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Learning from the Outside In: Technology and the Power of Place-Based Science Education Featuring Milton Chen

December 4, 2017 @ 8:30 am - 10:30 am

The TEC Center at Erikson Institute would like you to join us for a special breakfast and conversation on the S + T in STEM with Milton Chen, senior fellow and executive director, emeritus at The George Lucas Educational Foundation. CEUs/CPDUs will be provided to educators for attending. 

As the U.S. grapples with educating its diverse students to higher levels, creative STEM educators are taking them beyond the four walls of their classrooms. In “nature nearby,” such as gardens, ponds, and parks, to more than 400 national parks, students come alive in outdoor classrooms, studying air and water quality, species diversity, and habitat restoration. They learn to “come to their senses.” Children often learn alongside scientists and naturalists of all ages in experiences ranging from one-day field trips to immersive week-long classes.

Digital tools and online platforms, such as iNaturalist, enable youth to record, verify, and deepen understanding of species they encounter. Place-based experiential learning can lead students to deeper reflection on their own lives, propelling their educations forward with purpose and passion.


 Monday, December 4, 2017, 8:30 am- 10:30 am

Erikson Institute 
Polk Bros. Lecture Hall
451 N. LaSalle St.
Chicago, IL 60654

RSVP to reserve your spot! Space is limited! 

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 education. He served as executive director of GLEF for 12 years from 1998 to 2010. During his tenure, GLEF and its media brand, Edutopia, greatly expanded their editorial publishing efforts, including the award-winning Edutopia magazine. Edutopia.org is known as a destination Web site for educators and others interested in educational innovation and has won numerous honors, including the 2009 Webby People’s Voice Award for best education website. Edutopia.org’s web traffic averages more than 2.5 million visitors per month.

Dr. Chen’s career has spanned four decades at the intersection of preK-12 education, media, and technology. Prior to joining GLEF, he served for 10 years as the founding director of the KQED Center for Education (PBS) in San Francisco. In the 1970s, he was a director of research at Sesame Workshop in New York, helping develop Sesame Street, The Electric Company, and 3-2-1 Contact. Dr. Chen has been an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and, during 2007-08, was one of 35 Fulbright New Century Scholars conducting research on diversity issues in schools and universities. He received an A. B. in social studies from Harvard College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in communication from Stanford.

Dr. Chen serves as chairman of the Panasonic Foundation in New Jersey, which supports urban superintendent leadership and district improvement, and is a member of the board of trustees for Sesame Workshop. He is also a member of the National Park System Advisory Board, appointed by former Interior Secretaries Salazar and Jewell to advance the agency’s work with diverse youth and families. During 2013, he served as a Fellow for Good at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto. He has been a consultant to groups designing new community learning spaces, including the Carson City (NV) Public Library and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.

Dr. Chen’s career has been honored by the Elmo Award from Sesame Workshop and the Fred Rogers Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. During the 2016 Centennial of the National Park Service, he was named an Honorary Park Ranger. He has also received honors from the Congressional Black Caucus and two science centers in the Bay Area, The Exploratorium and the Lawrence Hall of Science. His 2010 book, Education Nation: Six Leading Edges of Innovation in our Schools, was selected one of the year’s 10 best education books by the American School Board Journal. Dr. Chen is a frequent speaker at education conferences in the U. S. and abroad. Since 2010, he has presented more than 100 keynote addresses in 41 states and 10 countries. Notably for Star Wars fans, on his 50th birthday, he was named a Jedi Master by George Lucas.

Dr. Chen lives in San Francisco with his wife, Dr. Ruth Cox, a botanical artist, author and actress. Their daughter, Maggie, is a resident in family medicine at UC-San Francisco.


December 4, 2017
8:30 am - 10:30 am
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