There’s a fantastic new article on MindShift (big fan!) discussing the potential new federal agency ARPA-Ed. The acronym, which sounds just like DARPA (intentional), stands for Advanced Research Projects Agency – Education. It’s basically a potential new department designed to help produce the best new education technology.
It’s a bit different from what you might think though. ARPA-Ed is not, in theory, designed to strictly focus on education technology for teachers. It has a broader scope that entails creating the next big thing for edtech.
As part of Obama’s 2012 budget, $90 million was earmarked for the creation of ARPA-Ed. But until the proposal of the EASA amendment by Colorado Senator Michael Bennet today, there hasn’t been any movement toward making this agency a reality.
The Department of Education says that ARPA-Ed would fund both private and public research by industry, universities, and other organizations that feed such projects as personalized digital tutors, adaptive learning platforms, and game-based learning (PDF). The administration contends that an agency like ARPA-Ed would help correct the under-investment in education technology and would in turn spur innovation in the sector, which it contends has lagged far behind others in terms of its productivity and its performance. -MindShift
While ARPA-Ed has not yet been created or approved, it is an interesting concept. Audrey Watters over on MindShift draws parallels to the Space Race for good reason. Since DARPA was formed in response to the launch of Sputnik, it seems fitting to start talking about the creation of an education technology agency designed to keep the U.S. up to speed with the rest of the world.
Questions For You
- Should there actually be a federal agency devoted to education technology?
- Would it help or hurt innovation?
- How on Earth would it work and what would it do for your classroom in particular?
Weigh in on the Edudemic Facebook page or down in the comments. Be sure to also check out the full MindShift article by Audrey Watters as she details other concepts that might soon happen as well as even more detail about ARPA-Ed.