LEAD Commission Hopes to Advance Technology Ed in the US

In order to implement the U.S. Department of Education’s National Education Technology Plan published in November 2010, leaders in the fields of education and technology have announced a launch of the Leading Education by Advancing Digital (LEAD) Commission. The Commission’s goal is to create a practical plan for the use of technology in order to improve academic outcomes for American students.

The LEAD Commission 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, with the support of the FCC and the Department of Education. The LEAD Commission will incorporate input from a cross-section of teachers, parents, local government officials, school officials, students and education technology industry leaders and expects to release its findings and a blueprint for action in late 2012.

Both the Chairman of the Federal Communication Commission Julian Gancharowski and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have expressed support for the Commission’s goals and plan to assist in its efforts to bring technology to the U.S. classrooms. Duncan has spoken previously on the important role that technology will play in the future of any country that is serious about playing a part in the global economy. He stressed that technological competency will be compulsory for any student graduating in the coming years, and therefore it’s a subject that American schools can no longer afford to ignore.

In addition to planning for the future, the Commission also hopes to extensively study the ongoing technological education efforts around the country. It plans to take a look at the costs of implementing a robust digital-learning program as well as the issues currently facing schools that attempt to bring such programs forward.

It will also 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. Finally, the Commission will recommend the types of policies and funding vehicles that may be needed to ensure that school systems can successfully incorporate technology.

James Coulter, the Co-Founder of TPG Capital pointed out that on the “grass roots level” nascent digital learning programs are already being put into use by schools in various parts of America and he hoped to see technology have the same impact on education as it had on various other industries in the past two decades.

”Our goal with this commission is to help policy makers to more swiftly and effectively integrate digital learning into our national curriculum.”