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Fall 2014

Making Knowledge Usable

Usable Knowledge light bulbYou're a teacher who wants to find better ways to communicate with parents. Or you're a superintendent researching things to consider when hiring school leaders. Maybe you're a journalist looking for research on learning and the brain or on closing the achievement gap.

But you're busy. You don't have time to wade through academic journals or dense dissertations to find tangible, easy-to-digest information and strategies. That's where the Ed School's new Usable Knowledge project comes in. The project will include practice guides, how-to-manuals, and regular email news blasts. There will also be a website, updated regularly, with pieces that break down the research being done here at the Ed School. The pieces will include short articles, video discussions, checklists, and Q&As. The hope, says Dean Jim Ryan, is that this project will become a go-to resource for practitioners, policymakers, and journalists.

"Too often, important research findings are left to linger in academic journals. These discoveries may inspire other academics and may ultimately lead to additional discoveries that advance our knowledge and impact the field," Ryan says, "but history has shown us that this progress has been far too slow, and that we need to explicitly extend our reach to those working in practice or policy. With the Usable Knowledge project, our goal is to make research findings accessible to the field by translating that knowledge into usable tools, and by making every effort to get these resources into the hands of those who are poised to act, whether they are teachers, principals, superintendents, advocates, or policy leaders."

Over the next few months, various pieces of the Usable Knowledge project will roll out, with the first phase — the website — officially launching in early September. Here's a sneak peak at some of the web pieces:

Learn more about the project, how to sign up, and how to access these web pieces.