Special 2019-2020 Category:

Transforming Education through Technology

SMART Challenge Banner Image.jpg

As a leader in educational technology for over 30 years, SMART has seen the power of technology in transforming learning. As part of SMART’s commitment to supporting schools in achieving better outcomes, SMART and the Conrad Challenge are collaborating to ensure that the voice of students is heard in shaping the future of education.

Impact the future of education now!

For the 19-20 Conrad Challenge, student teams are invited to dive deep into their own learning and develop new products and services to truly transform education. This category is open to designs of new technologies and services to help drive better outcomes for students, schools and communities. Positive outcomes include higher test scores and pass rates, as well as impacts to key social-emotional skills like collaboration and adaptability. These solutions can come in many forms and be applied to the challenge's traditional categories, if desired.

With your input, we can implement new technologies, as well as improve existing technologies, to help students around the globe achieve better outcomes and prepare for the future.

Together, we can ensure the role of technology in the classroom changes and is implemented differently to better support students, teachers and the community around them.

Collaborate with SMART Experts!

Students participating in this category are strongly encouraged to utilize the Conrad Design Method®: No Box Tool Box platform. SMART Technologies' experts will be actively engaged on the Slack channel to work directly with student teams. In addition, all teams who advance to Round 2: The Business Plan will be given a free license to SMART Learning Suite Software to support them in developing their idea, along with a toolkit of resources and direct access to SMART education experts who will offer helpful tips along the way! All of this information will be emailed to your team directly from SMART when you advance to Round 2.

In addition, up to 18 teams who complete Round 1 will be selected to receive online mentorship from Harvard Education Innovation Fellows. These fellows will offer guidance to teams as they develop their business plans, providing input and support to teams directly. Learn more about these fellows and Harvard’s Operation Impact here.


Consider what might be missing for you and your peers in your education experience today. What might help you ace that test, WOW your teacher with your next presentation, or develop skills that will help you in the workforce, like collaboration?

Below are a few articles and research that discuss the impact of technology in the classroom, and may help inspire your project:

HERE ARE A few brainstorming ideas to help GET YOU started: 

How might we implement new technologies or improve usage of existing ones, to support enhanced educational experiences and better outcomes for future students?

Consider new technologies or services in the following areas:

  • Physical space – re-imagine your learning environment, how can it be improved to be more effective?

  • Curriculum and content – how might we improve learning content to support better student outcomes?

  • Processes – what new processes might we employ to improve learning tool implementations or educational community communications?

  • Learning systems/ tools for students and teachers – how might content be delivered differently?

Important Items to Note with this Category:

  • The Transforming Education through Technology category will follow all of the traditional guidelines of the Conrad Challenge and adhere to the Conrad Challenge deadlines.

  • Teams are subject to the full registration fee of $399, unless they have registered in another Challenge category resulting in a discounted rate.

  • Teams will be judged based on the same Challenge criteria throughout all three rounds of the competition and a Pete Conrad Scholar will be selected within this category at the Innovation Summit. This category will also have special judges from SMART TECHNOLOGIES with the potential for additional prizes and awards.


ROUND 1: Investor Pitch Prize

Round 1: Investor Pitch submissions will be reviewed by SMART judges to select up to 18 of the most promising teams for online mentorship with the Harvard Education Innovation Fellows during Round 2: Business Plan. In addition, 1-2 teams will be selected to win an all-expense paid trip to Harvard in early spring 2020 and receive in-person mentorship from Harvard Innovation Fellows and the Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching team.

Top Prize for SMART Pete Conrad Scholar

The finalist team named Pete Conrad Scholars during the Innovation Summit will be awarded all of the same prizes as standard categories as well as the following prizes from SMART:

  • An all-expense paid trip, for the full team and their coach, to ISTE 2020 in Anaheim, California

  • A SMART Board Interactive Flat Panel for their school(s) 

  • Continued mentorship from SMART Technologies to support in further development of their product and/or service.


About SMART Technologies

SMART is a world leader in classroom technology, providing interactive solutions to help every student and teacher discover and develop the greatness within them. A consistent innovator for more than 30 years, SMART is the inventor of the SMART Board® and the developer of SMART Notebook®, the world’s most popular collaborative learning software, and part of the SMART Learning Suite. With its full range of interconnected displays, software and accessories used in more than 3 million classrooms, SMART helps students and teachers around the world achieve better learning outcomes. To learn more, visit