Introduction


The Eiffel Project —a US Department of Education Technology Innovation Challenge Grant—is a joint effort of the NYC Board of Education (The Board), The Institute for Learning Technologies of Teachers College and Columbia University (ILT), and the Center for Collaborative Education (CCE). The Board is the legal grantee, but most project activities are executed by the other two lead organizations (i.e., ILT and CCE) through two subcontracts. The project is currently in its third year of funding and implementation.

The Eiffel Project aims to demonstrate that children contending with poverty, discrimination, and urban crowding can achieve world-class education standards when liberated by fundamental efforts at school reform, empowered by the full use of advanced digital information. The goal is to develop and implement a high profile, large scale technology learning challenge that will demonstrate that the small schools reform movement, fortified with advanced media, can break the constraints of the traditional school, thereby enabling all children to achieve unprecedented levels of excellence.

The consortium—including over 67 schools; ILT; CCE; numerous community-based organizations; several NYC school districts; and numerous research institutions, museums, small businesses and corporate concerns—intends to improve the educational experience of disadvantaged children dramatically through three main areas of activity all in support of the small schools reform movement:

  1. connecting an increasing number of New York's urban K-12 schools to the information superhighway;

  2. developing and implementing innovative curricular strategies; and

  3. providing effective teacher professional development.

As currently envisioned, by the end of its fifth year the project will directly benefit over 30,000 students, most from African-American, Latino, immigrant, and economically disadvantaged families in Harlem and Upper and Lower Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, downtown Brooklyn, as well as Newburgh, NY, and will serve as a national model for new educational processes suited for use in all educational settings. The Eiffel Project emphasizes educational strategies with technology that integrate pre-college and higher education, that promote inquiry-based learning, that result in interdisciplinary activities, and that create opportunities for collaborative learning and for inter-institutional collaborations.

The Eiffel Project is one project with two sub-consortia. Approximately half the schools in the consortium are considered ILT-affiliated schools, and half are CCE-affiliated schools. Most of each school’s participation in the project is facilitated by the lead organization to which it is affiliated. Nevertheless, ILT and CCE staff members meet regularly to plan, to promote cohesion, and to ensure that opportunities for cross-pollination of ideas and activities are seized.