A Call for Innovative Ideas: Canvas Grants are Open

When I took physics in high school, we started with Newton's laws of motion, and I was immediately intrigued. Phrases like "get the ball rolling" and "fighting an uphill battle" suddenly took on a mathematical application that I found fascinating. I like to think of action as directed motion. Action, just like motion, doesn't happen without some upfront "oomph."

Kinetic ArtSometimes things are just cooler when
they move. Kinetic art from local artist
Andrew Smith.

When we built Canvas, we put our oomph behind three guiding principles: education, innovation, and openness. Over the last few years we've worked hard to turn these ideas into actions that would make a lasting and tangible difference for students and educators.

Now we're ready to apply the forces of action and change in yet another way. Today we’re announcing the launch of Canvas Grants. We’re offering 15 grants for a total of $100k to help fuel creativity and spur innovation in education. That’s five grants of $10,000 for Higher Education and ten grants of $5,000 for K-12.

The most innovative ideas in specific categories for both HE and K-12, as judged by a panel of experts, will receive grant money, as well as other assistance from Instructure, to help get their difference-making ideas off the ground. Submissions may include (but are not limited to) content, applications, classroom techniques, tools, or some amazing thing we don’t even have a word for yet. We’ll announce the winners at SXSWedu in spring 2014.

Wondering what a panel of experts look like? Here you go:

Higher Education judges

  • Mike Caulfield, Washington State University
  • Larry Cooperman, OpenCourseware and UC Irvine
  • Jim Groom, University of Mary Washington
  • Josh Kim, Inside Higher Ed and Dartmouth
  • George Siemens, Athabasca University
  • Jesse Stommel, Hybrid Pedagogy and University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Audrey Watters, Hack Education
  • Nancy White, Full Circle Associates

K-12 judges

  • Steven Anderson, Web 2.0 Classroom 
  • Jaime Casap, Google 
  • Sean Junkins, Horry County Schools
  • Chris Lehmann, Science Leadership Academy
  • Scott McLeod, Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency 
  • Linda Nathan, Boston Arts Academy
  • Tom Vander Ark, Getting Smart and Learn Capital

Submissions should fall into one of the following categories:

Higher Education categories

  • Facilitating competency-based learning 
  • Engaging students through academic career
  • Blending online and face-to-face courses
  • New models of content and curriculum development and sharing
  • Applying universal design to online learning

K-12 categories

  • Meeting demands of standards
  • Involving parents in meaningful ways
  • Special education
  • 1:1 initiatives
  • Project-based learning
  • Extending the classroom
  • PK-5 technology
  • Personalized learning paths
  • Universal design for learning
  • STEM

Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese’s, thinks that “everyone who has ever taken a shower has had an idea. It's the person who gets out of the shower, dries off, and does something about it that makes a difference.” And we think he’s onto something.

So, what are you waiting for? The education world is waiting for you to set your “oomph” in motion. Submit your brilliant idea today at www.instructure.com/canvasgrants.

Keep learning,
Chief Learning Officer