A nonprofit corporation created to find new uses of information technology in education debuted on Monday.
Congress authorized the creation of the National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies in 2008. The New York Times reports that the center could be giving out grants by fall.
The center received $500,000 in funds from the Department of Education–far less than the $50-million that advocates requested when Congress authorized the center in 2008. The center also plans to solicit private funds.
Lawrence K. Grossman, former president of NBC News and PBS, and Newton N. Minow, former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, recommended a multibillion-dollar trust that would function as a “venture capital fund” to do research on learning technology in 2001, according to the Times.
The center was included in the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act and was endorsed by several higher-education associations. It wants to finance projects such as three-dimensional simulations of abstract concepts.
The Federation of American Scientists is excited about the new project, said Melanie Stegman, the group’s director of educational technologies.
“We think there’s a lot more to be learned on how to use technology in education most effectively,” she said. “We also think this center for research in education goes hand-in-hand with training teachers.”