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Welcome to Usable Knowledge

Dean Jim Ryan describes the goals of this new HGSE resource — and why putting research into practice is a priority

August 27, 2014
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At HGSE, our goal is to change the world through education. To that end, we aim to identify and answer some of the most pressing questions facing the field. But no research finding — no matter how profound — will make much difference in the lives of students if it is simply left to dwell in the Ivory Tower.

If we hope to expand educational opportunity and improve student outcomes, it is imperative that we make our research findings accessible to those who can act on them. Enter Usable Knowledge — a project that will take new ideas and innovative solutions generated by our faculty and our students and put them in the hands of teachers, principals, superintendents, policymakers, and others who can have a real impact on students, schools, and education more broadly.

A teacher who wants to learn more about the Common Core can watch a video featuring Professors Dan Koretz, Heather Hill, and Paul Reville that delves into the issue of assessments from the perspectives of an expert in educational measurement, an expert in teacher quality, and the former Massachusetts Secretary of Education, respectively. An elementary school principal can access a set of briefs written by Professors Nonie Lesaux and Stephanie Jones that help guide the formation of early education programs. A superintendent or chief academic officer can read a Q&A with Kathy Boudett and Liz City on their new book, Meeting Wise, which helps educators make the most productive use of the time they spend in meetings.

But Usable Knowledge is more than just a collection of resources. Communication with the field lies at the heart of our school’s mission. In order to produce knowledge that matters, it’s not enough that our research be disseminated to those working in practice and policy — it must be driven by them as well.

I sincerely hope you will be a part of this effort. I encourage you to offer feedback on the resources, format, and focus of the Usable Knowledge website. Please sign up for our monthly newsletter to review and comment on our latest content. And join the conversation on Facebook, YouTube, and by following us on Twitter @UKnowHGSE.

As the Usable Knowledge project takes shape, your input and expertise will be critical in ensuring that the work done here at HGSE is directly linked to a better education for all students around the world.

About the Author

Photo of James E. Ryan
James E. Ryan
James E. Ryan is the 11th dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. A leading expert on law and education, Ryan has written extensively about the ways in which law structures educational opportunity. Before joining Harvard, he was the Matheson & Morgenthau Distinguished Professor at the University of Virginia Law School, where he founded the school’s Program in Law and Public Service. He is the author of Five Miles Away, a World Apart and Wait, What?
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