LEAD Hosts Symposium on Technology in Education

Students with laptops

U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski Highlight Day-Long Event 


STANFORD, CALIF. – The Leading Education by Advancing Digital (LEAD) Commission, a non-governmental organization exploring the opportunity to use technology to improve education in the United States, hosted the LEAD Symposium on Technology in Education today at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. In its first major event since launching in March 2012, the organization convened an elite group of education, technology and policy leaders to discuss the current barriers and emerging opportunities associated with the adoption of technology in K-12 education. The event was co-sponsored by the Stanford Graduate School of Business Center for Social Innovation and the Stanford University School of Education.

"Technology in K-12 education can transform the teaching and learning experience in our country and improve the opportunity to learn," said U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who has supported the work of the LEAD Commission since its inception. "Thoughtful collaboration is a great way to spread the advantages of learning technology as widely as possible."

After conducting months of research and hosting interviews with a cross-section of players in the space, the LEAD Commission identified ten barriers slowing the adoption of technology in schools, including a lack of best practices, limited research into the use and impact of technology on teaching and learning, and an insufficient level of Internet access and devices in schools. In response, the LEAD Commission has started to develop proposed solutions to these barriers with the ultimate goal of improving access to technology in the classroom nationwide. 

 “From providing individualized learning to improving teacher effectiveness, it is clear that there are tremendous benefits associated with an increased presence of technology in the classroom for students and teachers alike,” said LEAD Commissioner and Co-Founder of TPG Capital Jim Coulter. “It is imperative to have the cooperation of industry leaders and experts with this endeavor in order to work toward creating a more effective learning experience for our children.”

During the event, Symposium participants played an active role in shaping the solutions to the ten barriers during a series of workshops. Several schools and solution providers, including Coursera, LearnZillion, Knewton, Mooresville Graded School District and Education SuperHighway, presented their innovative contributions in the education technology space at the event. This collaborative effort is designed to bring together like-minded individuals to work out strategic plans aimed at advancing the digital learning movement.

“There is no secret that digital learning is emerging in K-12 classrooms throughout the country,” said LEAD Commissioner Jim Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense Media. “By working together with a diverse array of experts and leaders nationwide, we hope to identify a path forward to provide even more access to technology for students and teachers.”

On Monday, the LEAD Commission launched a new website that showcases the current uses of technology in education, further outlines the barriers that slow technology adoption in the classroom and highlights innovators and best practices in the education technology space. In November, the LEAD Commission will report its final findings and recommendations. Please visit http://www.leadcommission.org/ for more information.

 “Private sector innovators are paving the path to advance the digital learning movement,” said LEAD Commissioner and Former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. “We must move faster and do more to break down these barriers to spur innovation in our schools and improve student achievement.”

The event will conclude with a conversation about the future of digital learning with Secretary Duncan and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski. The discussion will be facilitated by Betsy Corcoran, the co-founder and CEO of EdSurge, a leading news and information source on education technology. 

“The LEAD Commission has answered a vital national call, and I’m confident the final report will be a monumental step forward in our work to make sure all of our children have the skills they need to succeed in the digital age,” said Genachowski, a supporter of the LEAD Commission’s work. “My challenge is this: let’s remove Internet bandwidth as a constraint on education and innovation in our nation’s schools.  Let’s commit to pursuing the bold ideas necessary to ensure that every American school has the wired and wireless broadband it needs.”

The event comes one day after the LEAD Commission released national poll results that found that the majority of parents and teachers of K-12 students support a greater use of technology in education. Visit http://bit.ly/NWs44H to learn more about the poll findings.

“These poll results powerfully show that America's parents and educators understand that closing the technology gap can have a critical impact on teaching and learning in our modern, global society,” said LEAD Commissioner Lee Bollinger, the President of Columbia University. “Our mission is to determine what kinds of educational technologies are most effective and how to make them available to every teacher and student in our nation's schools."


About LEAD Commission

Answering a challenge from the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Education, the Leading Education by Advancing Digital (LEAD) Commission was established to determine how technology can help transform education in America. The Commission will do this through analyzing the ways in which technology is currently being implemented, determining which barriers are inhibiting greater usage and recommending specific actions to accelerate adoption. The Commission is co-chaired by Lee Bollinger (President of Columbia University), Jim Coulter (Co-Founder of TPG Capital), Margaret Spellings (Former Secretary of Education) and Jim Steyer (Founder and CEO of Common Sense Media).

About Stanford Graduate School of Business Center for Social Innovation

The Center for Social Innovation cultivates leaders to solve the world’s toughest social and environmental problems. Center participants are prepared to apply their management education in innovative ways that create positive social value, such as helping corporations improve their sustainable practices or launching social enterprises that bring life-changing solutions, such as loans to small businesses and safe lighting to the world’s poorest places. The center provides research, education, and experiential programs that reach across the business, nonprofit, and government worlds. The center promotes development of innovative solutions to build a more just, sustainable, and prosperous world.

About Stanford University School of Education 

Aiming towards the ideal of enabling all people to achieve maximum benefit from their educational experiences, the Stanford University School of Education seeks to continue as a world leader in ground-breaking, cross-disciplinary inquiries that shape educational practices, their conceptual underpinnings, and the professions that serve the enterprise.  The School also seeks to develop the knowledge, wisdom, and imagination of its students to enable them to take leadership positions in efforts to improve the quality of education around the globe.