George Lucas Educational Foundation

The Edutopia Community Principles

The Edutopia Community Principles

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Our community is dedicated to connecting people who want to improve the learning process.

1) Why We're Here

We are teachers, administrators, policy makers, parents, technology staff, librarians, college students, and other educators who are committed to positive change in education. While we face many challenges in today's education system, we see even more opportunities. We look forward to helping each other innovate -- from large scale reform to day-to-day tips -- with clarity and integrity.


2) Permission to Innovate

Edutopia welcomes innovators in education. We invite ideas that seem wacky or risky or undoable, as well as those that are practical, proven, and within reach.


3) Productive and Constructive

Our approach to all problems is to be productive and constructive -- both in praise and in criticism. And, while we realize that innovating often feels like a Sisyphean task in the face of tighter budgets and industrial-age assessment requirements, we are committed to ensuring that the discourse maintains a standard of respect between all community members.


4) Interdependence

If the 21st century has taught us anything so far, it's that networks of like-minded people can move mountains. We are encouraged and inspired by these myriad opportunities for collaboration, and the ability to do so without geographical limits. The Edutopia community recognizes this interdependence as a requirement for any sort of success.


5) Transparency, Privacy, and Identity

With the advent of social media and ubiquitous Internet access, the social contract around privacy and identity is changing rapidly. What was once considered private info is often given freely in exchange for better service, additional information, or entertainment.


Each person brings his or her unique set of needs around privacy and identity (see our privacy policy). The Edutopia community values transparency to the extent it can promote discourse and constructive action without compromising the privacy of our members.

Thank you for taking time to review these principles. We welcome your comments.

Comments (28) Sign in or register to comment Subscribe to comments via RSS

sfernandes's picture

My name is Sergio, I live in Lisbon, Portugal and I'm studying Educational Sciences at the University of Lisbon.
And I happy to engage here and exchange experiences with others on education.
I believe that educators can influence the process of transformation of the individual, so I have dedicated my time to help young and adolescents to manage conflicts and living experiences, and thus be integrated into society in order to fulfill their role satisfactorily as humans worthy.

Tanya's picture
Boys & Girls Club 21st CCLC Site Coordinator

The adventures of the human eyes

This is my first time doing PBL's and I wanted to teach my members more about the human eyes. Is there anyone on here that's willing to share some ideas so that I can better teach my staff and members to do a great summer project.

Barrie W. Mizerski's picture

Educational neuroscientists tell us that seamless integration with the performing arts is applicable to all curriculum, from STEM to common core. CAT scans and modern scientific data reveal that this is how the brain learns. For instance, performing arts help transfer information in the common core from immediate memory to working memory and eventually long term storage. The arts build amazingly sophisticated whole brain cues and connections which make learning so much more fun and retrieval a joy.

As a professional musician and actor, seventeen years ago I took it the next step. And only this year has science caught up with me. One must start with "mindful, cognitive behavioral therapy" or as Sousa states in his Information Processing Model "cognitive belief systems" (How the Brain Learns). None of you have thought about that, have you? You're academics and you've never had to earn a living as a performing artist where anxiety and fear can destroy your livelihood the same way it destroys a child's life by freaking them out for the three levels of high stakes testing forced on them WHICH HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH LEARNING AND SUCCESS and everything to do with dumbing down and failure.

For further scientific data and a succinct explanation (plus you don't have to buy any books) may I suggest you read the following:
I. Optimum Learning State (Mindfulness at Every Turn ):

II. Learning Strategies (Why Music Makes the Brain Sing):

III. Artistic Performance and Long Term Storage (retain and recall) (Screen Actors Guild "The Nature of Creativity" ) a collaboration of the NYC Board of Education, New York University and Screen Actors Guild (I am affiliated with all three - synchronicity) Theatre, film acting and recording with any available apps:

IV. Musical Notes to Neurons - Pentatonic - Plasticity( Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale at the World Science Festival

Howard Gardner in his book Art, Mind and Brain states: "Leonard Bernstein asserts that indeed there is a basic melody which children all over the world first chant - the UR-song". And thus it is with all learning and knowledge through the performing arts, as demonstrated by Bobby McFerrin in the above Musical Notes to Neurons.

