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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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A Look to the Future of Edutopia

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Today, we're announcing important strategic changes for Edutopia and The George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF).

Having just completed our biggest growth year to date, we have taken a step back to evaluate how Edutopia can best serve you - educators, parents and administrators - who are committed to bringing positive change to schools and districts everywhere. Much has changed since we launched Edutopia.org back in 1994. Then we were one of the first educational organizations to have a Web presence. In the ensuing 16 years, we have honed our mission to show what works in public education, creating our Web site, books, CDs, DVDs, and, since 2004, our award-winning Edutopia magazine.

Today, the Internet enables Edutopia to deliver deeper, more relevant stories, especially with video, about innovation in teaching and learning. New community and content-sharing tools make it possible for educators to find and exchange tips and solutions with each other whenever they wish. With the steady expansion of our online audience, we believe the time is right to shift our strategy to focus on Edutopia.org as the main, multimedia channel for all our content.

Consequently, the April/May issue of Edutopia magazine will be our last print issue. The future of Edutopia is now on the Internet. We will shift from a traditional membership organization to an open community, embracing a wider audience interested in innovation in K-12 education. All our tools and resources - including the popular Edutopia webinar series - will be free and universally accessible, thanks to support from foundations, advertisers and donors. While it has been a difficult decision to say goodbye to Edutopia as a print publication, we believe these changes will provide more of you the opportunity to interact, share ideas and add to the conversation for change. We also want to acknowledge the many dedicated, talented professionals who have contributed to making Edutopia magazine a distinctive leader in its field.

Our paid members will be able to donate their remaining magazine subscription balance to Edutopia and receive a gift of the Edutopia DVD series "Technology Integration 2" as an expression of thanks for your generous support and commitment. Or, for those who prefer, you will receive a refund. (We will send Edutopia paid members an email in the next two weeks with complete details and instructions.)

In addition to these new strategic directions, we're excited to announce an important leadership change. After 12 years serving as executive director of GLEF, Dr. Milton Chen will be assuming a new role as senior fellow and executive director emeritus. Cindy Johanson, who has served as chief operating officer since 2007, will become executive director.

Milton has led GLEF through an extraordinary period of success as the Foundation greatly expanded its editorial publishing efforts, illuminating success stories in K-12 schools and other innovative learning environments. For his leadership, his friendship and his unflagging devotion to the cause of reforming public education, we owe him a debt of gratitude. In his new role, Milton will continue to represent GLEF as senior fellow and executive director emeritus. He will carry on with his busy speaking schedule for external organizations and panels. He will advise members of GLEF's research initiative to validate project-based learning in high school curricula, and he will continue to consult with the Edutopia editorial staff. Not least, Milton will promote the Foundation's work in his new book, Education Nation, to be published this summer by Jossey-Bass, in which he describes seven "edges" of educational innovation with supporting examples of leading schools and districts from Edutopia.org.

GLEF is pleased and very fortunate to welcome Cindy to her new position as executive director. Before joining GLEF, Cindy was senior vice president of Interactive and Education at the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Since coming to GLEF, she has led a growth strategy for Edutopia, overseeing the development, operations, and management of the Foundation, resulting in a 117% increase in Internet traffic from 2007. Her new leadership and talents will be greatly valued as we continue to build Edutopia into a leading Internet source for what works in public education.

We are excited about the future. Edutopia's offerings in 2010 will include installments to our new "Schools That Work" bimonthly series of in-depth case studies of model schools and districts, daily updates to the Web site, online video packages, social media including Facebook and Twitter, live webinars, highlights in the weekly Edutopia e-newsletter, and improved Web site navigation and design.

Thank you all for your continued support and commitment to making positive changes in teaching and learning. We hope that you'll join us on this next step of our journey.

A message from George Lucas to our readers about the new strategic direction.

More information on paid membership and magazine changes.

Comments (18)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Alice Brooks's picture
Alice Brooks
Special education teacher from Georgia

I have a son who is 31 years old and has autism. He never learn to read during school. He did learn his alphabet and some of the sounds. It was just accepted that he would never learn and at 22 he was not allowed to continue in public school. Lately I have been trying to teach him to read. He seems to be learning some. However, today I read an article by Steve Miller and Paula Tallal that addressed literacy through neuroscience that stated that the "brain remains open to neuroplastic modification throughout life when education and neuroscience work together." With the use of advance technology the laboratory research can be individualized and as well as implemented for the classroom on a wide scale level. This sparked my interest in finding out how this research and technology is being used for the on going education of those with learning disabilities who have outgrown high school and not qualified to go to college because they can't read. I know that many are transitioned into the community after age 22 and often not expected to learn any more. However, this research shows that people can continue to learn as the brain is "continously modifiable." Too often individuals are placed in setting where they have no opportunity to continuing education and they are isolated from stimulating learning experiences because people have given up on them ever learning. My son has learned so much in life and I think he is ready to learn to read now. I just want some feedback or if anyone has any information on this research or similar research out there.

Betty Ray's picture
Betty Ray
Director of Programming and Innovation

Hi Alice -

Thank you for your question. I'd suggest you check out Edutopia's online groups for some answers. There isn't a group on neuroscience and learning (yet!) but there will be. Until then, you might check into the Special Ed group, as there are a lot of knowledgeable folks in that group who may have some resources for you.

If you have any follow up questions, I'm happy to help but, if you could post them in that group, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!

Betty Ray's picture
Betty Ray
Director of Programming and Innovation

P.S. I just came across this discussion, which may be of interest: Brain Research and Education

Michael Holmes's picture

I am a subscribing member of Edutopia. Since its inception I have looked forward each month to receiving the print copy of Edutopia. It is unfortunate that the foundation has elected to go virtual thus removing yet another quality hard copy resource from our world. I understand that financial restrictions may make maintaining a paper copy difficult. However, I would have rather seen an increase in subscription fees than the demise of your print version.

Candace's picture
Fourth grade science and social studies teacher

I am saddened that I just discovered this site and missed out on the magazine subscription. I am excited though that I have an online resource that can assist me in becoming a better teacher and increase academic success for my students.

Carolyn Kemmeries's picture

I think this decision to take the magazine to the internet exclusively is a wise one. And your decision to make webinars and magazine accessible to all without cost is most generous and timely. Education is suffering deep cuts and those cuts are impacting educators. Making this wealth of information available to all at no cost is a real gift to all of us.
Thank you,
Carolyn Kemmeries

Arlys Fillman's picture
Arlys Fillman
Elementary Administrator

Sorry to see the print version disappear. I don't like to sit in front of my computer at home and that is where I read. I read almost every article in the print version but am sure I will not online.

CrisisMaven's picture

Hi maybe you want to share this with your readersas an educational resource: By the way, I have just added a Reference List to my economics blog with economic data series, history, bibliographies etc. for students & researchers. Currently over 200 meta sources, it will in the next days grow to over a thousand. Check it out and if you miss something, feel free to leave a comment.

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