Official Rules

We are honored by the interest in the Tools Competition. Please note the organizers of the competition adapted the timeline of the competition on October 2, 2020. Please see the new timeline under “Competition Period” on this page.

No purchase necessary to enter or win the competition. Void where prohibited.

Goal

The Futures Forum on Learning: Tools Competition (the “Competition”) is focused on the discovery of new tools and technologies that can facilitate the improvement of student outcomes and stem learning loss worldwide amid the Covid-19 pandemic and advance Learning Engineering. 

Competition Sponsor and Administrator

The Learning Agency (the “Sponsor” or “we” or “us<”), which is located at 702 12th Street NW. Suite 700 PWB 93369, Washington, DC 20005, is the sponsor and administrator of the Competition. For legal purposes, the financial supporters of the Competition (the “Financial Supporters”) are not sponsors, and are just providing financial support for the Competition and the awards and as such, are not responsible for the implementation of the Competition or the enforcement of these Official Rules (as modified from time to time, the “Rules”).

Eligibility

Subject to these Rules, individuals and entities from all countries and with any background who satisfy the eligibility requirements are eligible to compete in the Competition, including, students, teachers, researchers, small and large companies and not-for-profit foundations (collectively, the “Entrants” or “you”). To the extent possible, the Sponsor will work with all Entrants to attempt to overcome any issues that may arise due to the international aspect of the Competition; however, each Entrant bears the ultimate responsibility for adherence with any applicable laws and compliance with these Rules. 

Individuals and entities residing in Iran, Cuba, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria are not eligible to participate in the Competition.

Individuals

To be eligible to participate in the Competition and win an award as an  individual, you must (a) be at least eighteen 18 years old, (b) be able to receive payments legally from the United States in US dollars, (c) be competing in a jurisdiction in which the Competition is not prohibited by applicable law; (d) have a bank account into which funds can legally be deposited from the United States in US dollars (or if part of a Team, the Team or a participant on the Team has a bank account); (e) not have withdrawn, been terminated, or disqualified from the Competition; and (fi) be fully in compliance with these Rules.

Entity

To be eligible to participate in the Competition and win an award as an Entrant that is an entity, you must (a) be validly existing, duly organized, and in good standing in the jurisdiction of your organization, (b) be able to receive payments legally from the United States in US dollars, (c) be competing in a jurisdiction in which the Competition is not prohibited by applicable law; (d) have a bank account into which funds can legally be deposited from the United States in US dollars; (e) not have withdrawn, been terminated, or disqualified from the Competition; and (f) be in full compliance with these Rules.

Teams

Individuals and entities, otherwise eligible to participate in the Competition and win an award, may form and submit a team entry (a “Team”). Each team member must be clearly identified on the team’s submission form for the team to be eligible and must identify the single point of contract for the team (the “Team Lead”). Team winnings, as determined by the Sponsor, will be distributed to the designated Team Lead for further distribution to team members. In the event a dispute regarding the identity of the Entrant who actually submitted the entry cannot be resolved to the Sponsor’s satisfaction, the affected entry will be deemed ineligible.

Ineligible

Employees of the Sponsor and each of the Financial Supporters, Competition and fulfillment agencies, directors, and officers, and each of their respective immediate family members and persons living in their same household (whether legally related or not), are not eligible to participate in the Competition or win an award.

It will be our sole decision as to whether any eligibility requirement has or has not been met. We may require evidence or confirmation from Entrants at any time, including before granting awards.

Official Rules

Participation in this Competition constitutes each Entrant’s full and unconditional agreement to the Rules and Sponsor’s decisions, which are final and binding in all matters related to the Competition.

These Official Rules are subject to change at any time. We will use commercially reasonable efforts to notify you of any changes to these Rules, including by posting the modified Rules on our website at https://futuresforumonlearning.org/ (the “Site”). Your continued participation in the Competition after the posting of changes constitutes your binding acceptance of such changes. You should check our Site frequently for any updates to the Rules. IF AT ANY TIME YOU DO NOT AGREE WITH THIS COMPETITION OR THESE RULES, PLEASE IMMEDIATELY WITHDRAFT FROM, AND TERMINATE YOUR PARTICIPATION IN, THE COMPETITION.

Competition Period

The Competition begins and ends according to the below schedule. Sponsor’s computer is the official time-keeping device for the Competition. Note: The organizers of the Competition adapted the timeline on October 2, 2020. New deadlines are bolded.

