Editor's Note: This article refers to Graphite, the former name of this website.
We are pleased to announce today that The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation has awarded $3 million to Common Sense Media to support the expansion of Graphite. With the help of the Broad Foundation grant, we will add new features to Graphite to improve user experience, develop a mobile version, grow the library of reviews, and vastly expand our reach among K-12 teachers nationwide.
“Teachers know what’s best for their students. Graphite enables teachers to learn from their peers, rather than from advertising, what tools are most effective for student learning,” said Luis de la Fuente, the Broad Foundation’s senior director who oversees investments in personalized learning.
Graphite's rapid development and the Broad Foundation's investment comes at a time when teachers across the country are actively exploring how to best integrate technology into teaching and learning. According to a survey conducted last year by PBS LearningMedia, while nearly half of all pre-K-12 teachers are already using interactive technologies in the classroom, more than two-thirds of teachers want more technology in their classrooms. That figure is even higher in lower-income communities, where three-quarters of teachers are eager to use more technology.
“With the generous support of the Broad Foundation, Common Sense Media is furthering its mission to help educators and students harness the power of technology for learning,” said Jim Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense Media. “This next evolution of Graphite will make it an even more powerful resource for teachers to discover, share, and use the best digital tools for teaching, elevate their practice, and transform learning for millions of kids.”
In addition to helping Graphite expand its teacher community and its trove of reviews, the foundation’s investment will help Common Sense Media create a library of free online lesson plans for teachers who are implementing digital tools in the classroom -- some authored by Common Sense Media’s expert reviewer team, others by the site’s teacher members. Graphite will also expand to include an online forum for teachers to connect with one another and with students' parents.
The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation is a philanthropy that seeks to ensure that every student in an urban public school has the opportunity to succeed. Bringing together top education experts and practitioners, the foundation funds systemwide programs and policies that strengthen public schools by creating environments that allow good teachers to do great work and enable students of all backgrounds to learn and thrive. For more information, please visit www.broadeducation.org.