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Star Wars’ George Lucas Says: Join the Movement to Transform Learning

Star Wars’ George Lucas Says: Join the Movement to Transform Learning

I didn’t enjoy school very much. Occasionally, I had a teacher who would inspire me. But as an adult, as I began working with computer technology to tell stories through film, I began to wonder, “Why couldn’t we use these new technologies to help improve the learning process?”

Twenty years ago when we started the George Lucas Educational Foundation, we could see that digital technology was going to completely revolutionize the educational system, whether it liked it or not. Yet, in light of extraordinary advancements in how we use technology to communicate and learn, our schools and districts have been frustrating slow to adapt.

Unfortunately, much of our system of education is locked in a time capsule that dates back to the Industrial Revolution, when learning became an exercise in pumping as much information into kids as possible. At the end of this education assembly line comes a diploma–if the student can spit back the facts correctly. But in an era where technology can deliver most of the world’s information on-demand and knowledge is changing so rapidly, the model doesn’t work. Why spend $150 on textbooks that students use for only fifteen weeks with information that soon becomes obsolete?

What we need today and in the future are citizens who can wield the tools of technology to solve complex problems. Which means we need students who can:

  • find information
  • rigorously analyze the quality and accuracy of information
  • creatively and effectively use information to accomplish a goal

The good news is that in pockets across our country, schools and districts are unleashing contemporary technology–combined with classic methods of inquiry-based learning that date back to Plato and Socrates–to transform the learning process into a rigorous and more relevant experience.

Consider a few powerful examples. In Portland, Maine, middle and high school students have a 1-to-1 laptop program, strong school leadership, and project-based learning curricula that result in higher academic achievement. In Columbia, South Carolina, an elementary school uses computers to personalize student learning based on individual needs and abilities. And, here in the state of California, scores of high schools have restructured to offer career academies with rigorous curricula, enabling students to connect their learning to the “real world” and potential careers.

Are there enough of these schools and districts? No. Will the work of fixing our schools and re-inventing the learning process be long and arduous? Of course. But as we move on from debating what we ought to do and get busy building a better way, let’s remember that the solutions –and the tools and people who are implementing them–are not far away. In fact, they are nearer than you think.  

Through our Edutopia Web presence at edutopia.org and on popular social networks, our Foundation shines a spotlight on the most exciting classrooms where these innovations are taking place. By learning not only what but how these inspiring teachers and students are redefining learning, we hope others will consider how their work can promote change in their own schools.

Our Foundation staff is eager to know about your successes in improving schools especially through the power of technology integration. Together we can bring positive change to education. We encourage you to share your ideas on Edutopia.org and join the effort to transform learning.

George Lucas, whom we all know as the father of Star Wars, created the George Lucas Educational Foundation and its website Edutopia, in 1991.

 

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George Lucas Educational Foundation
by George Lucas

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550 comments

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7:21PM PST on Mar 4, 2013

ty

11:02AM PDT on Jul 29, 2011

George Lucas.

This guy is ALSO in the News for losing a Court Case against someone who made ( toy) Star Trooper Helmets without his Franchise , after the copyright expired.

That wasn't VERY Big nor Clever, George ! In fact it makes you appear to be a bit of a Scrooge.

9:02AM PDT on May 28, 2011

Thanks George you can take over the NYC Public system any time you want. You're better qualified than some of the bozos we've had.

12:04PM PDT on May 10, 2011

this is great. i hope this becomes real in more areas.

10:00AM PDT on Mar 20, 2011

GRACIAS!

5:38PM PDT on Mar 15, 2011

what an awesome humanist!

7:08AM PDT on Mar 14, 2011

What an amazing person. Maybe there is something we can do in our own community to help strengthen our education process.

1:29AM PDT on Mar 14, 2011

ok

11:02AM PDT on Mar 13, 2011

Interesting article.

11:36PM PST on Mar 12, 2011

THANKS

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