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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Editor's Note: The Fight to Improve Public Education

Technology integration in our schools has definitely made a difference in the quality of public education. Now we need to keep up the momentum to reach all schools.
By Milton Chen, James Daly

Public education used to be dreary. Sit in rows, learn by rote, shuffle down the hall -- and do it again next year. No longer. Students and educators are at the beginning of a learning revolution as fundamentally important as the founding of our public-education system more than two centuries ago.

A new approach to learning has begun, born of the invigorating belief that students learn best when they are engaged and active participants in their own education, rather than passive recipients of facts and formulas.

Today, students use multiple tools and methods to conduct original research, prepare multimedia reports, and connect with others around the world. They're making presentations before city councils, designing new schools with local architects, and starting their own businesses.

These fundamental changes are fueled by evolving technologies, especially the Internet. Students can easily engage in online discussions with novelists, historians, even engineers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and gain access to the world's collections of art, music, and science.

It's not enough for today's students simply to memorize prepackaged information in textbooks in order to answer the multiple-choice tests at the back of their books. Now schools must produce powerful young thinkers capable of solving complex, real-world problems.

Unfortunately, fundamental changes have yet to occur in most schools. Public discourse about public education rarely reaches for the stars. Instead, it is mired in a mentality of bureaucracy, politics, jargon, and frustration.

Edutopia magazine strives to clear out these mental cobwebs and help create new methods of teaching and learning. Six times a year, we will profile the heroes of this movement, from governors and superintendents to business partners, researchers, teachers, parents, and students. We will tell the stories of their successes and how they got there, the mistakes they made, and the lessons they learned. We will give you the tools to make similar changes, and offer practical ideas and tips for educators to enrich their lives outside the classroom.

We hope you'll join us as we explore this new world of learning. The future depends on it.

Executive Director
Milton Chen




Editor in Chief
James Daly

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