Timeline*
New Dates indicated in bold
Competition Open July 21, 2020 – September 18, 2020
Entries due September 18, 2020 (11:59:49 pm EST)
Select entries invited to submit detailed proposals October 5, 2020
Submit interest for Phase 2 (not required) October 14, 2020
Detailed proposals due November 1, 2020 (11:59:49 pm ET)
Finalists selected December 18, 2020
Interviews with judges** Mid-January 2021
Winners awarded February 8, 2021
Product Review  Day** Spring 2021

* These dates are subject to change.

** All meetings and other interactions will be virtual unless otherwise provided.

General Requirements

Theme and Criteria

The Competition is seeking solutions of new tools or technology that can accelerate global student outcomes amid the COVID-19 pandemic that simultaneously advance Learning Engineering.

Size of the Award

Entrants are encouraged to seek awards that are best suited for their specific capabilities and needs. Entrants will be subject to different requirements depending on the size of the award that they are seeking. Entrants seeking the largest awards will be subject to the most rigorous requirements and aggressive deliverables.

Entrants should use the eligibility questionnaire located here to help decide the most appropriate size of the award to seek (the “Award  Questionnaire”).

  • Catalyst Awards: Up to $25,000
    These awards are aimed at new entrants, including students, teachers, civic technologists, or those who need that initial spark of support to get started. To be competitive for a small prize, Entrants must have:

    • A detailed description of the tool or technology
    • Plan for execution
  • Mid-Range Awards: $25,000- $100,000
    These prizes will be aimed at smaller platforms or new entrants with a strong pre-identified team and clear plan for execution. To be competitive for a mid-range prize, Entrants must have:

    • Everything for a small prize
    • An existing technology or tool that has a demonstrated infrastructure and robust group of active users. 
  • Large Awards: $100,000- $250,000
    This lane is aimed at large-scale, existing platforms who have an idea that could impact a large number of their users. To be competitive for a large prize, Entrants must have:

    • Everything for a mid-range prize
    • Existing platform or tool with at least 25,000 active users 
    • A plan or idea that will positively impact multiple regions and a large population
    • Proof of success producing a tool, technology or dataset of a similar scale in education or another field. 

 

Entries

Initial entries of solutions to the Competition must be submitted using the online portal by September 18, 2020 (11:59:49 pm EST).

All proposals must be original to the Entrant (or the applicable Team). By submitting a proposal, Entrant represents that such proposal and any information in the proposal does not violate the rights of any third party.

In participating in the Competition, you agree (i) to provide true, accurate, current, and complete information about yourself (and your team as applicable) and (ii) to maintain and promptly update such information, including your proposal, to keep it true, accurate, current and complete at all times.

You understand that any material misrepresentation, including omissions, may disqualify you from the Competition and consideration for an award.

Criteria for Competition

Sponsor will review each Entrant’s proposal based on:

  • How will the proposal accelerate the rate of improvement of student outcomes in one of the following problem areas:
    • Increase the number of students who are reading by 3rd grade
    • Increase the number of students on track in middle-school math
    • Expand the number of students gaining data and computer science skills in high school
    • Driving more students into college through academic and nonacademic supports. 
    • Pressing learning goal that is connected to COVID-19 and identified by the Entrant
  • Ability to leverage big data to facilitate continuous improvement and rapid experimentation
  • Potential to scale
  • Effectiveness
  • Attention to equity and address how historically marginalized students could benefit
  • Entrant passion and readiness

Cancellation of the Competition

The Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify, extend or suspend this Competition should any virus, bugs, non-authorized human intervention, fraud or other causes beyond its reasonable control corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness or proper conduct of the Competition and no compensation will be payable.

Process

The Competition will have a three-phase review, each with increasingly intensive requirements.

  • Phase 1: Initial screen. Entrants will submit a one-page description of their proposal that includes the award requested and a description of themselves and/or their team. As noted earlier, Entrants are encouraged to take the Award Questionnaire that will help them determine the most appropriate award to request. 
    A certain number of Entrants will be asked to continue to Phase 2.  We have not put a limit on the number of Entrants that could be asked to continue to Phase 2 because we want the flexibility to be able to give as many meritorious proposals as possible the opportunity to succeed.
  • Phase 2: Detailed proposal. Submit a detailed proposal, including a budget and plan for execution. The judges will review and select a certain number of finalists. We have not put a limit on the number of finalists because we want the flexibility to support as many meritorious proposals as possible. 
  • Phase 3: Pitch/Interview. Finalists prepare a pitch and interview with the judges. Judges will provide recommendations for the winners. Using these recommendations and other considerations, the Sponsor will make the final determination of the winners and the amount of the award to be granted.
  • Product Review Day: Winners will give presentations to other winners and others in the field. To prepare for the Product Review Day, winners will work with Columbia University and The Learning Agency, as needed. 

