Diama reminded me about a new innovation project out of Harvard called the Education Innovation Laboratory, or EdLab for short. We really should’ve copyrighted the term “innovation lab” I guess. If their project is as innovative and forward-thinking as the website, it’s going to be a great effort. From the vision statement:
We believe that applying an R&D model to education will give a way to unearth root causes of performance gaps, effectively evaluate options for reform, and achieve effective and transportable solutions.
Basically the lab will be a full-fledged R&D shop on education innovations with a very strong emphasis on the scientific method as an evaluation strategy. That means big, expensive randomized trials. I especially like the idea of a “Creative Roster” which is a sort of multi-disciplinary advisory committee. Who would be on our roster?
The CEO is a young economist named Roland G. Fryer, Jr., and the project has lots of other economists involved (including America’s favorite, Steven Levitt of Freakonomics fame). Which reminds me that it’s very interesting how involved economists have gotten in education: James Heckman, Roland Fryer, Cindy Decker, etc. (Cindy you’re welcome for putting you in such an esteemed group.)
Anyway keep an eye on this group to see what they come up with!