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APPENDIX - Glossary and Engagement Process


This glossary is intended to provide readers with an understanding of the way the Task Force defines specific terminology used in the report. The terms are used among the numerous professions in this effort, and the glossary is an attempt to demonstrate exactly how the Task Force uses each term. It is by no means an exhaustive list or the only way to define the below terms.

Access: the basic requirement for participation in digital learning, consisting of having access to a broadband network, a capable hardware device and the appropriate software along with the ability to use them properly. In addition to having access in school, students need access at home and in public places to support anytime, anyplace learning.

Agency: the ability to learn through a process of exploration and discovery, and the capacity to express oneself effectively.

Competency based education: this education approach allows students to move at their own pace upon mastering concepts. Learning is fixed and time is variable. Models often include five principles: Students advance upon mastery; competencies include explicit, measurable, transferable learning objectives that empower students; assessment is meaningful and a positive learning experience for students; students receive timely, differentiated support based on their individual learning needs; learning outcomes emphasize competencies that include application and creation of knowledge, along with the development of important skills and dispositions.

Connected learning: an approach to learning that strives to connect and leverage all the various experiences, interests, communities and contexts in which learners participate in and out of school as potential learning opportunities.

Digital badges: an online representation of a skill that has been mastered or knowledge acquired. Badges can be created, defined by, and issued by a broad range of sources.

Digital disruption: the change that occurs when new digital technologies and business models affect the value proposition of existing goods and services.

Digital age literacies: the combination of media literacy, digital literacy and social-emotional literacies; the ability to effectively use a range of digital technologies.

Interoperability: the ability of systems and organizations to work together; in education, the ability for students to move freely across networks to pursue their learning objectives or for educational data to move across different networks.

Learning network: the combination of online and off-line infrastructure that can be mobilized by students to pursue their learning or organized by educators to support student education.

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC): an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials such as videos, readings and problem sets, MOOCs provide interactive user forums that help build a community for students, professors and teaching assistants.

Open Educational Resource (OER): ateaching, learning and research resource that resides in the public domain or has been released under an intellectual property license that permits free use and re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software and any other tools, materials or techniques used to support access to knowledge.

Seat time: the practice of promoting a student to the next grade only at the end of the current school year, regardless of when or whether they learned the necessary material.

Trusted environment: a technical and social framework that protects young people from harm while empowering them to explore, express themselves, pursue their interests and succeed in their education.

Whitewater learning: ability to acquire useful knowledge and skills while at the same time practicing them in an environment that is constantly evolving and presenting new challenges.


One of the core charges of the Aspen Task Force was to engage the broader public in the issues of the Internet and Learning. The Task Force wanted to hear not just from experts and practitioners, but also parents, students and teachers. To that end, the Task Force engaged in public conversations through social media by conducting several rounds of digital public outreach and asking targeted questions around the issues. It also hosted a focus group with youths, aged 11-15, from Cleveland public and private schools to hear their perspectives on safety, privacy and the uses of the Internet for learning.

As the Aspen Task Force developed its findings and recommendations, it gathered perspective and insight from education, educational technology, policy, industry and related communities. As part of its larger outreach process, the Task Force members heard from 60 leaders across education and youth groups, civil rights groups, businesses, think tanks, foundations, technology-related groups, digital media & learning (DML) groups, congressional committee offices and government administration offices. Students, parents, educators and administrators contributed ideas by participating in informal discussions providing feedback on the Task Force’s developing report. The Task Force members also reached out to their own networks and used their online library of approximately 90 resources to deepen their understanding of issues.

Organizations that Contributed Ideas
The Task Force invited leading organizations to participate in interviews for the purpose of gathering a variety of perspectives on issues discussed in the Task Force. Insight from the discussions informed members of the Task Force as they developed the report. None of the participating organizations officially endorsed or helped to craft any part of the report. Individuals from the following organizations participated in the interviews:

Afterschool Alliance
American Association of Community Colleges
American Association of School Administrators
American Federation of Teachers
American Library Association
Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Boys & Girls Club of America
Business Roundtable
Calvert County Public Schools of Maryland
Center for American Progress
Chicago Public Library
Chicago Public Schools
Common Sense Media
Consortium for School Networking
Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Council of Chief State School Officers
Council of Chief State School Officers Innovation Lab Network
Creative Commons
Data Quality Campaign
Digital Public Library of America
District of Columbia Public Schools
Educational Testing Service
Family Online Safety Institute
Girl Scouts of America
House Education & the Workforce, Majority
House Education & the Workforce, Minority
House Science, Space & Technology Committee, Majority
International Association for K-12 Learning Online
Knowledge Alliance
Leading Education by Advancing Digital Commission
Metropolitan High School of New York City
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
National Center for Learning Disabilities
National Education Association
National Parent Teacher Organization
National Summer Learning Association
National Writing Project
Para Los Niños of Los Angeles
Parents, District of Columbia Public Schools
Parents, Arlington Public Schools of Virginia
Partnership for Children & Youth
Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pension Committee, Majority
Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pension Committee, Minority
Smithsonian EdLab
Software & Information Industry Association
State Education Technology Directors Association
United States Department of Education
United States Federal Communications Commission
Torrington Public Schools of Connecticut
West Virginia Department of Education
Young Adult Library Services Association

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