The Next Chapter by George Lucas

George Lucas on revving up for the future of Edutopia by supporting a Web-only platform with a strong community component.

George Lucas on revving up for the future of Edutopia by supporting a Web-only platform with a strong community component.

Back in the 1980s, I could see through my own work in filmmaking that the advent of digital technology was going to completely revolutionize the educational system. Whether the system welcomed it or not, technology -- and the classroom practices it enables -- were destined to spread new thinking and new solutions throughout our schools. While it has taken decades, the change, with all its untold implications for the future, was just a matter of time.

Our focus, as a Foundation, has been to show the most exciting classrooms with the most far-reaching innovations -- such as project learning, student teams working cooperatively, children connecting with passionate experts, parental involvement, and broader forms of assessment. By shining the spotlight on inspiring teachers and successful students, we hope others, including administrators, parents, and colleges of education, will redouble their efforts to implement the reforms that are so sorely needed.

We started to use the Web back in 1994 to share our stories on Edutopia.org. But, of course, video delivery was a challenge. So we produced companion VHS cassettes, then CDs, and then moved on to DVDs.

Since its launch in September of 2004, Edutopia magazine has been a valuable part of our media strategy. Every issue has been full of provocative articles and eye-catching design that reveal the new world of learning. The magazine covered our core concepts, such as teacher development and technology integration, and related topics like modern school designs and the many aspects of community involvement. We also produced "beyond the classroom" articles and departments about travel, history, science, and health. Because educators are a well-educated readership, we wanted to serve your own appetites for learning.

The magazine garnered numerous awards. And we heard from you, our readers in the U.S. and abroad, about how it provided hope and inspiration in a world of education that often focuses on faults and failures at the expense of progress and success. In surveys over the years, Edutopia magazine has always been rated highly by its audience and demonstrated the positive impact of connecting readers to our Web site and other related links for deeper reporting and analysis.

Publishing trends and media habits have shifted dramatically during the past five years. It is now clear that the future of publishing is on the Internet, where articles can be combined with films, interviews, interactive polls, live webinars, and more extensive archives of content than is possible within the pages of a magazine. Our Web site enables us to share stories of educational innovators any time you need them, as often as you need them. We work to update our schools coverage in keeping with 21st-century expectations, using the nimble format of the Web to be as specific and detailed as possible about practices that work. Importantly, the Internet enables not only the "one to many" distribution of our media but also the "many to many" interactivity of online communities whose members share their own ideas and resources.

Our Edutopia.org community launched late last year and is showing impressive growth as innovative educators meet and exchange ideas and experiences related to Edutopia content and your own topics of interest. Though our magazine has been sent to 100,000 readers six times a year, the Edutopia.org Web site now reaches about 300,000 users each month, allowing us to serve a much greater audience, more frequently, with more types of media.

For these reasons, the April/May issue of Edutopia magazine will be our final issue. I am excited about the possibilities ahead as we continue to publish "what works in public education" online. In the coming year, we plan on making a number of improvements to our Web experience, including expanded coverage of our recently launched Schools that Work series, improved navigation, and new ways for all of you to continue to create and contribute strategies for success. We are also shifting our membership program to a free, open Internet model. With the efficiencies of online delivery, we can better provide access for all who are seeking solutions.

I salute our talented editorial and design team; our many writers, photographers, and illustrators; our roster of companies who supported the magazine; and most of all, you, our readers. I hope you will continue to log on to our Web site at Edutopia.org and subscribe to our weekly online newsletter for the types of articles you've enjoyed in this magazine as well as deeper multimedia content, such as our documentary videos.

Thank you for your loyalty as an Edutopia magazine reader and supporter. We look forward to seeing you online.

George Lucas

By George Lucas
Chairman, The George Lucas Educational Foundation




This article originally published on 2/18/2010

see more see less

Comments (12)

Comment RSS
life long learner

print vs digital

Was this helpful?
0

Yes, print is more costly, but had/s the advantage of being near me, also i can refer to whenever i wish to, plus my pens or markers can highlight and/or add my personal thoughts on well written articles.
i alos begin to worry that being totally with it and using only digital, w our progeny will lose the art of writing with a biro or fountain pen.

executive director @ Edutopia and mom of 2 kids

Thanks for the question,

Was this helpful?
0

Thanks for the question, Nathan. We're seeing a growing number of Edutopia users access our content through handheld devices such as iPads. As a matter of fact, since the shift to focus on Internet-first earlier this year, our audience has doubled.

