Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) on Monday announced its Simon Initiative, which will publicly launch the world's largest student learning database to determine best practices and standards for the use of technology in the classroom. The university is forming a council of higher education leaders, education technology experts, and industry representatives to guide the initiative. The effort will build on the work of the Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center and its research partners, as well as the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation, says CMU president Subra Suresh. The Simon Initiative has four main goals, which are to share rich data worldwide, assist teachers with teaching, speed innovation through startup companies, and improve residential students' educational experience. "Now is the right time to bring all this together in a new and unique way, and also tie it to developments all around the world," Suresh says. The Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center has gathered more than 500,000 hours of student data and studies on technology-enhanced courses, and wants to enable global researchers to contribute their own data and help create a common format that will improve data usability for scholars in all disciplines. "Advances in learning science and technology offer transformative potential in education and training nationwide," says U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.