The 2023-2024 Tools Competition is accepting submissions for edtech tools that use digital
technology, data, and learning science to innovate new ways of meeting the urgent needs of
learners worldwide. This year’s competition will award more than $5.5 million, making it one of
the largest edtech competitions ever. The deadline for entries is Nov. 10.
The goal of the competition is to accelerate learning outcomes for all Pre-K-12 students and
adult learners and boost collaboration between technologists, educators, and researchers.
Barriers to educational attainment can have lifelong repercussions for learners’ prosperity.
Winning teams from the past three cycles of the Tool Competition estimate that by 2026, they
will impact more than 107 million learners from early childhood to adulthood.
Now more than ever, education technology is poised to reshape the learning landscape for
students around the globe. New opportunities to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) are emerging
and are reflected in this year’s competition. Also reflected is a pressing need to address equity,
access, COVID learning loss, teacher shortages, and other challenges that affect how students
of all ages, abilities, backgrounds, and regions learn.
This year’s Tools Competition emphasizes high-impact ideas for Pre-K through adult learning via
tracks aimed at:
● Accelerating and assessing learning outcomes
● Preparing for a 21st century world
● Instructional coaching for early childhood education
● Facilitating the learning science research process
● Engaging adult learners in higher education
About half of previous winners submitted early-stage ideas, reflecting the competition’s goal of
surfacing new players while helping existing innovators advance their tools and platforms. The
competition also aims to bring in diverse global perspectives and solutions – in the 2022-23
cycle, 47% of competitors were based outside the United States.
Whether or not they win, competitors gain access to the Tools community, a network of leaders
and participants who encourage them to re-envision how education can work and help them
apply learning engineering innovations in practical ways.
Given that generative AI poses large-scale opportunities for learning worldwide, this year’s cycle
is debuting a new “Impact Prize” in partnership with OpenAI for those exploring, testing, or
utilizing AI-enabled tools to accelerate the educational progress of learners. AI has the potential
to support learning outcomes among PreK-12 learners, and according to a report by the
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), it boosts employment rates,
making it an important piece of many adult learning initiatives. AI enables workers to better
adapt to the changes brought about by emerging technologies.
Tools that explore the implications of this technology are encouraged.
How to compete
Competitors can complete an eligibility quiz to determine the award level best suited for their
submission. The selection process consists of three phases: an abstract, a detailed proposal
with a budget, and a pitch to a panel of judges. Proposals will be reviewed at each phase and
selected submissions will be invited to compete in the subsequent round to give competitors
time and feedback to strengthen their proposal and build a team.
Competitors from all backgrounds and phases of development are eligible for awards ranging
from $50,000 to $300,000. Competition organizers post resources and host competitor support
events, including drop-in office hours, Ask Me Anything sessions, and more for those interested
in learning about Tools. Questions on how to submit an abstract are also addressed.
Competitors may compete for one of three award levels:
● Catalyst ($50,000): for early stage ideas or products
● Growth ($150,000): for products with some users and scale
● Transform ($300,000): for established platforms with 10,000 or more users
Anyone with questions is encouraged to reach out to Toolscompetition@the-learning-agency.com.
For more information, those interested can also read the Tools Competition FAQs. The
competition website also offers a look at past winners and their tools.
The 2023-24 Tools Competition is made possible thanks to the generous support of: Schmidt
Futures, Griffin Catalyst, Walton Family Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Calbright
College, Siegel Family Endowment, Axim Collaborative, Endless Network, and OpenAI.