DARPA has invested in the development of an educational technology that could dramatically improve the quality of online learning.
The $1.1 billion program, called DARPA-funded STEM Education, was announced Monday.
The aim is to “develop the next generation of digital learning systems, technologies and technologies that are able to scale and adapt to new learning environments,” according to the agency’s website.DARPA’s goal is to develop a digital learning system that “provides the ability to interact with digital content and applications across a variety of platforms, in real time, on demand, in multiple user environments.”
The DARPA program has raised $5.4 billion from private investors, including the $1 billion that DARPA received from Google in 2014 for its Google Glass initiative.
That technology, which the company released earlier this year, allows users to interact in virtual environments with a virtual keyboard and mouse.
In an interview with Bloomberg in May, Google’s cofounder Sergey Brin said the technology could be used to help students “instructing themselves,” “develop vocabulary and acquire skills in the context of the real world.”
The technology has been criticized for being too expensive and for being difficult to use.
The Education Technologies Fund, a nonprofit group funded by Google, is trying to address the criticism, announcing in July that it would donate $1 million to the DARPA project.
“The challenge with the internet is it’s incredibly complicated,” said Michael McGovern, the group’s director of strategy and operations.
“And so with this, the DARPS and DARP program will be working together to develop this next generation platform.”
McGovern said the program will use a “digital education framework” to help teachers, teachers-in-training, students, and parents use the technology to help improve their online learning experiences.
It will also provide teachers with the tools to “create and teach personalized learning experiences that support the learner’s goals and interests,” McGovern said.
“We think the platform is going to help people in classrooms and schools across the country,” he added.
Darpa’s new STEM Education program is the latest in a string of DARPA investments in the online learning industry.
Earlier this year the agency also funded a startup that specializes in teaching kids how to use Google Glass.