Moonshots begin with schools that tinker...
 

Bringing up powerful, creative, future-ready people demands educators who cultivate a passion for problem-solving around the what and the how of schooling -- who redesign and retool the systems that support and constrain the daily work of teaching and learning.  

In other words... our best schools are in perpetual betacontinually refining and remaking themselves in light of the best evidence, and pushing the boundaries of their tools in service of design.

The CloudLab -- a project of New Visions for Public Schools -- is dedicated to tooling-up school-makers with free, flexible building blocks for the redesign of teaching and learning,  and to incubating and spreading breakthrough tools and practices for the highest needs schools.  Our team of developers -- several of them career educators -- work in close design and capacity-building relationships with the leadership and staff in 80 NYC public high-schools,  allowing us to bring valuable insights, direct access to schools, and technical skills to bear in the development of solutions that land.  

Our current work focuses on building, iterating, and supporting systems and “Add-ons” that extend the free and cloud-based Google Apps for EDU (GAFE) platform.  

We choose the GAFE platform because Google’s approach radically-lowers computing costs for the world’s neediest schools, because of its well-documented public APIs, because of the ecosystem’s low-barriers to entry for novice software developers and educator-coders, and because of the opportunity this widely-adopted platform presents for us to scale solutions to millions at nearly zero cost.

Since September 2013:
  • We have authored a growing cadre of the GAFE ecosystem’s most popular scripts and Add-ons (Doctopus, autoCrat, formMule, and many more) for improving teacher workflow in high-quality writing instruction and for personalizing and increasing the timeliness of teacher feedback and the efficient administration of responsive student services. These tools impact tens of thousands of classrooms and close to half a million students per month, and are regularly presented at teacher learning events around the world by an army of educator-evangelists.
  • Our work has been catalytic to the viral growth of scripts and Add-ons in the GAFE ecosystem, and we have played a leadership role in fostering a community of "educator-coders" who produce tools by and for teachers.
  • We have played an influencing role in the evolution of the Apps Script product at Google, and been a featured participant in the Google Apps Script trusted tester / early access program.
  • We developed proof-of-concept and created user demand for core features of Classroom, Google’s learning and document management solution.
  • Our team developed domain management tools, change-management strategies, and protocols that have served as a guiding foundation for the decentralized adoption of Google Apps for EDU by the NYC Department of Education -- the largest public school system in the US.
  • For New Visions' partner schools, we have developed an unprecedented suite of district and school-leader dashboards for student-level needs and intervention management in Google Sheets.

As a very lean non-profit, we make no promise of direct support for our tools to schools not in the New Visions partner support network.  If you have any questions about one of our tools, please join the Apps Script for EDU - Builders and Users Community or any number of other tool-specific groups and seek support from our growing number of expert users.  If you cannot find a support community for the tool in question, please contact cloudlab@newvisions.org.   If you would like to donate funding, please visit New Visions' donation page and indicate "CloudLab" as the program or fund.   If you would like to contribute your talents to our efforts, please reach out to Andrew Stillman on Twitter at @astillman or on Google Plus.