Earlier this year, we issued a challenge to university students: bring us your most innovative ideas for solving today’s biggest issues in primary/K-12 education. And, man, have those students answered.

Today I’m thrilled to announce 21 semifinalists in the Dell Education Challenge, a spotlight challenge extending our partnership with the Dell Social Innovation Challenge managed by The University of Texas at Austin. Through this call to action, we’re seeking to identify and invest $30,000 in promising projects by university entrepreneurs working to transform primary learning.

This group of semifinalists emerged from more than 400 project submissions. More than half the teams are located in Asia and Africa, an exciting proof point of the program’s global reach.  Projects address issues ranging from:

  • Professional development for classroom teachers to improve their administrative and leadership capacity, such as in Next Step Leaders.
  • Using mobile phones to make classroom learning more fun and to track performance of students, such as in Ahadoo Mobile Learning.
  • Crowdfunding education for underprivileged street children, such as in Microfunded Education.

In the next month, these semifinalists will receive 1:1 mentoring to help them polish their ideas. We will announce the challenge finalists Dec. 1, and they will travel to Dell World this December to pitch their ideas to the spotlight’s judges.

You can get involved, too. Visit www.dellchallenge.org/k12 to learn how you can become a mentor or partner.