Aspen Institute Launches Task Force on Learning and the Internet

Multi-stakeholder conversation will analyze what's working, what needs improvement and how to ensure educational opportunities of the web are optimized for safety and learning; Task Force will release report findings in 2014

Jun 10, 2013, 08:00 ET from The Aspen Institute

WASHINGTON, June 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Aspen Institute today announced the launch of the Aspen Institute Task Force on Learning and the Internet, a forum to understand better what is working, what needs improvement and how to ensure that online learning experiences are optimized for safety and innovation. Supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the new initiative is part of the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program portfolio. The Task Force on Learning and the Internet is comprised of 20 thought leaders with diverse perspectives in learning, innovation, and safety. Former Governor Jeb Bush, co-chair of the Digital Learning Council, and Rosario Dawson, actress and co-founder of Voto Latino, are honorary co-chairs of the Task Force. (For more information, please visit:

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"We're excited to launch the Task Force to help jump start a national conversation about the relationship between learning and the web," said Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute. "We need to understand what we can do as parents, policy makers and professionals to ensure that our kids have every opportunity to succeed in the digital age."

The online world is rapidly becoming a hub for civic engagement and life-long learning. Youth and adults create, remix and collaborate in a free-flow give and take of ideas and information wherever they learn. These exchanges help build the foundation for a life-long interest in learning and mastery of the skills necessary for success in school, the workplace and the community. This learning requires the open and safe exchange of information.  However, the free exchange of information online that is so crucial to the future of American educational and economic success poses multiple concerns that challenge children, parents, businesses and policy makers alike.

"Digital learning is the catalyst to ensuring students have the personalized education needed to be ready for college and careers. The Task Force on Learning and the Internet hopes to ignite a discussion around best practices that parents, government officials, and businesses can use to help a generation of connected learners safely engage with innovative tools, resources, and services on the web," said Jeb Bush, Former Governor of Florida.

Task Force members will meet over the course of a year to discuss issues surrounding safety, learning, innovation and the Internet. They will also participate in online public conversations to ensure diverse ideas and comments are included as part of their discussions. The Task Force will also launch an online resource library that will highlight important research and other resources. Members will discuss experiences and viewpoints, analyze extensive research, review public input and develop recommendations that will advance healthy online experiences so young people can easily make smart and responsible choices on the Internet. The Task Force will release a report with their findings in 2014.

"The Internet has the potential to optimize learning for all ages and all walks of life. No matter where you are or where you come from, the Internet offers a window on the world. This task force is designed to make sure we unleash the potential of the Internet safely and examine the critical issues as we move the conversation forward," said Rosario Dawson.  

The Internet is changing the way people learn, play, socialize, and participate in their own communities. "We live in a world that is highly networked, technologically-enabled and producing new knowledge at a pace not known to previous generations.  The work by the esteemed members of this Task Force is critical to ensuring that the web is a safe and engaging place for the kind of learning that youth need to thrive in the workforce of tomorrow," said Connie Yowell, Director of Education at the MacArthur Foundation.

The 20-Member Aspen Institute Task Force on Internet and Learning

  • Jeb Bush, Former Governor of Florida, Task Force Honorary Co-Chair
  • Rosario Dawson, Actress and Co-Founder, Voto Latino, Honorary Co-Chair
  • John Bailey, Executive Director, Digital Learning Now!, Task Force Co-Chair
  • Maria Teresa Kumar, President and CEO, Voto Latino, Task Force Co-Chair
  • Meredith Baker, Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs, Comcast-NBC Universal; former FCC Commissioner; former head of NTIA
  • John Seely Brown, Independent Co-Chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge
  • Cathy Casserly, CEO, Creative Commons
  • Anne Collier, Founder and Executive Director, Net Family News, Inc. and Co-Director,
  • Wanda Cook-Robinson, Superintendent, Southfield Public Schools, Michigan
  • Anil Dash, Co-Founder, Activate and ThinkUP
  • Julius Genachowski, Aspen Institute Senior Fellow, Former FCC Chairman
  • Marne Levine, Vice President, Global Public Policy, Facebook
  • Brendon Lynch, Chief Privacy Officer, Microsoft
  • Alice Marwick, Assistant Professor, Communications and Media Studies, Fordham University
  • Bruce Mehlman, Partner, Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, Inc.
  • Susan Molinari, Vice President of Public Policy Americas, Google; former Member, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Delia Pompa, Senior Vice President of Programs, National Council of LaRaza
  • Mark Surman, Executive Director, Mozilla
  • Deborah Taylor Tate, ITU Special Envoy and Laureate for Child Online Protection (United Nations); former FCC Commissioner
  • Felton Thomas, Executive Director and CEO, Cleveland Public Library

The Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program,, addresses the societal impact of communications and information technologies, and provides a multi-disciplinary venue for considered judgment on communications policy issues.

The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society. More information is at

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, D.C.; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

SOURCE The Aspen Institute