I generally read edtech stories based on individual companies that are interesting, but don't push me to write about them. This piece of news on the other hand is big enough to be of major interest to me, and I imagine potentially to you. On September 16th, Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan and the US Department of Education launched Digital Promise. This is a public-private aimed at speeding up technological innovation in education. In a Wall Street Journal article about the launch, Arne Duncan and Reed Hastings explain that "Digital Promise's aim is ambitious: to advance breakthrough technologies that transform teaching and learning in and out of the classroom, while creating a business environment that rewards innovation and entrepreneurship."
Pretty cool stuff. Part of what they are getting at is applying entrepreneurship and specifically lean startup methods to education. And why not? Usage and impact of educational tools can be tracked without too much expense and said tools can be itererated on and improved based on what works and what students like to use (imagine that - education can be fun!).
Another point from the WSJ article that resonated was this one:
"In the past two decades, technology has revolutionized the way Americans communicate, get news, socialize and conduct business. But technology has yet to transform our classrooms. At its full potential, technology could personalize and accelerate instruction for students of all educational levels. And it could provide equitable access to a world-class education for millions of students stuck attending substandard schools in cities, remote rural regions, and tribal reservations."
It is a shame that education has been left behind, but with Digital Promise, and perhaps more importantly, the level of excitement and interest in fixing education that I see daily in Silicon Valley, I have high hopes. I've always seen the private sector as most capable of creating agile solutions to today's problems, but I love to see that government is investing in those solutions as well.
What do you think? Does this give you hope? If not, what can we do as a country to improve the quality of education?