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Education Nation: Six Leading Edges of Innovation in our Schools Hardcover – July 6, 2010

28 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0470615065 ISBN-10: 0470615060 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Education Nation

"Imagine an 'Education Nation,' a learning society where the education of childrenand adults is the highest national priority, on par with a strong economy, high employment, and national security. Where resources from public and private sources fund a 'ladder of learning' for learners of all ages, from pre-K through 'gray.' Where learners take courses through the formal institutions of high-quality schools and universities and also take advantage of informal experiences offered through museums, libraries, churches, youth groups, and parks as well as via the media."
from the Introduction

Education Nation offers a dynamic vision for a new world of learning. This groundbreaking book draws on author Milton Chen's extensive experience in media—from his work at Sesame Workshop and in public television to his twelve years as executive director of The George Lucas Educational Foundation. Throughout the book, Chen clearly shows how to "put the edge into education" and revolutionize learning through innovative classroom practices and uses of technology.

Chen explains how six leading "edges" of innovation are challenging the inadequacies of our current education system amidst today's technologically sophisticated world. These edges include The Thinking Edge, The Curriculum Edge, The Technology Edge, The Time/Place Edge, The Co-Teaching Edge, and The Youth Edge. In this digital age, the number of new ways to teach and learn is ever-expanding and includes: laptops and handheld devices, wikis, interactive classroom tools, open source curricula, teacher-parent communication platforms, video-sharing, "serious games," social media, and GPS devices. Education Nation offers myriad examples from The George Lucas Educational Foundation's Edutopia Web site of films, articles, and resources, illustrating ways technology positively impacts student learning. As a result of constant innovation, learning is no longer limited by traditional confines of schedule, location, and isolation. A new Education Nation embraces a new age of 24/7/365 learning, with students at the center, supported by teachers, parents, and community mentors.

From the Back Cover

Praise for Education Nation

"I strongly believe that education is the single most important job of the human race. I'm very excited that Education Nation is adding to the tools we are giving educators and many others to make change in their own communities."
From the Foreword by George Lucas, founder and chairman, The George Lucas Educational Foundation

"This book provides an outstanding overview of where we stand in the history of learning technologies, what current initiatives are most promising, and what challenges and opportunities we face in the near future."
Christopher Dede, Timothy E. Wirth Professor in Learning Technologies, Harvard Graduate School of Education

"How fortunate we are that Milton Chen has decided to share the lessons he has learned along the way on his incredible learning journey. As we just begin to unlock the methods of teaching our kids in a 21st Century context, this book should be embraced by every caring educator and parent who wants to do right by our kids."
Gary E. Knell, president and CEO, Sesame Workshop

"Milton Chen is a visionary and global leader in education. Emphasizing creativity, technology-enabled learning, project-based intellectual adventures, and social/emotional intelligences, Education Nation encompasses the well-being of the whole child and the major shift to student-centered learning. Chen is a masterful storyteller and collaborator. His ideals continue to inspire and push our own boundaries to do what is right to help kids—and to never give up."
Susan Patrick, President and CEO, International Association for K–12 Online Learning (iNACOL)

"Milton Chen has had an extraordinary perch for learning how media and technology can spark innovation and redefine teaching and learning. Education Nation provides a new vision of what is now possible, with vivid examples from real schools."
Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun Professor at Stanford University and co-director of the School Redesign Network

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (July 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470615060
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470615065
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #861,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Dr. Milton Chen is senior fellow and executive director, emeritus at The George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF), a non-profit operating foundation in the San Francisco Bay Area that utilizes its multimedia website, Edutopia.org, and documentary films to communicate a new vision for 21st Century schools. He has served as the founding director of the KQED Center for Education (PBS) in San Francisco, director of research at Sesame Workshop in New York, and as an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. During 2007-08, was one of 35 Fulbright New Century Scholars conducting research on access and diversity issues in education . He is a native of Chicago and lives in San Francisco with his wife, Ruth.




Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Scarth on September 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This has been my nightly read for the start of school and it has helped me to stay on track with goals related to teaching innovatively. I like how the book looks at real schools. Throughout there are so many different resources and tools that I want to check out. Now I need to put a pencil and post-it notes by my bed to flag the things I want to explore further.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Susan Schilling on August 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
What I enjoyed the most was the fact that Dr. Chen's book goes beyond a simple synthesis of Edutopia experiences. It points to policy and foundational change issues in a clear and concise way - with ample evidence from all the years of collected stories of innovative practice done well. It's creating knowledge from information...sort of an uber-synthesis if you will. It is a both/and - compelling in its simplicity and in its depth of real world, documented and data driven experience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MiddleSchoolTeacher on December 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
What I liked about Education Nation is what I disliked about it - namely, someone without experience inside the public education system writing about it without regard for the limitations that system currently has in place. He's able to point to many exciting innovations and be inspiringly imaginative. However, while he acknowledges the restraints that the system has that hinders such innovation, he really fails to address them. Perhaps that's someone else's job; he's just the "idea man." He seems to be of the "just do it" mentality. If it were only that easy. There are some "take aways" for classroom teachers, but the book is really meant for those higher up with some real influence and decision-making power.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kim Carter on August 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Drawing on decades of extensive experience exploring effective education (that's enough "e" words for the moment!), Milton Chen presents the most cogent, articulate, and practical vision for "creating the new world of learning." Presenting "six leading edges of innovation" for education, Chen backs up his edges with myriad rich examples and even more follow up resources.

If I were in charge of the world, I'd use this book as a basis for collaborative inquiry with groups of educators and learners (teachers, administrators, community mentors, parents, and above all, students) in communities wherever there's an interest in improving education.

Education Nation tops my list of recommended reads for those interested in learning, schools, and education.
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By HDC on July 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Chen's Education Nation provides a 'six-edged' framework for thinking about innovation in K-12 education (thinking, curriculum, technology, time/place, co-teaching, and youth). Each chapter focuses on a particular edge, and describes innovative practices that have recently demonstrated success in schools across the U.S., as well as imagining alternative practices for the future that can continue to transform current thinking around teaching and learning. Largely written as a companion piece to the Edutopia website, the synthesis of brief case studies, research on human development and learning, and imaginative scenarios, make the book an easy read that also inspires, moves, and at times entertains the reader. Chapters one (Thinking Edge), two (Curriculum Edge) and four (Time/Place Edge) are particularly interesting, providing fresh examples and ideas around moving past 'textbook learning', and beyond the confines of the brick-and-mortar programming and the agrarian calendar. The book includes full references and additional resources discussed through out the chapters, which include Darling-Hammond et al.'s Powerful Learning: What We Know About Teaching and Understanding; Sir Robinson's Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything; Roger's Diffusion of Innovations.

The book is clearly designed to communicate optimism about transforming K-12 education and imagining possibilities. In achieving this particular goal, Chen is very successful; however, in doing so the book at times over-simplifies some of the issues at stake. One of the more inspirational aspects of this work is in the examples where schools innovated by necessity - in other words, schools had no choice but to be creative and make changes to the status quo as a result of inadequate funding or other dire challenge.
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Education Nation is an excellent read that is well written. It is written in a manner as such that the general population can read it and understand it. Full of information yet devoid of the "education jargon," this book can be used as an argument for policy makers to begin thinking of ways to move our education system forward. The 6 edges that Chen introduces are all accompanied by many different examples to show how myriad schools, teachers, community leaders, and other individuals are thinking outside the box to make learning more engaging for our students. The book discusses moving away from the traditional model we know as school (from our current calendar schedule to the increase and use of technology to help expand our students' abilities to learn and implement what they learn to real life practice. Each Edge provides us with Chen's well researched observations as well as numerous examples of implementation finally followed with enough evidence of success to convince even the most head strong district leader.

Of particular interest is Chen's reference list at the end of the book. Here he provides resource after resource (websites, journal articles, etc) to help guide readers to learn more about each example he provides. These resources will be invaluable in presenting district decision makers with proposals we make to change the way we all think about education. I particularly liked the numerous ways that Chen provides examples (and DATA) to show that making the shift to blended learning, 1:1 computers, etc is actually more cost effective then our traditional way of funding schools. And he makes the argument that the return on investment (in this case, our students and our future) is far greater than any monetary amount could supply.
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