In 2012, the MacArthur Foundation and the National Science Foundation partnered with the University of Michigan School of Information to convene a group of education funders to gauge their interest in building a new network to support innovations in learning. The MacArthur Foundation is exploring how digital media are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize and participate in civic life and enlisted UMSI professor Dan Atkins and NSF researcher Dr. Gail McClure to facilitate a discussion on transformative programs for educational innovation. This discussion led to the identification of potential synergies among foundations and found strong interest in innovations in learning-related science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
As a prominent researcher in the fields of collaboration and learning, Dr. Stephanie D. Teasley was chosen as the principle investigator for this in-depth study designed to bring these ideas to fruition by creating a “learning ecosystem.” Teasley’s work will coordinate the execution of tasks identified in the summit through a three-phase approach. The phases include:
- The establishment of a framework for a funder's ecosystem
- The development of an anchor community of collaborative learning funders
- Facilitating community growth and increasing the value of participation
Teasley’s work will be instrumental in the formation of a coherent set of education policies to direct the national discussion on education reform and will reflect UMSI and the MacArthur Foundation’s dedication to working with industry, government, education, media, and other foundation partners to support learning—in the broader context of the network of institutions, organizations and online spaces that influence learning.