George Lucas Educational Foundation

Join us for Elevating the Dialogue, an informal webinar/chat

Join us for Elevating the Dialogue, an informal webinar/chat

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Webinar Description: Between the NBC "Education Nation" Summit, Waiting for Superman, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's $100 million gift to Newark city schools, there has been a lot of media attention focused on the topic of education reform. Unfortunately, much of it has excluded actual educators, let alone students. Furthermore, and perhaps as a consequence, the dialog has become divisive, blaming, and ultimately counter-productive. Future of Education and Edutopia are collaborating this coming Monday on a two-hour live and interactive look at "Elevating the Education Reform Dialog"--an online discussion with special guests and specifically for educators, to help move past the bashing and to engage in a constructive conversation about the best way forward. Connection details are at the bottom of this post. Schedule: 2:00 pm Pacific / 5:00 pm Eastern - Alfie Kohn 2:15 p.m. PDT / 5:15 p.m. EDT - Diane Ravitch 2:30 p.m. PDT / 5:30 p.m. EDT - Deborah Meier 2:45 p.m. PDT / 5:45 p.m. EDT - Chris Lehmann 3:00 p.m. PDT / 6:00 p.m. EDT - Gary Stager 3:15 p.m. PDT / 6:15 p.m. EDT - Will Richardson 3:30 p.m. PDT / 6:30 p.m. EDT - Julie Evans 3:45 p.m. PDT / 6:45 p.m. EDT - Sir Ken Robinson 4:00 p.m. PDT / 7:00 p.m. EDT - One hour "Open Forum" for educators and others to voice their feelings about education reform. Speaker Bios: Julie Evans is the CEO of the national education nonprofit organization, Project Tomorrow ( whose mission is to ensure that today's students are well prepared to become tomorrow's leaders, innovators and engaged citizens of the world. Under her leadership, Project Tomorrow has emerged as a national leader promoting the use of innovative and research based science, math and technology resources in our K-12 schools to develop critical thinking, problem solving and creativity skills in students. Alfie Kohn writes and speaks widely on human behavior, education, and parenting. The author of eleven books and scores of articles, he lectures at education conferences and universities as well as to parent groups and corporations. Kohn's criticisms of competition and rewards have been widely discussed and debated, and he has been described in Time magazine as "perhaps the country's most outspoken critic of education's fixation on grades [and] test scores." Chris Lehmann is the founding principal of the Science Leadership Academy, a progressive science and technology high school in Philadelphia, PA. The Science Leadership Academy is an inquiry-driven, project-based, 1:1 laptop school that is considered to be one of the pioneers of the School 2.0 movement nationally and internationally. The school was recognized by Ladies Home Journal as one of the Ten Most Amazing Schools in the US, has been recognized as an Apple Distinguished School in 2009 and 2010 and has been written about in many publications including Edutopia Magazine, EdWeek and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Deborah Meier has spent more than three decades working in public education as a teacher, principal, writer, advocate, and ranks among the most acclaimed leaders of the school reform movement in the U.S. Meier was born in New York City in 1931 and was educated at Antioch College and the University of Chicago. She began her teaching career in Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia as an elementary and Head Start teacher, continually fascinated with why schools did not work well and what was needed to fix them. Will Richardson considers himself an "evangelist" for the use of Weblogs, RSS and related Internet technologies in classrooms and schools. Over the past six years he's had the chance to speak and work with thousands of educators from around the world on the merits of "The Read/Write Web." He was a classroom teacher for over 20 years who integrated these technologies into his curricula for over four years. In various Weblog projects, his students have collaborated with best-selling authors, Pulitzer Prize winning journalists, and with students in classrooms from around the world. Sir Ken Robinson, PhD is an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources. He has worked with governments in Europe, Asia and the USA, with international agencies, Fortune 500 companies, and some of the world’s leading cultural organizations. In 1998, he led a national commission on creativity, education and the economy for the UK Government. ‘All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education’ (The Robinson Report) was published to wide acclaim in 1999. Since 1982, Gary Stager, an internationally recognized educator, speaker and consultant, has helped learners of all ages on six continents embrace the power of computers as intellectual laboratories and vehicles for self-expression. He led professional development in the world's first laptop schools (1990), has designed online graduate school programs since the mid-90s, is a collaborator in the MIT Media Lab's Future of Learning Group and a member of the One Laptop Per Child Foundation's Learning Team. Mr. Stager's doctoral research involved the creation a high-tech alternative learning environment for incarcerated at-risk teens. Recent work includes teaching and mentoring some of Australia's "most troubled" public schools. Gary was Senior Editor of District Administration Magazine and Founding Editor of The Pulse: Education’s Place for Debate. WEBINAR LOGIN INFORMATION: Date: Monday, October 4, 2010 Time: 2pm Pacific / 5pm Eastern / 9pm GMT (international times here) Duration: 2 hours Location: In Elluminate. Log in at The Elluminate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Elluminate, please visit Recordings of the session will be posted within a day of the event at the event page. Event and Recording Page:

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Jodi Briggs's picture

Hello all!
Just a friendly suggestion....since many of us who thrive on the information from Edutopia are educators, a webinar at 2:00 is not a realistic time for us to join in on live events because......well, we're teaching!! I'm sure it is difficult to find a time that works for everyone but considering a portion of the reason for hosting this webinar is to hear from teachers, a time when we can actually be "on" would be much appreciated!!
Glad we can watch the recording but I'd love to participate in the actual event!
Thanks for all you do,

Betty Ray's picture
Betty Ray
Senior Editor at Large

Hi Jodi - Good points. If we do this again, we'll definitely consider that. We didn't have a lot of lead time here so we fit it in when we could!

