Today, President Obama unveiled his plan to increase America’s investment in research and innovation that has the potential to transform teaching and learning. In a speech on education reform at a Boston school, he stressed the shared responsibility of government, businesses, philanthropists, educators and local communities to prepare students to compete in a 21st century economy.
A new element of the President’s education strategy is the creation of an initiative within the Department of Education that will do for educational technology what the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has done for the military. DARPA, created in 1957, invests in high-risk, high-return research that has led to breakthroughs such as the Internet, GPS, robotics, speech technology, stealth aircraft, and night vision. Similarly, the new ARPA for Education, or ARPA-ED, will invest in game-changing approaches to teaching and learning with a goal of improving student performance. Imagine, for example, educational software that is as effective as personal tutor and as compelling as the best video game and that improves the more students use it.
There were a number of factors that motivated the White House and the Department of Education to propose ARPA-ED:
Although the President’s FY2012 budget includes $90 million to launch ARPA-ED, realizing the potential of advances in learning science and technology will require leadership from government, the private sector, the education sector, and philanthropy. For example:
OSTP is very excited about today’s announcement, and we look forward to working with the Department of Education, the Congress, and the private sector to make the President’s vision a reality.
Tom Kalil is Deputy Director for Policy in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy