Giving Compass' Take:

• The Canopy Project, a collaborative initiative led by the Christensen Institute, is building collective knowledge by sharing education trends in innovation from several schools. 

• How is data-sharing beneficial for all education stakeholders involved? How does it help inform donors on education systems that are working?

•  Read about a teacher's perspective on the importance of sharing students' learning. 

There’s no shortage of ideas about how nontraditional practices are taking off in K-12 schools, but often scant data to back them up — let alone data that can surface patterns and blind spots where we may not be paying attention.

The Canopy project, a collaborative initiative led by the Christensen Institute that reimagines where school innovation data come from and how they are analyzed, shows how building better collective knowledge enables a view into student-centered learning trends that may be difficult to detect.

The primary reason for this work is that while many schools around the country are innovating, even when data are shared, there’s no way for individual data sets to complement and build on one another to create a more comprehensive picture. As a result, knowledge about school innovation is fragmented and siloed, blocking the ability to surface trends and identify promising new practices taking off.

The resulting data include information from a diverse set of 173 schools across the country not commonly referenced on typical lists of innovative schools, which we’ve analyzed and shared in a new public report.

Here are a few insights from that research:

  • Learner agency, social-emotional learning and project-based learning may be some of the most common innovative approaches in schools today.
  • District schools — not just charter schools — are reimagining teaching and learning models.
  • Many innovative schools are operating under the radar.

Key geographic and demographic trends

  • Rural schools may face barriers to innovation, or they are focusing their efforts more narrowly.
  • Experiential learning and competency-based models appear to be less common in schools serving low-income students and students of color.
  • Efforts to design for equity appear to be breaking down along racial and socioeconomic lines.

Read the full article about education innovation trends by Chelsea Waite at The 74.