In conclusion, from Professor Doriel Larrier, with whom I taught in Brooklyn, NY: "Tribute to you Mr. Mizerski...I am the cheerleader for testing grades at (PS) 315 this year...I couldn't let them sit without your mantra in their heads...I am smart, I am strong, I am confident all day long!!!! We'll be chanting it at 8:00am tomorrow - listen in the wind!!"

Contact me, because I want to teach teachers how to get students to want to learn how to learn specific curricula using music, performing arts, recording and reviewing technology and positive reinforcement for their cognitive behavioral system(stress management and confidence building techniques and systems) strategies to discover the joy of lifelong learning through artistic expression. The best movie you will ever watch is the mind movie of yourself on television being a total success in front of your peers.

Michel Saw's picture

I believe that all teachers want to teach well and hope and wish that their students have learnt.
I am looking for suggestions on how this can be done effectively for students of age 7 to 12.
What I have done is to teach with clear objectives so that I know after I have taught I had covered the essential. This includes checking for understanding and giving of homework to ensure further reinforcement of learning takes place. But very often when I test 2 months later shows that it was as if I had not taught and they not understood. What is the missing link? I think my pupils need skills to process learning on their own and they need to revise their work regularly. Seems like no secret but why do we seem to hit our head against the wall. Welcome effective strategies to share with my kids. Thanks

Paul Hashman's picture
Paul Hashman
Education and Training Director at 8 to Great™


You have an issue educators seem to see all the time. We teach, teach, teach and HOPE the Dear Ones are "getting it." If they don't, we (to use your own words) "hit our head against the wall." Having been a teacher for many years, I know how this feels.

The missing link often lies within the students, themselves. When certain students "don't get it," and others do, the mystery is WHY? The answer could be external motivation vs. internal motivation. If we can give today's students a process for success in anything they do, they soon come to know that the power to learn and be successful is within themselves, not something that comes from the outside.

I have come to know such a process exists. It is called 8 to Great.(tm) It is a success skills curriculum that is being used by hundreds of school across the United States and has now crossed the borders/oceans to other countries. If you are interested in learning more about 8 to Great,(tm) feel free to contact me.


Paul Hashman's picture
Paul Hashman
Education and Training Director at 8 to Great™

Hi Mona,

I hear what you're saying about teachers and parents not welcoming change. Most humans are "creatures of habit." Change is often uncomfortable. It is nice to see you are someone who understands that change is just part of life.

We have an award-winning process in the United States called 8 to Great.(tm) It is a success skills curriculum that is being taught in hundreds of schools across the country. It has shown to help:

- decrease bullying/violence.
- decrease or eliminate office referrals.
- decrease apathy and failure rates in high-needs students.
- improve grades and test scores.
- re-energize staff members.

It is definitely a more holistic approach to education and something you can learn online. It may be the solution for which you are looking. Feel free to contact me for more information.


Paul Hashman's picture
Paul Hashman
Education and Training Director at 8 to Great™

Hi Jonie,

It has been a few years since your post. How are things going? I hope your school is doing well and growing each day...month...year into a place where students look forward to coming and being all they can be.

Your description of such a place matches the energy of a process being used in hundreds of schools across the country called 8 to Great.(tm) If you are interested in learning more about this success skills curriculum that offers answers to many issues, feel free to contact me.


Norma's picture


I'm Norma. I'm from Mexico, City and I've been an English teacher for over 20 years. I've always worked with adults but at the present time I'm working with 4th graders and as you can imagine it was a huge change and challenge. Just like Michael, my concerned is how to motivate students so they keep in mind all I teach, how can I make sure they got what I wanted them to get, well let me tell you that they seem to get it, they answer to all I'm asking at the moment I teach, but later on they don't seem to know a word of what they were supposed to.

If you can give me any suggestion or advise I'm all ears and let me tell you that I'm new in this chat and I really hope you can help me improve and make my students be the best at learning English.



Paul Hashman's picture
Paul Hashman
Education and Training Director at 8 to Great™

Hi Norma,

I wish I had the magic formula for teachers to use in order to make their students learn more. I don't. The real answer lies within each student. How motivated are they to learn? How inspired are they to retain what they are shown or taught? If you can reach that part of a student, you have most of the issue resolved.

8 to Great(tm) is a process that may hold the answers you need. Check us out at We have online training that might be the answer you have been searching for in order to reach students at a deeper level within themselves. Consider visiting our website and taking a look around.


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