As you formulate a National Broadband Plan, please consider a partnership with the new National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies in the plan. This National Center will be a 501(c)(3) Congressionally-originated nonprofit corporation reporting to Congress through the Department of Education. It is modeled on the National Science Foundation, and will support the development of advanced information and digital technologies for learning through grants and contracts and public and private partnerships. It will bring the same focused, sustained research funding to technology and learning that the federal government has funded for years in technology for health care at NIH, for defense at DARPA, for energy at the Dept. of Energy, and for science at NSF.
The National Center’s mission is to harness the power of information technology in the cause of learning by sponsoring research for pre-competitive, high-risk, long-term projects that will spur educational and skills training innovation. The National Center will:
• Provide financing for research, development, and demonstration of advanced information technologies that can transform education, skills training, and lifelong learning.
• Build multi-disciplinary teams that mobilize the skills in American’s schools, colleges, universities, museums, libraries, public broadcasting entities and other similar organizations, as well as the corporate sector, to achieve these goals. The National Center will encourage partnerships between nonprofit and for profit enterprises. Private firms will take the concepts developed through the National Center investments and convert them into instructional projects and powerful tools that educators can use to build new learning systems that reflect individual needs.
• Support the testing and evaluation of these systems, and encourage the widespread adoption and use of effective approaches to learning.
Since the goals of the new National Center are in line with the goals of the FCC with regard to the use of technology in advancing education, I hope you will consider a partnership with the National Center in the National Broadband Plan.