Awards

All awards will be paid in two (2) installments. 50% will be paid within thirty (30) days of the date winners are announced. The remaining 50% may be paid within thirty (30) days of the date of Product Review Day depending on whether the winner has made sufficient progress based on their plan for execution by the Product Review Day as determined by Sponsor in its discretion. 

The Sponsor’s decision regarding the winners of an award, the size of the award and whether winners will receive the second half of their awards are final and binding in all respects.

The awards shall be paid by check or ACH or as otherwise agreed between a winner and the Sponsor.

Notification of Winners

All potential winners will be notified via email, on or about December 3, 2020. “Notification” is deemed to have occurred immediately upon sending of an e-mail. In order for a potential winner to claim their award, the potential winner must respond within ten (10) days of Notification and may be required to sign and return an Affidavit of Eligibility and Liability Release and a Publicity Release (where legal), and any other additional documents required by Sponsor (the “Required Documents”) within ten (10) days of date of Notification. Failure to comply within this time period, or if award notification is returned as non-deliverable or not returned properly executed, or if a potential winner is found to be ineligible, or not in compliance with these Rules, it will result in the potential winner forfeiting the award and being disqualified and an alternate potential winner being selected from among remaining eligible Entrants.

Competition Publicity

By participating in the Competition, and to the extent not prohibited by law or regulation, you grant the Sponsor a non-exclusive right (a) to use your name and likeness in connection with this Competition and the Futures Forum, including on our Site and marketing materials and (b) the right to publish and otherwise display your initial proposal. Being selected for Phase 3 or acceptance of an award constitutes permission (except where prohibited by law or regulation) to use winner’s name, likeness, biographical data and statements for advertising and publicity purposes without notice or additional compensation.

If you submit a photograph or video clip in connection with the Competition (collectively, “Photograph”):

  • You warrant that you are the person in the Photograph or have prior approval from the person in the Photograph that it may be submitted in connection with the Competition;
  • You agree that we have the right to publish and communicate to the public the Photographs in any media including, but not limited to, online, at all times without restriction or limitation throughout the world and not only for the purposes of the Competition;
  • You acknowledge that we may edit the Photographs in our sole discretion;
  • You agree that we have the right to use entrants’ names, likenesses and other personal information in conjunction with the Photographs;
  • You agree not to bring any actions, suits, claims and demands against us in respect of defamation or any infringement or violation of any personal and/or property rights of any sort from our use of their Photographs; and
  • You unconditionally waive you right to seek or obtain an injunction to prevent or restrict our use of the Photographs.

Compliance with Laws

Each Entrant must fully comply with all applicable local, regional, national, and international laws, orders, directives, ordinances, treaties, rules, declarations, decrees, orders, enactments, judgments, regulations or other binding restrictions issued by any legislative, judicial or administrative body, whether effective before or after the effective date of the Competition. The Sponsor shall not be responsible for providing to any Entrant any advice or counsel, legal or otherwise, with regard thereto.

Taxes

Each Entrant shall be solely responsible and liable for all international, Federal, state and local taxes arising from any award that may be granted.

Privacy

Each Entrant agrees to the collection, processing and storage of his or her personal information by the Sponsor for purposes of this Competition. We may use this information (a) as necessary in connection with the Competition, including for marketing, (b) as necessary for the purposes of our legitimate interests (or those of a third party), (c) as necessary to comply with a legal or regulatory obligation and (d) for any other purpose not prohibited by applicable law. We may share this information with others associated with the Competition and otherwise without restriction to the extent not prohibited by law. We will not sell your personal information. All personal information collected will be treated in accordance with all applicable law.

Confidential Information

No entries, proposals or other materials or information submitted or provided by Entrants to the Sponsor in connection with the Competition, including any proposals, documents and communications,  (collectively, the “Submitted Information”) will be considered confidential information, except as specifically provided in the terms of our privacy policy. The Sponsor may disclose any Submitted Information to the Financial Sponsors and its employees, contractors, consultants, independent subject matter experts, judges and other organizations without restriction,  including to evaluate proposals for the competition. Please carefully consider the information included in the Submission Materials. If you have any doubt about the wisdom of disclosure of any confidential or proprietary information, you should consult with your legal counsel and take any steps you deem necessary to protect your confidential information or intellectual property.

