Ed-Tech Policy News in Brief

Panel to Draft Blueprint for Harnessing Technology

By Ian Quillen — March 27, 2012 1 min read

A new, privately financed commission will draft a blueprint for harnessing technology for education reform efforts and will have its work publicized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Federal Communications Commission.

The Leading Education by Advancing Digital, or lead Commission launched this month with endorsements from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and FCC Commissioner Julius Genachowski. Four co-commissioners that include former U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and James Steyer, the founder and chief executive officer of Common Sense Media, will lead the panel, according to a press release. Ms. Spellings now heads her own public-policy and strategic-consulting firm, based in Washington.

The commission’s work will be underwritten by private and in-kind donations from the co-commissioners, a spokeswoman for Common Sense Media, a San Francisco-based youth-media-watchdog group, wrote in an email. Private foundations may eventually contribute to the work, said spokeswoman Marisa Connolly.

By late 2012, the commission promises to release a blueprint of findings in three key areas, based on input from teachers, parents, local government and school officials, students, and ed-tech industry leaders.

The blueprint will include:

• A listing of current efforts, trends, cost implications, and other obstacles regarding technology adoption in schools;

• An examination of how tech-driven transformation in other sectors could be carried over to education; and

• Policy and funding recommendations for the ed-tech world.

The effort, whose other co-commissioners are Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger and TPG Capital founder James Coulter, is the latest in a growing list of collaboratives endorsed by the Education Department and/or the FCC with an ed-tech focus.

The FCC announced its Connect to Compete initiative aimed at providing affordable Internet access for low-income families in October, a month after the Education Department launched Digital Promise, a congressionally authorized clearinghouse dedicated to identifying, supporting, and publicizing the most effective education technology innovations. Both agencies also supported the observance of Digital Learning Day on Feb. 1, an initiative pushed by the Washington-based Alliance for Excellence in Education.

A version of this article appeared in the March 28, 2012 edition of Education Week as Panel to Draft Blueprint for Harnessing Technology

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