Digital education is focus of OCPA symposium at History Center
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Published: 27-Jul-2011

This Friday (July 29), the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) will host a symposium on digital education, intended to “explore how technology is shaping modern education.” The program is being held at the Oklahoma History Center, immediately northeast of the state Capitol complex.

Organizers of the event, “Education in the Digital Age: Practices and Policies for Personalized Education,” say it will include “an in-depth discussion of digital learning and how it can improve education outcomes, an overview of how lawmakers can protect and foster digital learning, and a synopsis of how disruptive technologies are transforming the way students learn.”

Brandon Dutcher, OCPA’s vice president for policy, said in a statement provided to CapitolBeatOK, “The digital future has arrived. This isn’t the latest education-reform flavor of the month. What we’re seeing is a historic shift towards personalized learning, and this symposium will help parents and policymakers navigate these challenging waters.”

Scheduled speakers include J. Rufus Fears, Ph.D, professor of classics at the University of Oklahoma, who will deliver the keynote address at the luncheon (Noon-1:15 p.m.). 

Dr. Fears is one of the Sooner State’s most acclaimed scholars and teachers, and is the Dr. David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow for Freedom Enhancement at OCPA, Oklahoma’s leading free market “think tank.” The luncheon is sponsored by the Foundation for Educational Choice, a leading exponent of parental choice. The foundation was started by the late Milton Friedman, a leading economist and author. 

Two of the America’s best known advocates of education choice and other policy reforms will speak at the event. 

Andrew Coulson, director of the Center for Educational Freedom at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., has scheduled an address on “How Policy Can Foster and Protect the Digital Education Marketplace,” from 11:15-11:50 a.m. Dan Lips, senior fellow in education policy for Arizona’s Goldwater Institute, will consider, “K-12 Online Learning: Policy Reforms to Improve Learning Options in Oklahoma.” His comments are slated from 1:15-1:50 p.m. 

Major General Lee Baxter (ret.), an OCPA trustee and a member of both the state Board of Education and the CareerTech board, will welcome attendees at 10:30 a.m. 

Michael Horn, executive director of education at the Innosight Institute and author of “Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns” is the mid-morning (10:40-11:15 a.m. speaker. 

Representatives from several virtual schools and other providers of online education are slated to join the symposium discussions. A “Digital Learning Demonstration” is on tap for 2 p.m. Then, a panel of vendors, teachers, parents and students will close the day. 

The Oklahoma History Center is located at 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive in Oklahoma City, just east of the state Capitol building off 23rd Street. 

Registration for the event begins at 10 a.m. and the program is scheduled to last until 4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Lunch will be provided. 

For more information or to register for the event, contact Jennie Kleese at or telephone 405-602-1667.

Note: Editor Patrick B. McGuigan contributed to this report. 

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