Indemnification

Each Entrant and award winner agrees to release, defend, indemnify and hold harmless the Sponsor, the Financial Sponsors and each of their respective officers, employees, directors, parent and related companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and any other companies participating in the administration or fulfillment of the Competition (collectively, “Released Parties”) from liability of any kind or nature for any injuries, damages or losses of any kind or any other costs or expenses resulting from participation in this Competition, or acceptance, possession or use, misuse or grant of an award or parts thereof, including, without limitation, any injury, damage death, loss or accident to person or property.

The Released Parties are not responsible for any printing, typographical, mechanical, human or other errors in these Rules, in the administration of the Competition, in the announcement of the award winners, and/or in any advertising or other associated Competitional materials in connection with the Competition. Further, the Released Parties are not responsible for technical, hardware, software, electronic, network, telephone or other communications malfunctions, errors or failures of any kind, errors in transmission, lost or unavailable network connections, telephone connections, dropped dial-up internet connections, interrupted broadband, cable, or wireless internet connections, cell phone dropped calls, unauthorized human intervention, traffic congestions, incomplete or inaccurate capture of entry information (regardless of cause) or failed, incomplete, garbled, jumbled or delayed transmissions which may limit or restrict an entrant’s ability to enter the Competition, including any injury or damage to participant’s or any other person’s phone or other electronic computing or telephone equipment, or other matter relating to or resulting from participation in this Competition.

Governing Law and Dispute Resolution

All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Rules or the rights and obligations of entrants, Sponsor or the Released Parties in connection with the Competition will be governed by and construed in accordance with the internal laws of the State of Delaware, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules or provisions that would cause the application of any other state’s laws. The parties hereby consent to exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the courts located in Washington, D.C. in any action to enforce (or otherwise relating to) these Rules or relating to the Competition. EACH PARTY IRREVOCABLY AND UNCONDITIONALLY WAIVES, TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW, ANY RIGHT IT MAY HAVE TO A TRIAL BY JURY IN ANY LEGAL ACTION, PROCEEDING, CAUSE OF ACTION OR COUNTERCLAIM ARISING OUT OF OR RELATING TO ANY CLAIM OR OTHERWISE IN CONNECTION WITH THESE OFFICIAL RULES OR THE COMPETITION.

BY ENTERING THE COMPETITION, EACH ENTRANT AGREES THAT TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW: (A) ANY AND ALL DISPUTES, CLAIMS AND CAUSES OF ACTION ARISING OUT OF OR CONNECTED WITH THE COMPETITION, OR ANY AWARD GRANTED, WILL BE RESOLVED INDIVIDUALLY, WITHOUT RESORT TO ANY FORM OF CLASS ACTION; (B) ANY AND ALL CLAIMS, JUDGMENTS AND AWARDS WILL BE LIMITED TO ACTUAL THIRD-PARTY, OUT-OF-POCKET COSTS INCURRED, (IF ANY), NOT TO EXCEED TWO HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS ($250.00), BUT IN NO EVENT WILL ATTORNEYS’ FEES BE AWARDED OR RECOVERABLE; (C) UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL ANY ENTRANT BE PERMITTED TO OBTAIN ANY AWARD FOR, AND ENTRANT HEREBY KNOWINGLY AND EXPRESSLY WAIVES ALL RIGHTS TO SEEK, PUNITIVE, INCIDENTAL, EXEMPLARY, CONSEQUENTIAL OR SPECIAL DAMAGES, LOST PROFITS, AND/OR ANY RIGHTS TO HAVE DAMAGES MULTIPLIED OR OTHERWISE INCREASED; AND (D) ENTRANTS’ REMEDIES ARE LIMITED TO A CLAIM FOR MONEY DAMAGES (IF ANY) AND ENTRANT IRREVOCABLY WAIVES ANY RIGHT TO SEEK INJUNCTIVE OR EQUITABLE RELIEF. SOME JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW THE LIMITATIONS OR EXCLUSION OF LIABILITY, SO THE ABOVE MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU.

MISCELLANEOUS

The names of individuals, groups, companies, products and services mentioned herein, and any corresponding likenesses, logos and images thereof reproduced herein, have been used for identification purposes only and may be the copyrighted properties and trademarks of their respective owners. The mention of any individual, group or company does not imply any association with or endorsement by such individual, group or company or the manufacturer or distributor of such product or service and, except as otherwise indicated, no association or endorsement is intended or should be inferred. The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of these Rules will not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision. In the event that any provision of these Rules is determined to be invalid or otherwise unenforceable or illegal, the other provisions will remain in effect and will be construed in accordance with their terms as if the invalid or illegal provision were not contained herein. Sponsor’s failure to enforce any term of these Rules will not constitute a waiver of that provision. To the extent that there is a conflict between these Rules and any terms of use or other agreement posted on the Site or otherwise, these Rules control.

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