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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 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 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

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.

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Comments (18) Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

Kirsten Olson's picture

Thank you for your wide ranging reflection on how Edutopia has grown and is now changing. The moves to all online, all free, and an open community IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT ON. Since its beginnings Edutopia has been visionary in leading educators towards new ideas about practice, the nature of learning, and the essence of students. I look forward to your ongoing reach and brave adventuring. At moments when I've felt very alone and out on the edge in terms of my own thinking and wish for educational transformation, I have come back to this site again and again. It is inspiring. Thank you.

Kirsten Olson
(author of Wounded By School, Teachers College Press 2009)

Jan Greenberg's picture

I've been a reader of both the print and online versions for years, and have enjoyed reading the articles. I know that your focus is K-12, but I'm in early childhood education (birth-age 5/preschool). I'd love to see articles that talk about early childhood programs using cutting-edge practices, technology, etc. that positively impact children, families, and teachers. Any chance of seeing those types of stories? Thanks!

Ruth McCauley's picture

Usually education after 22 or 18 is funded by the individual. I would recommend using Sylvan Learning or something like that. I realize this is not Sylvan's primary clientele but .....?
There is an adult literacy program that starts with an L for those who never learned to read when younger and whether that addresses a learning disabled student or not I do not know.

David Engle's picture
David Engle
Superintendent of Schools in North Platte, Nebraska

I've relied on Edutopia since its inception as a key resource for significant educational change. Your move to a fully digital presence makes perfect sense. I know how tough that decision can be. Just moving our district calendar from print to digital has been a major source of distress in my district. The old truism about change being good as long as we don't have to do anything differently applies here, too. Kudos for making the move and keep up the good work!
Best regards,

David Engle's picture
David Engle
Superintendent of Schools in North Platte, Nebraska

This is the right move at the right time. I know how difficult a decision this must have been to make. My district has struggled with the simple move from a print calendar to a digital calendar posted on our website. That paper fiber is hard to let go of, that's for sure! Kudos for going fully digital and continue to do the fine work of informing school change efforts!
Best regards,

Melissa Hicks's picture

I will miss the print magazine. I take in information differently when flipping through a magazine or book. I'm not sure how to describe it. It is easier to grasp the meaning of the whole. When reading online I am limited to seeing only what fits on the screen at one time and that goes away when I click on a hyperlink. With a book or a magazine I feel I have control and access to the entirety of the material at once. Perhaps this is an old school way of processing information that is becoming obselete. But I think today's students who process information in a hyperlink fashion sometimes miss the connection between the small screen and the big picture. Plus I'd rather curl up in bed with my magazine than my laptop.

Charles Strange's picture

As many subscribers are obviously concerned with, we would like to better know the corporate affiliations Edutopia holds. Those connections will undoubtedly be influential over the content of your online publications and consequently the trends you will promote or devalue. While they are a reality in our capitalist society, these associations present a factor which must be known and quantified in an institution like public education. I enjoy your features and my students have benefitted from them, but your corporate influences must be known and weighed. Thanks.

Betty Ray's picture
Betty Ray
Senior Editor at Large

Really appreciate everyone weighing in. One of the nice things about being online-only is that we'll be able to be a lot more nimble. So if something isn't working, we can always revisit. As far as preferring print, I hear that, too. I know it's not the same, but one could always print articles from the website and take them with you. And finally, we all hear the concern about corporate affiliations and take that issue very seriously. Thank you thank you for your input. Feel free to share any additional thoughts.

Paul DeLong's picture

I applaud your decision to go all digital. It's more green. In addition, I have trouble keeping up with reading in print journals, much less storing and referencing them. It's a great idea to make all archives and products digital. They retain their status as current and referential simply by access to a search engine! Way to go!

P. D. Sacramento

Paul DeLong's picture

I applaud your decision to go all digital. It's more green. In addition, I have trouble keeping up with reading in print journals, much less storing and referencing them. It's a great idea to make all archives and products digital. They retain their status as current and referential simply by access to a search engine! Way to go!

P. D. Sacramento

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