Announcing the SY 2016-17 Short-Cycle Evaluation Challenge!

We have an exciting announcement to make: applications for the 2016-2017 cohort of the Short-Cycle Evaluation Challenge (SCEC) are launching today, March 31st! If you are unfamiliar with the Short-Cycle Evaluation Challenge, it is a pilot program where teacher teams of 4-6 educators test-drive a technology product (an app, software or web-based program) that will help them meet a mutual need over the course of twelve weeks during the school year.

Why Participate?

There are a few reasons why educators might want to participate in the Short-Cycle Evaluation Challenge, including:

  • It’s an opportunity to evaluate a tool that has the potential to supplement and enhance your instruction.
  • It can bring teachers in your school together to work towards a common goal.
  • You meet and get to know your matched company and can influence the decisions that companies make about their products’ features.
  • You’ll learn from educators from schools across the city about how to effectively integrate technology into your instruction.

If you need further convincing of why SCEC might be a useful opportunity for you and your colleagues, check out this video to hear from educators who’ve participated in the SCEC pilot:

SCEC: evaluating edtech to meet classroom needs from iZone on Vimeo.

This year, we are focusing on piloting products that support language learners in their classrooms.

What does that mean exactly? Here are a few examples of what school teams might propose: a team of teachers could test a tool to supplement their ELA curriculum to help ELL students become stronger readers or writers. Another could come from a school that serves students with a multitude of home languages and wants to try out a product that could teach a specific content area, like history, in some of the students’ first languages. Yet another could be looking to pilot a product that teaches native English speakers another language. iZone will work to find products that meet the needs teams prioritize.

There are a few additional changes we’ve made to the program—including allowing products to service multiple schools–to make it bigger and better than ever. We believe that our updated pilot process, developed  with teacher feedback, will provide rich supports for you to test a product that is aligned to your needs and has the potential to positively affect your school.

Our process includes in-school interviews with your teacher team to get a firm understanding of your team’s needs and a rigorous matching process where you try products out and talk to the companies before committing to a full pilot. We plan to hold a kickoff at the end of this school year so that you can feel confident in using the tool prior to the start of school.  For more on the process and team member responsibilities, check out the teacher FAQs here.

If you and a team of your colleagues would like to participate, please fill out this inquiry form. Priority deadline is  April 8th at 11:59pm, and final deadline April 15th extended deadline April 22nd at 11:59pm . If you have any questions while filling out the application, feel free to reach out to us at

Looking forward to piloting with you!

The SCEC Team

P.S. Are you a company representative? Check out the company FAQs and application. The SCEC application for companies will be live until April 22 at 11:59 PM EST.