White House Launches New “Digital Promise” Initiative

The White House and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced today the launch of “Digital Promise,” a new national center created by Congress to advance technologies that can transform teaching and learning.
“Created by Republicans and Democrats and championed by a coalition of educators and business leaders, Digital Promise is an independent nonprofit that will help spur breakthrough learning technologies.  And it will help make sure Americans of all ages and races, regions and backgrounds can benefit from them.  By harnessing the extraordinary work being done by educators, innovators, and citizens across this country, Digital Promise can help prepare Americans – and America – to succeed in the 21st Century,” says Secretary Duncan.
The bipartisan program will work with leading researchers, entrepreneurs, and schools to identify breakthrough learning technologies that deliver the best results in the classroom for students, parents, and teachers. The efforts of Digital Promise align with President Obama’s recent call to create jobs by bringing all of America’s schools into the 21st century.
“Digital Promise is a unique partnership that will bring everyone together – educators, entrepreneurs, and researchers – to use technology to help students learn and teachers teach. There’s no silver bullet when it comes to education, but technology can be a powerful tool, and Digital Promise will help us make the most of it,” says President Obama.
The key challenges Digital Promise targets include:

  • Identifying breakthrough technologies: Digital Promise will partner with technology firms and researchers to map the R&D landscape, identifying opportunities for breakthroughs in learning.
  • Learning faster what’s working: Digital Promise will work to improve the speed of testing and results to develop new approaches for rapidly evaluating new products for learning effectiveness.
  • Transforming the market for learning technologies: Digital Promise will work to close the gap between R&D investment in K-12 education by leveraging private sector investment in innovation through “smart demand.”

Digital Promise will also work to create a league of innovative schools, develop new investments in cyber-learning, analyze the learning technology market with economic advisors, launch video game initiatives for learning and more.
Digital Promise will receive startup funds from the Department of Education as well as the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. It will be overseen by board made up of prominent leaders in education and technology appointed by Secretary Duncan based on recommendations from the House of Representatives and United States Senate who include:

  • John Morgridge (Chairman Emeritus of Cisco)
  • Larry Grossman (former President of NBC News)
  • Irwin Jacobs (co-founder of Qualcomm)
  • Gilman Louie (founder of In-Q-Tel)
  • Eamon Kelly (President Emeritus of Tulane University)
  • Mark Dean (IBM Fellow and Vice President)
  • Shae Hopkins (Executive Director and CEO
  • Kentucky Educational Television)
  • Vince Juaristi (CEO & President, Arbola, Inc.), and
  • Shirley Malcom (Head of the Directorate for Education and Human Resources Programs, AAAS).

Take a moment to view Secretary Duncan speaking about the purpose and goals of Digital Promise:

For further details about Digital Promise and related initiatives please visit www.digitalpromise.org and http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/09/15/fact-sheet-digital-promise-initiative.

Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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1 Comment

Rich Jewett

Right ON! This is exactly what is needed in order to 'engage' unengaged students. JL Learning is a startup committed to this enterprise. Mindyum.com is a project of JLL.


Sarah Cargill

Hi Rich, Thanks for your comment! We're pretty excited about the movement as well. We also felt that Pearson's acquisition of Connections Education was a huge shift in the movement toward personal digital learning as well. See Tom's post at http://www.gettingsmart.com/gettingsmart-staging/blog/2011/09/what-the-connections-acquisition-means/.

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