 teams to advance to the Final Round of the challenge. Educators partnered with finalists of the challenge will continue to support their teams throughout the Final Round of the challenge, and receive an additional $10,000 for their efforts.