Hudson Don's picture
Hudson Don
Prematurely retired high school English teacher because of blindness (legal

On one side of the balance I understand the quest to move forward. As technology dictates new thinking and what seem to be new requirements education will be commanded to keep up. How can that happen?
On the other side of the balance, veteran teachers like myself are not done "bashing" the system. Forcing education into an economic model and using political pressure to maintain that model is dishonest. In an aspect of society that is so important, over looking the dishonesty of the past is like opening a new jar of paste because you let the old jar sit open until it hardened and became useless. It's a simple fix that's usually not made and turns into useless waste.
Somebody said if we don't remember the past we are destined to repeat it. We've had the Holocaust followed by Idi Amine, Ethnic Cleansing in Bosina, Serbia, Africa and the world just stands by and watches. In America we elected Richard Nixon and George Bush (the first election was stolen by the state of Florida and the Supreme Court) twice.
Asking us to put aside our memories of the past and meet in the spirit of cooperation and respect seems dangerous. If that sounds mean-spirited and reductive it's because I don't believe public education can work any longer (if it ever did). As much as I respect and support efforts like Edutopia, I see it as one form of the future of education. Education is becoming the function of business and economics. Industry will continue to take up the duty of education and it may or may not be assisted by ancillary efforts like Edutopia. My guess is Edutopia and Industry will become enemies just like a portion of public education and industry are now.
The outcome of this animosity will determine the future of our Democracy. We barely have a Democracy now due to the unspoken dishonesties of economics and politics.
Edutopia has the right idea. Education should be about learning. One of the goals of public education must be to provide the places, people and opportunities to learn how to learn. And those places, people, and opportunities cannot be decided by or provided by economics and politics.I'm saying the definition of education must be remade. Perhaps we even need to go so far as to remove "education" from the lexicon.
One of the fundamental requirements of a Democracy is "voluntary compliance". It seems to me an ideal opportunity to practice, develop, and establish "voluntary compliance" is in public education.
How and where will all our citizens learn how to learn (literate behavior) and realize "voluntary compliance" are necessary and valuable? Can it be learned without "bashing" the system that lies and cheats while boasting its accomplishments? Is compromise the only way to move forward? Is compromise in the learning process ethical?
Obviously, I don't think so!

Hudson Don's picture
Hudson Don
Prematurely retired high school English teacher because of blindness (legal

[quote]Hi Jodi - Good points. If we do this again, we'll definitely consider that. We didn't have a lot of lead time here so we fit it in when we could![/quote]

I think your answer to Jodi is unacceptable. You are taking a respected orchestra deep into the forest to play a concert. Who's going to hear it? The musicians? That's preaching to the choir!
One of the fundamental aspects of good writing is "sense of audience". I severely question your "sense of audience".

Elana Leoni's picture
Elana Leoni
Edcamper, Former @Edutopia, Founder of Social Media Marketing Consultancy aimed at helping educational orgs.

You can find the full Elluminate recording link at the bottom of this event page: The .mp3 audio version, the .rtf chat log, and the .mov video files are being uploaded right now, and will be available later this morning at:

Please let me know if you have any trouble accessing these recordings.

Betty Ray's picture
Betty Ray
Senior Editor at Large


I think your answer to Jodi is unacceptable. You are taking a respected orchestra deep into the forest to play a concert. Who's going to hear it? The musicians? That's preaching to the choir!

One of the fundamental aspects of good writing is "sense of audience". I severely question your "sense of audience".[/quote]

Hi Hudson - I understand your points and agree that it is crucial for all educators to be able to engage in the discussions like those we had yesterday. That said, as I mentioned, we had some very real time constraints at play here among those of us who were producing the event. We realize it was way less than ideal, but it was better than not doing it at all.

We have made the archives available, and have opened up this group for educators to continue the discussion here. I hope all educators who feel passionate about these issues will use these resources anytime!

Bob Charles's picture
Bob Charles
I am in search of definitions for "Quality Eduction" and "Great School".

"Ravitch began her career as an editorial assistant at the New Leader magazine, a small journal devoted to democratic ideas. In 1975, she became a historian of education with a Ph.D. from Columbia University. At that time she worked closely with Teachers College president Lawrence A. Cremin, who was her mentor."

"She was appointed to public office by both President of the United States George H. W. Bush and his successor Bill Clinton. Secretary of Education Richard Riley appointed her to serve as a member of the National Assessment Governing Board, which supervises the National Assessment of Educational Progress; she was a member of NAGB from 1997 to 2004."

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