Teachers Design for Education- We Want You!

After many years of admiring the work of the Business Innovation Factory, the Highlander Institute is excited to partner with the Providence-based organization on a new project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Business Innovation Factory, or BIF, is dedicated to social transformation and believes in supporting leaders to design and test new models that yield high social impact. Their work in education has gained national recognition, due in part to the importance they place on giving voice to all stakeholders  when creating systems for change.

Their newest project, and the one we are most excited about, is called the Teachers Design for Education, or TD4E. Through BIF’s Student Experience Lab, Highlander Institute is actively recruiting teams of teachers that will participate in a 6-week program (beginning in February) to learn a creative problem solving process by tackling an actual challenge at their school.  The goal: empower teachers with new tools and approaches while improving student outcomes by cultivating an aptitude for lifelong learning.

We are relieved that this project has been created to empower teachers throughout the state, outfitting teachers with skills and supports honed by BIF. This is a fantastic professional development opportunity for small teams of teachers. It’s completely free for teachers and schools, and in addition to helping educators to develop and hone their ideas it also connects RI educators to national educators during a final event gathering in RI this June.

The work is straightforward. Small teams of teachers meet up to 5 hours/wk either in person or online to follow a very precise curriculum that will help them to identify a burning problem in their school or classroom, support them through the idea generation process, and then supply them with tangible tools and steps for generating solutions to their problem. In the end, there is up $2,000 available per team to build or execute the solutions they create during the process. It’s an incredible opportunity that Gates is supporting right here in our Rhode Island schools.


-5 hours a week on the curriculum individually, in your team or with BIF/Highlander Institute

-All expenses covered (including transport to and from meetings), plus food and beverage at each meeting

-Cash award to each team available to carry out their idea (up to $2,000)

-Network with national TD4E teams at final party in June

Mandatory dates for participation:

-February 8th and 9th, 2014

-March 8th and 9th, 2014

-March 28th, 2014

-June 7th and 8th, 2014

If you are interested in participating or submitting a team from your school, please contact us for information on applying. Only three teams of four teachers will be selected, so please contact us today.  Application deadline is January 10, 2014.  

For more information, contact Shawn Rubin at srubin@highlanderinstitute.org,  and check out the TD4E page.  


Hour of Code a Huge Success!

Business Innovation Factory was packed with enthusiastic educators, parents, and students sharing Hour of Code!  Schools across Rhode Island joined hundreds across the country to participate in this  exciting event that kicked off Computer Science Education Week.  Designated by the U.S. House of Representatives as the week of Grace Murray Hopper’s birthday, a pioneer in programming.  CSEdWeek recognizes the transformative role of computing and the need to bolster computer science at all educational levels.

It’s not too late for your classroom to check out these tutorials!