Obama launches ‘Digital Promise’

The White House announced Friday the launch of "Digital Promise," a nonprofit initiative meant to bring more technology to classrooms.

Digital Promise will promote the development of new educational software and will help educators evaluate which products are actually effective, according to the administration.

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 One of its first projects will be to research the potential for "digital tutors" to help students learn math and other subjects.
The project is an independent nonprofit, but it was authorized by a 2008 law and will receive start-up funding from the Education Department and philanthropies. 

Digital Promise's board will be made up of leaders in education and technology who were appointed by Education Secretary Arne Duncan based on recommendations from Congress.

“Digital Promise is a unique partnership that will bring everyone together — educators, entrepreneurs and researchers — to use technology to help students learn and teachers teach," President Obama said in a statement. "There’s no silver bullet when it comes to education, but technology can be a powerful tool, and Digital Promise will help us make the most of it.” 

Secretary Duncan noted both Republicans and Democrats supported the creation of the nonprofit. 

"By harnessing the extraordinary work being done by educators, innovators and citizens across this country, Digital Promise can help prepare Americans — and America — to succeed in the 21st century,” Duncan said.

TechAmerica Foundation, the nonprofit arm of a tech industry lobbying firm, will assemble a commission to outline policy priorities for Digital Promise's first year. Other tech trade associations, the Information Technology Industry Council and the Software and Information Industry Association, will provide advice and technical expertise for the project. 

Along with Digital Promise, the White House announced the launch of other education technology initiatives Friday. Video game publisher Valve will run a competition for middle and high school students to create new levels for the popular puzzle game Portal 2.

Another project, the National STEM Video Game Challenge, aims to encourage students to become interested in science, technology, engineering and math by rewarding students who develop the best original video games.


— This post was updated at 12:02 p.m.