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Milton Chen  

Senior Fellow and Executive Director, Emeritus of the George Lucas Education Foundation

Milton Chen has been a leading figure in educational media for more than 20 years. He joined The George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF) 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. A nonprofit foundation, GLEF shares new vision through its multimedia website, award-winning magazine, Edutopia: The New World of Learning, and a comprehensive library of documentary films.

Prior to joining GLEF, Dr. Chen was the founding director of the KQED Center for Education & Lifelong Learning (PBS) in San Francisco, managing their web content and the delivery of educational services for teachers, parents, and community groups in support of public TV programming. He has been a director of research at the Children's Television Workshop in New York, and a director of research at Sesame Workshop where he worked on Sesame Street, The Electric Company, and 3-2-1 Contact. Dr. Chen has served as an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and as a consultant to Children Now, Educational Development Center, The Foundation for Advancements in Science and Education, and Scholastic.

An authority in several areas, Dr. Chen's interests span everything from project-based learning and social/emotional learning to global learning, technology, and research on educational innovation. He is a frequent speaker on such issues and has authored more than 30 books, chapters, and articles on educational media.

Dr. Chen currently serves as chair of the advisory council for the new Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media at St. Vincent College in Pennsylvania, and is a trustee of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, a nonprofit dedicated to environmental conservation, education, and stewardship. He has chaired NHK's Japan Prize jury for educational TV and co-chaired the US Department of Education's Technology Expert Panel. In 2007, he joined a group of 35 Fulbright New Century Scholars working on innovation, access, and diversity issues in education, spending three months in the United Kingdom at University of Edinburgh. He has been honored by the Congressional Black Caucus, PBS, Sesame Workshop, Parents' Choice, and the Fred Rogers Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Dr. Chen received an AB in social studies from Harvard College and an MA and PhD in communication research from Stanford University.

Speech Topics

Edges of Innovation in Our Schools

This presentation looks at how school systems are reinventing themselves, focusing on their growing edges of innovation. Dr. Chen explains that these Edges are moving to the center and redefining the nature of “school” as it was known in the 20th Century and include 1) the Thinking Edge, 2) the Curriculum Edge, 3) the Technology Edge, 4) the Time/Place Edge, 5) the Co-Teaching Edge and 6) the Youth Edge. The Edges address fundamental shifts to our thinking about schooling; ways in which technology is transforming when, where and how students learn; and roles of teachers and students as teachers form teaching teams with other experts and students take on more responsibility for their own learning.

Digital Tools

The astonishing array of digital tools is bringing a new world of learning into focus, where information is available 24/7/365 on tablets, laptops and smart phones. The Internet is now maturing as an educational platform, where subjects, from chemistry to Mandarin to art history, are now making curricula more engaging and affordable for learners at increasingly younger ages. Online learning platforms now enable students and teachers to track and reflect upon progress on a daily basis. We know that digital learning can occur any time and any place, but can it migrate through any path, any pace?

This speech explores how digital learning should change everything about how we think about the learner, the teacher and the school. Dr. Chen will show examples of these innovative practices from, the Lucas Foundation’s multimedia Web site and its archive of documentaries, available for free download and embedding, with foreign language captions from Google Translate.

Afterschool: Eliminating the Final Bell for Learning

The nation’s steady progress as an economy and as a society will end unless we profoundly change our thinking and policies about when, where, and how children learn and develop. In this presentation, Chen explores the importance of afterschool as a creative learning time that should be implemented into a larger, comprehensive year-round learning system.

Advocating the benefits of providing students with a seamless learning experience, Chen believes we need to avoid placing all responsibility for teaching on a short school day. Without a broader view of learning, all American school-age children will be denied access to experiences that will help them be successful lifelong learners.

Education Nation: Six Leading Edges of Innovation in Our Schools

Educating the Whole Child: The Role of the Arts, Nature & Place-Based Learning

Weapons of Mass Instruction: Providing Every Child with Digital Tools for Modern Learning

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