Apply for Remake Learning Badge-Enabled Playlists & Pathways

Badge-Enabled Playlists & Pathways at The Sprout Fund

The Sprout Fund provides catalytic funding to support innovative solutions and imaginative approaches to Remake Learning in the greater Pittsburgh region. Since 2009, Sprout has catalyzed more than 120 small-scale and first-time projects that have created more relevant and impactful learning experiences in-school, out-of-school, and online.

In 2016, Sprout will provide focused support that creates cross-disciplinary, badge-enabled learning pathways during the academic year 2016-2017. Supported pathways may include, for example: media making competencies needed for the local film industry, developing future energy-sector employees through STEM learning, hands-on maker programs that foster skills in computer programming, 3-D printing art and design workshops that connect to advanced manufacturing.

Deadline and How to Apply

The application deadline is Friday, April 8, 2016 @ 5:00pm EST. Decisions will be announced during Remake Learning Days (May 9-15, 2016).

To apply, download the required Application Format and Narrative Questions here in MS Word format>> and PDF format>>

Context & Background

Today’s youth have opportunities for learning and specialization like no previous era. From robotics clubs to poetry workshops to real world internships, Remake Learning is opening doors across our neighborhoods to ensure all youth have access to creative and academic opportunities in our schools, libraries, museums, parks, and other community institutions, as well as access to exciting learning experiences online. Through these Connected Learning experiences, youth create new pathways to their future college and career success.

In 2014 and 2015, The Sprout Fund led the Pittsburgh City of Learning campaign and related efforts to build the infrastructure for digital badges in the region. By connecting interest-driven learning, as well as new skills and literacies, to a broader ecosystem of accreditation and recognition, badges can help make learning pathways visible. They enable each learner to capitalize on the learning experiences that they are already having, or to inspire and help them to seek out new ones, as well as to communicate their achievements and skills to necessary stakeholders. In doing so, badges not only recognize that people learn across many contexts in many different ways, but also support ways to capture that learning, collect it across contexts, and communicate it.

In 2016, Sprout will continue these efforts as Pittsburgh joins the national momentum along with Chicago, Dallas, and Washington DC in Collective Shift’s launch of the LRNG digital platform for badges, playlists, mentorship, and more.

Project Criteria

Although Sprout will intentionally support a wide variety of learning experiences and playlists/pathways on many topics, all supported activities will embody the following attributes of successful Remake Learning projects:

  • Collaborative & Cooperative: supports the development of 21st century skills including critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.
  • Equitable, Accessible & Open: contributes to improved access to learning opportunities by underserved learners, and promotes innovative learning opportunities for all.
  • Engaging & Participatory: connects to the personal and shared interests of learners and provides opportunities for them to actively produce, create, experiment and design.
  • Relevant & Impactful: offers enriching experiences attuned to the needs and potential of today’s learners that help them prepare for college, the workforce, and civic participation.

Download a .pdf description of the RFP Overview and Application Format>>.

Eligibility & Target Audience

Proposals will be encouraged from 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, schools, and others with an established history of serving youth that operate ongoing learning programs in formal educational settings, in community-based informal learning environments, at cultural institutions, or through public-private partnerships.

Applicants will be invited to apply either as:

  • Multiple organizations with shared audiences that seek to connect learning experiences across institutions and settings through intentional hand-offs and cooperative program development, or
  • A single organization with large built-in audiences, such as a public school, that seeks to connect learning experiences across disciplines over a defined time period.

Sprout’s resources may either be used to augment existing programming that reach audiences in new ways or to create entirely new innovative learning experiences.

Due to the anticipated functionality of the LRNG platform, eligible playlists must primarily serve youth ages 13 and above from neighborhoods in the city of Pittsburgh and communities from the surrounding areas of our region.

Support for Prospective Applicants

Prospective applicants and collaborative teams are encouraged to participate in a series of informational and supportive events leading up to the submission deadline.

To get started, attend a Matchmaking Happy Hour on Tuesday, February 16th from 6:00pm – 8:00pm at the Cloak Room of Livermore (124 South Highland Ave. East Liberty 15206). At this event Sprout will provide a primer on the RFP content, and release details about the application process. This free event is designed for anyone interested in learning more about the RFP, and will help prospective partners decide whether to lead a team or join a team. RSVP via Eventbrite here >>

Follow up the Happy Hour by gathering your partners and attending the Mapping Playlists & Pathways ideation event on Friday, March 18th from 8:30am – 11:30am at the Elise H. Hillman Auditorium in the Kaufmann Center (Hill House Association, 1835 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh 15219). At this event Remake Learning Network partners who intend to apply will roll up their sleeves and work collaboratively with their team on a proposed approach to the RFP, with support from Sprout. This event is designed to inspire deeper thinking and planning to support cross-disciplinary approaches to badge-enabled learning playlists and pathways in preparation for a competitive application. The event is free and breakfast is complimentary. RSVP via Eventbrite here >>

And finally, you can get some last-minute help by joining Sprout staff for a working breakfast at The Porch at Schenley on Saturday, March 26th from 9:00am-11:00am. Discuss your ideas for the Badge-Enabled Playlists and Pathways funding opportunity and get answers to your questions about the application process over a casual cup of coffee. One-on-one discussions with Sprout staff will be scheduled at 15 minute intervals on a first-come, first-served basis. RSVP via Eventbrite here >>

Regular Information Sessions are hosted on the 2nd Friday of every month at noon at Sprout’s office at 5423 Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh. Draft applications can be reviewed upon request up to one week prior to the deadline.

Make general inquiries or ask other applications questions via email to apply@nullsproutfund.org or by calling (412) 325-0646.