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US Agencies Designate less than $40 Million for Research on Civilian Education Technology

US Agencies Designate less than $40 Million for Research on Civilian Education Technology
01-29-2002

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A Survey of International Investment in Educational Technology Research and Development conducted by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) released today finds that the US designated approximately $200 million to educational technology research and development in FY2000. Less than $40 million was invested for non-military applications. The survey also found that US research programs are scattered across many different agencies with little coordination.

The US was one of eight governments (including the European Commission) to be included in the study, which was funded by the Spencer Foundation. While the European Commission of the European Union invests comparable levels of funding ($65 million), the programs are much better coordinated. Countries generally invest more heavily in demonstration and implementation projects, with little attention to how these projects could be best designed or whether they are effective.

The US spends over $900 billion a year on education and training and the worldwide investment is roughly $2 trillion. Worldwide investment in computers and communication services for education and training is $16 billion.

Despite the considerable public resources spent to acquire technology for educational institutions, and despite the extraordinary talents and dedication of the many teachers and software developers who have produced ingenious products that are already contributing to educational practices worldwide, “a considerable gap separates the educational technology now in use from the incredible potential offered by these technologies,” the report notes.

“This is an absurd situation,” Said Dr. Henry Kelly, President of FAS, “given that we are only using a fraction of the potential power of this new technology. Simulations that can be the basis of discovery-based learning, systems that adapt to each student, multi-dimensional measures of a student’s expertise are crucial for ensuring that no child is left behind and that adults have easy affordable access to learning services. But the opportunity can’t be captured without a sustained research investment many times larger than the amounts now being spent.”

“The survey is the first of its kind in documenting the diverse sources of investment for education research worldwide. It is an essential first step to strengthen and coordinate learning research programs around the world,” says Marianne Bakia, study director and Director of the Learning Technology Project at FAS.

To obtain copies of the report please contact FAS. Electronic copies of the report as well as additional resources related to educational technology research and development can be found at http://www.fas.org/learn/intl_rev/.

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