Last updated: 07.02.14

Obama highlights importance of digital learning

It was none other than the President of the United States highlighting the significant role that digital learning has to play in 21st century society this week. On Tuesday, Mr Obama focussed on the impact that technology has had on education during his State of the Union address.

During the address - in which the president outlines his key legislative priorities for the year ahead - he spoke about the ConnectED initiative, an umbrella initiative encouraging companies to participate in efforts to ensure that every student in the US has access to high-speed broadband internet. 

The scheme also encourages the provision to schools and businesses with easy methods of controlling learning within their organisations and sharing this wisdom as effectively as possible.

Mr Obama was particularly praise-worthy of technology giant Apple, one of the companies involved with the initiative, which will be carried out over the next four years.

Following the speech, he again mentioned the importance of digital learning during an interview at a school in Maryland, also alluding to the impact that technology has had on him personally - the president is known to be a heavy iPad user. 

By using internet-connected devices such as these, educators can ensure that a much wider number of people have access to these resources. There's also much more flexibility, both in terms of geography and time, as learning can be done from any web-connected location at any time around the clock.

Responding to the mention from President Obama, Apple expressed the belief that such initiatives are vital to improved education in the future.

"We are proud to join President Obama in this historic initiative to transform America's schools," the company said. "Apple has a long history in education and we have pledged to contribute MacBooks, iPads, software and our expertise to support the ConnectED project. We look forward to announcing more details… soon."

It's not just in the US that increased emphasis is being placed on digital learning. In the UK, a number of regional schemes are underway with similar goals, including the 'Encouraging Programming in Kent' programme, which is currently attempting to collect unwanted and disused laptops to provide youngsters with IT experience.