School & District Management

Federal Ed-Tech Research Organization Proposed

By Ian Quillen — February 13, 2011 1 min read

In the past several years, ed-tech leaders at all levels have lobbied for increased emphasis and funding for research to help determine which technological approaches in education are most effective, and how they can be scaled up more rapidly. If a recent White House proposal actually comes to fruition, those leaders may have their wish.

The Advanced Research Projects Agency—which would model itself after DARPA, the research office for the U.S. Department of Defense, would launch as part of the fiscal 2012 budget to “support research on breakthrough technologies to enhance learning,” according to the proposal. Few details are given, and considering that we’re currently working off an extension of fiscal 2010 funding levels with Congress yet to pass the fiscal 2011 budget, any plans for fiscal 2012 should probably be considered speculative.

Karen Cator, the federal chief of education technology, said in an e-mail the plan constitutes part of the strategy for increased ed-tech research and development in the National Education Technology Plan. Jim Shelton, the U.S. assistant deputy secretary for innovation and improvement, in a phone interview stressed the importance of seeing the proposal through to fruition, saying, “our competitor nations are investing deeply [in education]; if we don’t seize this opportunity now we may not be able to regain leadership later on.”

My colleague Sarah Sparks, our crack research reporter here at EdWeek, will explore more about what ARPA-ED would look like and what it will mean both for the ed-tech world and the broader education landscape, in a story that most likely will appear tomorrow on edweek.org.

Staff Writer Sarah Sparks contributed to this blog entry

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.