Let’s start off by sharing the link to the Digital Promise Initiative website : http://digitalpromise.org/
How Digital Promise Came About
Seeking to find new ways in which digital technology could benefit the public interest, the Carnegie Corporation of New York launched the Digital Promise project in 1999, in partnership with other leading foundations. They recruited the talents of former FCC Chairman Newton N. Minow and former NBC News and PBS president Lawrence K. Grossman to co-chair the effort. In 2001, Minow and Grossman published groundbreaking recommendations in the book, A Digital Gift to the Nation.
Ideas in the book spurred further proposals from The Learning Federation of the Federation of American Scientists, and their recommendations morphed into a 2004 report to Congress. From there, a bipartisan effort in 2008 authorized the National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies, Section 802 of the Higher Education Opportunity Act, which was signed into law by then-President George W. Bush that same year.
Last September, following a major speech by President Barack Obama to a joint session of Congress, Education Secretary Arne Duncan inaugurated the new Digital Promise initiative by announcing the first round of awards totaling $15 million in the National Science Foundation’s “Cyberlearning: Transforming Education” program.
Additional support for Digital Promise comes from the Department of Education, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
What are the key points the DP group makes?
- District leaders must first articulate the problem they hope to solve using ed-tech. The more specific this problem is, the easier it is to determine whether a product successfully meets that need.
- When reviewing potential products, districts must consider their IT environment, the scope of the pilot, the users’ level of experience using technology, existing research about the product, privacy features, and the available funding. Additionally, districts that involve educators in product selection see higher levels of educator engagement and technology implementation.
- Clearly articulate specific pilot goals to ensure a shared vision, and identify data that will be used to determine success. Set agreements with ed-tech providers and researchers that outline roles and responsibilities, timelines, and how results will be used.
- Ensure teachers have district and/or company-provided training, technology support, and instructional coaching to enable strong implementation of the new tool.
- Collect quantitative and qualitative data to determine whether the pilot goals are met. Create formal opportunities (e.g., surveys, interviews, focus groups, and team meetings) for teachers and students to give feedback about the tools.
- Analyze collected data to evaluate whether the ed-tech tool met the pilot goal(s). Consider both qualitative and quantitative data when deciding whether to purchase, continue piloting, or discontinue using the tool.
- Work with the ed-tech provider to understand and negotiate the total cost of implementing the ed-tech tool. Consider ongoing costs for licensing, installation, training, and IT support.
- Summarize and share results with pilot participants in order to foster transparency and trust. Consider sharing the results externally to support other schools and districts in their ed-tech decision making.
From Concordia University:
What It’s About
As described in its bipartisan charter, Digital Promise is a nonprofit corporation authorized by Congress “to support a comprehensive research and development program to harness the increasing capacity of advanced information and digital technologies to improve all levels of learning and education, formal and informal, in order to provide Americans with the knowledge and skills needed to compete in the global economy.”
Key Elements of the Initiative
- To identify breakthroughs and cutting-edge technologies.
- Finding out quickly what works and what doesn’t.
- Transforming the market for learning technologies.
The League of Innovative Schools
School districts and charter school networks across the U.S. have come together to launch the League of Innovative Schools, a coalition dedicated to promoting innovation in learning technology and to improving educational outcomes. Key functions of the league will be to:
- Perform rapid, coordinated testing of promising new technologies where schools work in unison to accelerate the R&D timetable
- Create a “buyers consortium” to negotiate better prices and demand higher quality
- Establish an “advance market commitment” incentive for entrepreneurs by promising to buy large quantities of product currently in the development pipeline
- Is this the best way to educate?
- Are computers the solution to better outcomes?
- Do students benefit…OR…is this a way for private businesses to make money?
- Who monitors and judges the outcomes and value?