At the Foundation, we're embracing a production model that strives for content to be accessible on multiple platforms as we want to meet the audience wherever they are. (Some people in the digital media industry describe this strategy as "Create Once, Play Everywhere" or COPE).

While our approach won't deliver the magazine-esque style that you enjoy from some of the other players (who have more resources and/or a print-centric model), we do hope that you'll still find Edutopia is a relevant and useful service and community for information about innovation in education.

Thanks!

Quote:

What about delivering by subscription on the iPad like Wired, National Geographic, and many others are starting to do? I would buy it to have access in an offline magazine-esque context. Plus, you could still look at grabbing the ad revenue that is transitioning to digital, allow for 21st century interactivity, etc.

iPad Delivery...?

Was this helpful?
0

What about delivering by subscription on the iPad like Wired, National Geographic, and many others are starting to do? I would buy it to have access in an offline magazine-esque context. Plus, you could still look at grabbing the ad revenue that is transitioning to digital, allow for 21st century interactivity, etc.

executive director @ Edutopia and mom of 2 kids

Hi Theresa, You can pull up

Was this helpful?
0

Hi Theresa, You can pull up Edutopia.org resources on handheld devices that support browsers (such as the iPad). Your Kindle suggestion is a great idea for our special, quarterly PDF reports -- we'll explore the possibility. Thanks for the suggestion!

Quote:

Can I get the digital mag on Kindle? My desktop tends to be a bit cumbersome to lug around with me...

Science/Math Teacher

Kindle option

Was this helpful?
0

Can I get the digital mag on Kindle? My desktop tends to be a bit cumbersome to lug around with me...

executive director @ Edutopia and mom of 2 kids

Paper Subscriptions

Was this helpful?
0

Hi Chelle,

Thanks for your feedback and suggestion. We appreciate hearing from you. Unfortunately, there were a growing number of challenges publishing Edutopia as a print magazine, especially with the costs of print and distribution rising, and our readers and advertisers moving online. We explored many options including memberships/subscriptions for a print magazine but we were not able to make the financial model work. Plus, it was increasingly clear that we could reach a greater number of our audience more effectively with content on-demand plus providing new ways for the audience to connect with one another.

Thanks again for sharing your concerns -- I hope you'll find ways to use our online resources for some of your efforts.

Thanks, Cindy

Quote:

I carry this magazine everywhere and share it with teachers and parents. It gives me great information and tools during staff meetings, grant writing, and goal setting. How about optional paper subscriptions??? :) chelle-administrator

missing the magazine

Was this helpful?
0

I carry this magazine everywhere and share it with teachers and parents. It gives me great information and tools during staff meetings, grant writing, and goal setting. How about optional paper subscriptions??? :) chelle-administrator

I do understand Lynne's

Was this helpful?
0

I do understand Lynne's comment about having a magazine to carry with her from place to place. However, I guess it is a sign of the times. Best of luck with the online format.

Teacher Agent of Change, Power of US Foundation

Digital Generation

Was this helpful?
0

The project is so real and such a way of understanding, I carry it around in my purse,
the story of Luis brings tears to some people. Each location may have a different youth story,
The gamer video, haven't shown it enough to remember the student's name, how wonderful.
Now if we can just share this with more teachers to help them change practice and see the future.

Bonnie Bracey Sutton

Teacher Agent of Change, Power of US Foundation

Broadband is a problem

Was this helpful?
0

I know the magazine was a costly expense. Still there are deep pockets in education where there simply is not access. But I work in the areas of need. Perhaps this move will move people to help create the broadband access that we, on the National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council thought was going to be implemented back in 1995. I have had the amazing journey from Supercomputing in Portland to dial up in Olympia, and nothing in the Tinglit village that I was working in but GPS and my Mac.

Progress is important and we have to move on

Those of us without the connectivity , the people without, may be spurred to create the change to bring them into the community

Bonnie Bracey Sutton

see more see less