The Aspen Institute Task Force on Learning and the Internet has developed a bold, cross-sector, cross-partisan report that calls for rethinking learning systems that are currently too bound by time, place and old ways of doing business. We have entered an era of continual change. Our approaches to learning should reflect that.
The report shifts the traditional focus from one institution, the school, to a focus on the learner and all the places where the learner can advance academically and pursue his or her interests. Schools are one important node in a network that also includes libraries, museums, after-school institutions and the home. Our modern world is constantly becoming more networked, and learning should as well.
The report illustrates a new vision of learning that enables everyone to participate, to learn in their own style and to collaborate with others in doing so. To realize this vision, the report urges us to advance policies and practices that foster five essential principles: (1) Learning networks (2) Equity of access (3) Interoperability (4) Digital literacy (5) Learner safety, privacy and trust.
Written to be implementable, practical, and accessible, this report accompanies these essential principles with six recommendations and 26 specific action steps that the government, parents, educators, district leaders, students, foundations, non-profits and businesses can take to ensure that the learners of today are equipped to thrive in the 21st Century.