New education and technology group LEAD aims to advance digital education

Experts from across the education and technology space formed the Leading Education by Advancing Digital (LEAD) Commission. “Our schools are not yet leveraging technology to the fullest extent,” said Margaret Spellings, former Secretary of Education.  “In order to truly close the achievement gap and impact teaching and learning, we must better use technology to customize instruction, improve the use of student data, and deliver content in new and interesting ways.” March 21, 2012, reported from eSchool News:

A new initiative aims to help policy makers better integrate technology in education.

Spurred by calls for change from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Department of Education (ED), a group of educational technology stakeholders has formed a new ed-tech advocacy commission that will “develop a blueprint detailing the opportunity for using technology as a catalyst to transform and improve American education.”

The LEAD Commission will be co-chaired by Columbia University President Lee Bollinger; James Coulter, co-founder of private investment firm TPG Capital; former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings; and Common Sense Media Founder and CEO James Steyer.

The commission also will seek to address the following:

  • Which subjects (e.g., math, science, language) or levels (e.g., high school) would benefit most from incorporating digital tools, and under what approaches.
  • Whether or not students are receiving enough guidance on the importance of behaving in a positive and responsible manner online.

“Digital tools are crucial for STEM subjects, and you might say it’s almost impossible to teach those subjects without digital tools and media. But digital platforms are increasingly important for many other areas, including history and English/language arts,” said Common Sense Media’s Steyer.  “As a country, we must make sure [teachers] have the best tools, and the guidance they need to make the most of those tools.”

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said he believes the group’s forthcoming blueprint “will chart a course to ensure that educational technology will help prepare students to compete in the 21st-century global economy.”

“Technology isn’t an option that schools may or may not choose for their kids. Technological competency is a requirement for entry into the global economy—and the faster we embrace it, the more we maintain and secure our economic leadership in the 21st century,” said Education Education Arne Duncan.