Blog Post

VICTORY! Digital Promise Bill Passed By Both Houses of Congress


Break out the champagne! Digital Promise Passed by Both Houses of Congress.


HASTAC has been a supporter of Digital Promise since day 1. More importantly, HASTAC's very first grant was from Digital Promise. Read the story of this remarkable bill below. Wonderful news and congratulations to our good friends at Digital Promise. AMAZING: Happy Weekend Everyone!


Digital Promise Passed by Both Houses of Congress
President Expected to Sign it into Law!

On Thursday, July 31, 2008, Digital Promise was passed by both the House and Senate as part of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. It is expected to be signed into law by President Bush within days.

Congratulations to all members of the Digital Promise team and thank you to all of our loyal and enthusiastic supporters and coalition members! It could not have been done without you! And special thanks to those members of the Education Committees of the House and Senate whose leadership made the National Center happen: Representative John Yarmuth, of Louisville, Kentucky and Senators Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, and their dedicated staffs.

The new program is entitled the "National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies." It is a Congressionally originated 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation located within the Department of Education. It will have a nine-member independent Board of Directors appointed by the Secretary of Education from nominations by members of Congress. Grants and contracts will be awarded on merit, and policies will be developed following the tested procedures of NSF and NIH. Given its status as a non-profit, independent corporation, the Center will be able to receive grants, contracts, and philanthropic contributions, as well as federal appropriations. See the National Center section of the bill.

Our next challenge is to secure FY09 appropriations for the Center. Because of the delay in passing the Higher Education Act, it was not possible for appropriations of the, until now, unauthorized National Center to be included in the Labor, HHS or Education funding bills that were passed in Committee in June. It is widely expected that final appropriations for FY09 will not be enacted until early next year. We are working hard to have funding for the National Center included in final appropriations legislation. We are requesting $50 million for FY09.

Again, congratulations and thanks to all for our success in making the Digital Promise a reality!Sincerely,The Digital Promise Team



Hi Cathy--For some reason your email post doesn't take comments, but I had to tell you that I absolutely agree with everything you said there. In particular the part about hating the phone--my phone message basically tells people to send me an email if they really want to get in touch!


Liz D.

P.S. I think a session on Second Life at the HASTAC conference would be great.


Ok, Cathy, as a fellow phone-hater and multitasking media maven, I have to say, um..."disregard my last e-mail" querying about the 2008 vs. 2007 DML Competition, as my 8000+ inbox overwhelmed and put me in 'speed read' mode. (yes, I missed the little red subhead announcing the mid-Aug. opening call for entries)

Some days I literally want to declare e-mail bankruptcy and push 'delete' but I just CAN'T as I'm following stimulating conversations on a wide array of social media/readers/multi-tiered platforms and gizmos...So your "attentacon" conceptualization truly IS a 'killer app'...

I've been asking technology bigwigs how to auto-FILTER multi-media clips into Grazr style headlines funneled and sorted by media folder to even have half a chance at prioritizing, but frankly, your visual iconic approach trumps all. I'm in. Let's find some engineers and VC backers! ;-)

btw, as an "idea hamster," I spin my brain-wheel constantly, even in darkness and calm...the only thing that deadens my thoughts? Being boxed into linear systems of absolutes, duct-taped, reinforced and sealed off from reconfiguration. Ugh. Soul-eroding stuff...



Thanks for the alert that comments were closed on that entry. As I don't think that was Cathy's intent, I went ahead and opened comments over there.




Congratulations Digital Promise! Thank you for being a voice for students and teachers!!!


US to back 21st century learning

By Maggie Shiels

Technology reporter, BBC News Website, Silicon Valley

The US Congress has given the go-ahead for a new centre to explore ways
advanced computer and communications technologies can improve learning.

The National Center for
Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies will focus on
"bringing education into the 21st century."

Supporters said classrooms have failed to keep up with technology innovations.

"America's reputation as an international leader rests in the hands of our youth," said Sen. Chris Dodd.

"It should be among our top priorities to provide our students with the
tools they need to maintain and build upon this standing."

The Senator was one of the original sponsors of a bill
that proposed the setting up of the centre. Meanwhile Congressman John
Yarmuth of Kentucky spearheaded the passage of the bill through the
House and said its timing could not be more critical.

"American businesses know that they need a
well-educated workforce to face growing competition from China, India
and Europe."

The Federation of American Scientists said, "The
creativity that developed extraordinary new information technologies
has not focused on finding ways to make learning more compelling, more
personal and more productive in our nation's schools.

"People assumed that the explosion of innovation in information tools
in business and service industries would automatically move into

That, the Federation said, has simply not happened.

The centre will support a 'first of its kind' comprehensive research
and development programme aimed at improving all levels of learning
from kindergarten to university and from government training to

Missed opportunity

"Education is falling further and further behind the rest of the
economy and we have to rethink our basic approach to helping people
learn," said Henry Kelly, the Federation's president.

The FAS said that learning scientists and educators
have known for years that people learn faster if education can be
personalised and if students are motivated by seeing how their
knowledge can help them solve problems they care about.

Mr Kelly told the BBC that the new technologies the
business world and the commercial world use everyday can help "deliver
on this promise" but have so far failed to do so because the "vexing
demands of educational software has not been economically viable."

"Today's generation is very comfortable with using
tools like iPods and computers and gaming, but when they go into the
classroom none of that is there and there is this sense of an
opportunity we are just not grasping," explained Mr Kelly.

He said the centre will concentrate on understanding
how to use technology to help everyone learn in a more effective and
interesting way that makes that knowledge stick.

The centre will award grants for research on a series of questions it
will pose ranging from the "low hanging fruit variety" to deeper

These include questions like taking technology that
works well in an industry setting to the classroom and measuring its

At the other end of the spectrum, Mr. Kelly posed the
question, "If you could teach someone without limits or resources, how
would you go about it and how would you measure it?

"It's the kind of thing learning science people dared not think about because it seemed too expensive to tackle."

That should all now change, he said.