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LEARNER AT THE CENTER OF A NETWORKED WORLD: Aspen Institute Task Force on Learning and the Internet Offers New Vision of Learning and Recommendations for How to Create It

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“Education in America should be organized around the principle that what students know is more important than where they go. We need to ensure students have access to new education models that combine the best of classroom and online learning,” said Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida and chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education.

On June 17, the Aspen Institute Task Force on Learning and the Internet released Learner at the Center of a Networked World, a new report with recommendations for ensuring that students are at the center of, and have access to, safe learning inside and outside of the classroom. To meet this goal, however, the nation must resolve “serious” issues of trust, safety, privacy, literacy, and equity of access.

“Education in America should be organized around the principle that what students know is more important than where they go. We need to ensure students have access to new education models that combine the best of classroom and online learning,” said Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida and chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, who served as the taskforce’s honorary cochair with actress and cofounder of Voto Latino Rosario Dawson. “It is incumbent on us to provide them with the skills necessary to thrive while empowering them to learn at their own pace and in their own way. Learning should be the constant and time the variable. This report can serve as a catalyst to deliver on the promise of a high-quality and customized education for all students.”

The six recommendations for creating the new vision of learning laid out in the report include

  • redesigning learning environments to empower learners to learn at any time, in any place, and at any pace, both in school and beyond;
  • enhancing the ability of educators to support and guide learners in a networked learning environment;
  • building an infrastructure that will connect all students in all of the places they learn;
  • making sure all learning networks are interoperable or have the ability to share information and data;
  • adopting policies to ensure children are taught basic skills—or digital literacies—for living and learning in the digital age; and
  • creating trusted learning environments for children to keep them safe.

Accompanying the recommendations are twenty-six action steps that identify which entity or entities among government, parents, educators, school districts and leaders, students, foundations, nonprofits, and businesses that are most suited to the specific action.

The taskforce is composed of twenty individuals representing the fields of technology, public policy, education, business, privacy, and safety. More information about the report and the taskforce is available at http://csreports.aspeninstitute.org/Task-Force-on-Learning-and-the-Internet/2014/report.

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