Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Launches Global Education Challenge, $250,000 in Awards Available for Breakthrough Innovations in K-12 Education

BOSTON — Global education leader Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) today launched the HMH Global Education Challenge, designed to identify and incubate game-changing ideas for solutions with the potential to dramatically improve student outcomes in K–12 education. Hosted on a collaborative online platform, the HMH Global Education Challenge enables entrants to submit an idea for evaluation by the community and a panel of expert judges for a chance to win from a pool of $250,000 in cash and prizes. Winning ideas will also be considered for development and ongoing financial investment from HMH.

“Our schools and the tools they use are becoming more disconnected from the students they serve every single day. There is a critical need for fresh, creative thinking to improve global educational systems,” said Michael Muldowney, Interim Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer of HMH. “We all share the responsibility for identifying ways to improve schools and the Global Education Challenge brings anyone with a great idea into the discussion — whether the innovator is a classroom teacher, a school principal, a parent or an academic. We’re looking for ways to dramatically improve results, while extending educational opportunities to every child globally.”

HMH created the Global Education Challenge to rally innovators worldwide to share creative ideas for tools that address the issues inhibiting student achievement and identify solutions that foster change by impacting one of three key areas: student learning, family engagement and teacher effectiveness. These could include ideas for anything from a new software tool or mobile app, to a service for students, parents or teachers, to a completely new educational technology.

The Challenge judging panel will be comprised of a diverse group of thought leaders, including:

  • Steven Anderson, Educator, Author of The Web 2.0 Connected Classroom
  • William J. Bennett, Former U.S. Secretary of Education
  • Joe Blatt, Senior Lecturer in Education and Faculty Director of the Technology, Innovation, and Education Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Michael Horn, Executive Director, Education - Innosight Institute
  • Marwan Marouf Mahmoud, Executive Director, ICT Industry Development Division, ictQATAR
  • Fiona O’Carroll, Executive Vice President, New Ventures/Innovation Group at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Education at Microsoft
  • Phoenix Wang, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Startl
  • Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for Excellent Education and Former Governor of West Virginia
“As a leading education company with a truly global network, HMH is uniquely positioned to champion great ideas and for the best potential solutions, provide funding and development support to actually get them into the hands of students, families and teachers,” Muldowney said.

Using the Global Education Challenge platform, educators, thought leaders, parents — and anyone interested in improving global education systems — can engage in conversation about education issues, submit ideas, comment and vote on other submissions and build upon ideas submitted by others. Community voting and commenting will help drive the most promising ideas to the top of the stack. Entries will be evaluated by the judges based on uniqueness, impact, and adaptability.

HMH will be giving a total of $250,000 in total cash and prizes as part of the Global Education Challenge, including a $100,000 cash prize for the winning entrant and $25,000 for second place. HMH will award additional prizes—including iPads and Amazon.com gift cards — during the Global Education Challenge. In alignment with the goal of supporting student achievement, HMH will also make donations of fiction, nonfiction and reference titles, on behalf of selected winners, to a K–12 school of their choosing. In addition to winning prizes for the best ideas, participants will be eligible to win prizes based on the reputation they earn on the platform as well as through random drawings of eligible participants.

Would-be participants can join the conversation by visiting www.globaleducationchallenge.com. After creating a login, participants can submit an idea, view and provide commentary on other submissions and learn more about the Challenge and the issues it aims to address. Challenge entries will be accepted from May 19 through July 15. Winners will be announced in September. Entrants will retain rights to all ideas submitted. Full Challenge Terms and Conditions can be found at www.globaleducationchallenge.com.

HMH is committed to investing $100 million to support emerging education initiatives and programs, and also to accelerate new technology development with the goal of bringing to market — and spurring adoption of — innovative solutions that can play a critical role in transforming education.

HMH is also committed to investing as much as $300 million over the next three years to develop innovation centers both in the United States and Dublin, Ireland. The Innovation teams at HMH work closely with third parties including original equipment manufacturers, foundations and academia, and have already started rolling out an array of new solutions including a one-year pilot program in four California school districts of HMH FuseTM: Algebra I, the first ever full-curriculum algebra application for the Apple iPad; and Write Source, a new all-digital language arts program.

To learn more, visit: www.globaleducationchallenge.com.

About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 
With education products and services used by 57 million students throughout all 50 U.S. states and 120 countries, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is a global education and learning company. The world's largest provider of materials for pre-K–12 learning, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is leading the way with innovative solutions and approaches to the challenges facing education today. Through curricula excellence coupled with technology innovations and professional services, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt collaborates with school districts, administrators, teachers, parents and students, providing interactive, results-driven learning solutions. Its Educational Consulting Services group works to increase student achievement in underperforming schools by developing, implementing and supporting education transformation through sustained district partnerships.  With origins dating back to 1832, the Company also publishes an extensive line of reference works and award-winning literature for adults and young readers. For more information, visit www.hmhco.com.