I was intrigued to see that the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act passed by Congress in July and signed into law by Pres. Bush in August includes the establishment of a “National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies.” According to the legislation, the Center’s purpose is to:
“[S]upport 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.”
To this end, the Center will award contracts and grants for the following purposes:
(A) to support research to improve education, teaching, and learning that is in the public interest, but that is determined unlikely to be undertaken entirely with private funds;
(B) to support–
(i) precompetitive research, development, and demonstrations;
(ii) assessments of prototypes of innovative digital learning and information technologies, as well as the components and tools needed to create such technologies; and
(iii) pilot testing and evaluation of prototype systems described in clause (ii); and
(C) to encourage the widespread adoption and use of effective, innovative digital approaches to improving education, teaching, and learning.
While the Center has been authorized, but not yet funded via the appropriations process, it appears to have broad political support. Here’s to its future and the research it will foment . . .