A new commission is preparing to chart the course of American education into the digital age. The Leading Education by Advancing Digital (LEAD) Commission announced its formation last week with the backing of the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Department of Education.
The LEAD Commission will develop a blueprint of how best to use technology as a catalyst to transform and improve American education, and will be co-chaired by Columbia University President Lee Bollinger; co-founder of TPG Capital James Coulter; former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings; and Common Sense Media Founder and CEO James Steyer. The commission plans to incorporate input from teachers, parents, local government officials, school officials, students and education technology experts from across the country. It expects to release its findings and a blueprint for action in late 2012.
FCC Chairman Genachowski said in a statement that he was “pleased these leaders are rising to the challenge Secretary Duncan and I set out to harness technology to help our students reach their full potential. I’m confident the LEAD Commission’s blueprint will chart a course to ensure that education technology will help prepare students to compete in the 21st century global economy.”
“It’s no exaggeration to say that technology is the new platform for learning,” Education Secretary Duncan was quoted as saying recently. “Technology isn’t an option that schools may or may not choose for their kids. Technological competency is a requirement for entry into the global economy – and the faster we embrace it – the more we maintain and secure our economic leadership in the 21st century.”
The Commission stated three primary goals:
1. To develop a fact base of current efforts, key trends, cost implications and obstacles to adoption of existing technologies.
2. To examine how technology has been a catalyst for improvement in other sectors and what that implies for how technology and digital content could positively impact teaching and learning over time.
3. To recommend the types of policies and funding vehicles that may be needed to ensure that school systems can successfully incorporate technology.
“America’s colleges and universities have a very significant interest in ensuring that young people graduate from high school with the rigorous skills that prepare them to thrive in higher education and beyond,” Bollinger said, “While the human interaction of student and teacher, critical thinking and classic texts remain essential parts of what we mean by an ‘education,’ we also know that new communications technologies can greatly enhance teaching, learning and research. We hope that our growing body of experience in the use of these transformational tools in higher education can provide useful insights for our nation’s schools.”
For more information on the LEAD Commission, visit leadcommission.org.