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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

A New Day for Learning: How to Cultivate Full-Time Learners -- Keep the discussion going!

Thank you to all who joined us during our lively webinar about full-time-learning opportunities from our A New Day for Learning initiative. We hope you walked away from it with ideas and inspiration to bring the very best to your classroom, your school district, or your community.

As is often the case, the number of questions from our community far exceeded our allotted time. We've put together the following resources to help you get the most out of our Edutopia webinars:

  • View the archive: You can now view the complete archive of the webinar. You can also download it to your mobile device through iTunes U.

  • Join the discussion: If you had a question we didn't get to during the webinar, ask the experts and your fellow Edutopia readers at large. Milton Chen and other Edutopia staff will check back often, too, so please continue the lively discussion below.
  • Let us know how we did: We want our members to get as much value as possible from our resources at Edutopia, so please share your feedback from the webinar by emailing membership@edutopia.org.

About the Panelists

Milton Chen

Milton Chen, PhD, has been a leading figure in educational media for more than 20 years. He joined The George Lucas Educational Foundation as executive director in 1998, bringing new leadership to its mission of gathering and disseminating the most innovative models of K-12 teaching and learning in the digital age.

Hillary Salmons

As executive director of the Providence After School Alliance, Hillary Salmons manages oversight of PASA and its three strategies. She also has primary responsibility for community engagement and fundraising efforts. Salmons joined the Education Partnership in July 2003 and subsequently launched the Rhode Island Scholars initiative in four school districts throughout the state.

Karen Dvornich

Dvornich is cofounder and national director of the NatureMapping program and outreach coordinator for the University of Washington's Washington Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. In 2005, she began working with organizations involved in informal science education to create a network of NatureMapping centers throughout the United States that educate and support schools and communities in conservation planning and field-research projects while providing credible data to the NatureMapping database.

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

Bill Betzen's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I would welcome the comments of your panel on our School Archive Project. Our goals are to motivate middle school students to graduate high school, most of whom have not been graduating in our urban area for the past 12 years, and hopefully to achieve the ultimate goal of encouraging full-time learners.

We started a time-capsule and 10-year class reunion project at our Dallas inner city middle school 4 years ago. A 350-pound vault was bolted to the floor in our middle school lobby and placed under spotlights. New students may ask questions about this strange item in a school lobby. They are told it holds letters eighth graders write to themselves before leaving for high school, letters they get back when they return for their 10-year class reunion. They know that at that reunion they will be invited to speak with the then current eighth graders about their recommendations for success.

The project appears to help our students think significantly more often about their own futures. They are warned that when they return to speak to the then current 8th graders that they may be asked questions such as "Would you do anything differently if you were 13 again?"

The increased focus on the future seems to have positive results. The project is popular with students and teachers. It is believed that our Archive Project has contributed to a 40% reduction in the attrition rate between the 9th and 10th grade that has happened over the past 4 years at the two high schools most of our students attend. (See more details at www.studentmotivation.org.)

It is certain that student/teacher relationships change when middle school teachers and their students can now talk about how good it will be to see each other again in 10 years.

Is there a future for projects with elements such as those in our Archive Project in reinforcing life-long learning?

guy zaczek's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

If you want to invent an airplane you can't hire an aviation engineer to start the project. The Wright brothers (and a sister too) knew that innovation, tenacity and creativity would someday find a solution to the challenges of flight. These fundamental attributes are not nurtured today however. It goes without saying, "that we better start soon".

So here are the credentials you asked for. I am a full time faculty member at a State University or New York (SUNY) community college. I have taught credit classes but now teach in a division that was once called "Lifelong Learning". Today I travel to companies such as Eastman Kodak, Moog, DuPont and West Point to conduct training.

These employees know they are part of a progressive US workforce that expects lifelong learning just as much as they expect a paycheck. In this environment the teacher normally learns more than he/she is teaching. The class, the factory, company data or even a first person stories told become an environment of "Edutainment" where the mood and interest of the class are just as important as the syllabus and assessment measures.

Let me personally congratulate everyone who is part of the George Lucas Educational Foundation who enjoys "Edutainment". Thank you to teachers who challenge both the class and themselves publicly. I send high praise to those practitioners who know real world practice beets study. And finally stand up and take a high five, atta-boy, SHOUT for those of you who understand teaching is more a continuous practicing art, than a long ago learned profession.

Joan McCoo's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I teach Business Venture to 8th graders. My challenge is getting the students motivated to participate since failing this class does not affect their passing to high school. This class is not really an elective because at this stage students do not get to "elect" their courses. I have so many students tell me that this class does not matter and they do nothing in their physical education courses and still pass. I take my job very seriously and do a lot of research on my own to enrich the experiences of my students. How can I overcome this mentality?

Jan G. Annino's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

How & why do children respond when the most engaging & lyrical picture books are read to them in the youngest grades?
What are some of the catalytic ways that as children mature, we can keep them engaged with reading materials?

Thanks for Edutopia.

Jan Godown Annino

Susan W. Adams's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

We give so much to learners from K-12 and our program at the YMCA Adult Education Center reaches out to International students who have arrived in Philadelphia, ranging in abilities from not literate in their own native languages to students with foreign diplomas in fiels ranging from medicine to technology. I hope that Edutopia will devote more time to the adult learners who come to us having burned out in the public school systems or who have adopted both a new country and a new city and are looking for the passport to a new life here.

Milton Chen's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Staff comment:

that's a good point and I hope our webinar can address how a larger community-based school concept can provide opportunities for adult learners, to create a community of learners, where adults can bring their life experiences into the lives of young people and continue their own learning, as well. The Children's Aid Society story from New York shows this.

Milton Chen

Milton Chen, Executive Director, GLEF's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Staff comment:

this is a very interesting project, I like projects that tell students early that they are capable of going to college and show them a path to get there. One statistic is that college graduates outearn high school graduates by $1 million over their lifetimes. There is a project in Seattle, Rainier Scholars, that works with 4th graders after school and summers, expands their learning opportunities and time and tells them at 8 years old that they will need to learn for 10 years in order to go to college.

Tell us some more about how the letter-writing works, have you been able to talk with the students as they are progressing thru HS.

Nancy Barth's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

This is the third year that I am mentoring an after school Video Production Club for students in grades 5 through 8. The club has been run as a student motivated exploration of visual media. They may write and produce videos, animated shorts, slideshows and explore MIT's Scratch. I am available to help them if they run into a problem. Students do need to write scripts IF they are going to make a movie. My problem is that students prefer to use this time to socialize rather than explore various applications in a creative way. I would like to get some advice on how to run such a program and get better results.

I have tried motivating them by showing their work at Family Movie Night. I have had them view SAG's website stories online and have had them form teams to read and animate books from our school library so that younger children would be able to borrow DVDs of these books to read along with the video. I have even suggested that they do a dance lesson video. Any guidance would be much appreciated.

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