The Obama administration on Wednesday is staging a self-described "datapalooza" meant to tout what it sees as innovative uses of data—particularly public data—to help families make decisions about college and how to pay for it.
White House and U.S. Department of Education officials hosting the event say the forum will highlight ideas put forward by entrepreneurs and tech leaders who are developing tools that can drive down costs in the postsecondary arena.
[Update: The event, scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m., is being livestreamed.]
While the event is focused on higher education, many of the issues are probably relevant to audiences interested in the role of digital tools and entrepreneurship on the K-12 level. Two topics up for discussion, in particular, would seem to resonate among the pre-college crowd:
- The potential for apps, websites, and other tools to help students and families—in this case, to help them make decisions about choosing college and covering the costs; and
- Efforts to use technology to increase the quality of teaching in both online and hybrid formats—an approach that, depending on the context, is often called "blended learning" in K-12. The White House forum will explore the potential of those strategies to control costs.
Scheduled speakers will include Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, Cecilia Muñoz; and U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer Nick Sinai.
In announcing the event, administration officials cited Obama's decision to increase public access to government data in a number of sectors, including health care, energy, and education.