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National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies

It actually happened.  The National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies has been signed into law.   Read about it here!   This is pretty incredible.  The indefatigible actists at Digital Promise have been working on this since 1998 or even earlier.  There's a lesson here about never giving up on a great idea.  Our congratulations and our hopes for a great new beginning. 


The National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies 


The National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies is part of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act(section 802) approved by Congress on July 31, 2008, and signed intolaw by President Bush on August 14, 2008. The National Center will beorganized as a Congressionally originated 501(c)(3) nonprofitcorporation located within the Department of Education. Supporters areseeking a $50 million appropriation for the National Center for FY2009.   

Purpose: The National Center for Research inAdvanced Information and Digital Technologies will support acomprehensive research and development program to explore ways advancedcomputer and communication technologies can improve all levels oflearning.  This includes K-12, college and university, corporate andgovernment training, and both formal and informal learning. 

Specific activities will include:
?    Research, development and demonstrations of learning technologiesthat could include simulations, games, virtual worlds, intelligenttutors, performance-based assessments, and innovative approaches topedagogy that these tools can implement.
?    Design and testing of components needed to build prototypesystems.  This could include tools for answering questions, forbuilding and evaluating the construction of simulations and virtualworlds that could include sophisticated physical and biological systemsor reconstructions of ancient cities brought to life with intelligentavatars (models of humans in virtual spaces).
?    Research to determine how these new systems can best be used tobuild interest and expertise in learners of different ages andbackgrounds.  This will give educators, parents, employers, andlearners the information they need to make informed choices.

It has been difficult for private developers to make the significant,sustained investment in research needed to address these critical butdifficult issues.  The National Center will fill this critical gap infunding ?pre competitive? research that will provide informationcritical for groups building commercial products.

Management:  The National Center will not be anagency of the federal government but an independent, nonprofitorganization with its own Board of Directors. 
?    The initial Board members will be appointed by the Secretary ofEducation from recommendations received from Republican and Democraticleaders in the House of Representatives and the Senate.  The Board willsubsequently elect its own members based on advice received from thepublic.
?    The National Center can receive funding from any federal agency,from private organizations (not including funding from outside theU.S.). 
?    The bill authorizes expenditure of funding from the Department ofEducation but the funding levels will be determined by theappropriations committees.  $50 million is being requested for FiscalYear 2009.
?    Under the direction of the Board, the National Center?s staff willdevelop a research plan and ask for competitive proposals.  Theresearch will be selected by a peer review process.  Proposals can comefrom colleges and universities, other non-profit organizations, andcorporate research organizations.  Collaborative proposals that combinethe research strengths of several organizations are allowed and may beencouraged.
?    All material resulting from the research will quickly be madefreely and nonexclusively available to the public.  This provision maybe waved if the National Center?s director and a unanimous vote of theBoard determine that some restrictions on free and nonexclusiveavailability would result in significant public benefits.

Click HERE for the news release on the new National Center.


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