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Investing in Innovation (i3): New Tech

In August of 2013, ninth-graders in two rural South Carolina towns became the first to experience the innovative New Tech Network approach in South Carolina, thanks to a federal Investing in Innovation (i3) grant awarded in 2011 to KnowledgeWorks, the Riley Institute at Furman, and the two school districts.

The project, “Creating a Corridor of Innovation,” implements the New Tech model based on four design pillars:

  • Culture that Empowers: School-wide culture of empowerment for students and adults
  • Teaching that Engages: Project and problem-based approach to instruction
  • Technology that Enables: Use of technology for collaboration, access to information, and self-directed learning
  • Outcomes that Matter: Student outcomes for college, career, and civic life readiness

The i3 project implements STEM-focused New Tech Schools in two of the nation’s persistently lowest-achieving, lowest income, most economically underdeveloped rural communities, and supports the New Tech Network in the expansion of the design across South Carolina. The original two schools have also become training centers for the development of the expanded SC network.

As of the 2016-17 school year, New Tech Network, which demonstrates strong evidence of improved academic and 21st-century skills acquisition, supports nearly 200 elementary, middle, and high schools in 28 states and Australia. The model has been successful in a variety of settings -- urban, suburban and rural, including previously failing schools.

KnowledgeWorks and the Riley Institute believe that the New Tech Network approach is a key to transforming the so-called “Corridor of Shame” into a “Corridor of Innovation” and will be transformative for students and their communities. The Riley Institute will continue to partner with New Tech to expand the Network throughout the Palmetto State as part of an intentional economic development strategy focused on preparing students for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

See more on the grant, project goals, the original schools, the expanded network, project results, and more in links to the left!

Explore South Carolina's New Tech Network Schools. Click on the map below.