Beichner wins McGraw Prize in Education
Dr. Robert J. Beichner, professor of physics at NC State University and a leader in the research and development of new technologies in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) classrooms, has received the McGraw Prize in Education. The other 2011 recipients are Mitchel Resnick, professor of learning research, MIT Media Lab; and Julie Young, president and CEO, Florida Virtual School.
Harold (Terry) McGraw III, chairman, president and chief executive officer of The McGraw-Hill Companies today announced the recipients of the 2011 Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education as Robert Beichner, Mitchel Resnick and Julie Young. The 2011 winners are being honored for pioneering digital education approaches.
“Technology in education is a great catalyst for change – for creating, managing, and communicating a new conception of learning,” said Mr. McGraw. “This year’s Harold McGraw Prize winners are the embodiment of the transformative impact of technology on improving education. Their innovations are enabling students to learn at their own pace and empowering teachers to inspire and coach.”
Mr. McGraw said, “Digital learning is the opportunity of the century. For many students around the world, technology makes education more accessible, adaptable and affordable. We applaud these exceptional leaders for guiding the way and enriching the lives of so many students.”
To tap their collective insight, McGraw-Hill asked Beichner, Resnick and Young to collaborate on a white paper which draws on their perspectives spanning across elementary, secondary and post-secondary education. The paper hones in on one of the unheralded benefits of educational technology: to enhance and strengthen the human connections that facilitate learning. With an introduction by Dr. Steven Paine, vice president of CTB/McGraw-Hill and the former State Superintendent of Schools in West Virginia, the paper presents anecdotes from each of the Prize winners, including:
- Mr. Resnick cited Scratch, a graphical programming environment that makes it easy for children ages eight and up to create their own stories, games, animations and simulations. Mr. Resnick recalled a 13-year old girl who learned to program through interacting with peers online with Scratch.
- Ms. Young wrote about how online courses allow students to benefit from connected learning environments despite geographic distance, and explained how she has found students who feel alienated in brick-and-mortar schools – whether due to bullying, physical illness or disabilities – to feel more comfortable to learn online in an environment free of external social and emotional stressors.
- Mr. Beichner sees one of the primary benefits of technology as freeing up teachers’ time to allow them to establish relationships with and motivate learners. He has pioneered a classroom configuration where students work in teams, benefitting from valuable interactions and access to technology.
Resnick and Beichner are appearing at the New York Times Schools for Tomorrow conference on September 22nd to discuss the role of technology in transforming education, where they will also highlight the white paper. In addition, all three winners will attend a celebration of the 24th Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize at the New York Public Library on September 27th.
The McGraw Prize in Education annually recognizes outstanding individuals who have dedicated themselves to education innovation. Honorees are chosen by a distinguished Board of Judges from the education community and receive a gift of $50,000.
The Prize was established in 1988 to honor the late Harold W. McGraw, Jr.’s lifelong commitment to education and to mark the Corporation’s 100th anniversary. Former Prize recipients include leaders in community-based education such as Harlem Children Zone Founder Geoffrey Canada; business leaders, including retired Chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation Norman Augustine; classroom teachers such as Reynauld Smith from Washington, D.C.; and other pioneering innovators, including Teach for America Founder Wendy Kopp and High Tech High Founder Larry Rosenstock.
2011 McGraw Prize Winners:
Dr. Robert Beichner is an award-winning professor of physics at North Carolina State University and is receiving the Prize for his work at the post-secondary level. He has changed how students learn in the science classroom not only on his home campus, but at the more than 100 institutions of higher education that have adopted SCALE-UP, an approach that uses digital technology combined with innovative teaching approaches centered on hands-on activities and roundtable discussions. He was named an American Council on Education Fellow for the 2010-11 academic year and co-authored the most widely used college physics textbook in the country. Since 2007 he has been the Director of NC State’s STEM Education Initiative, with a mission to study and improve STEM education in North Carolina and around the world.
Dr. Mitchel Resnick, Professor of Learning Research at the MIT Media Lab, develops new technologies and activities to engage children in creative learning experiences, helping them learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively. He is receiving the Prize for his work in pre-K and elementary education. His Lifelong Kindergarten research group developed ideas and technologies underlying the LEGO Mindstorms robotics kits and the Scratch programming environment and online community, used by millions of young people around the world. He also co-founded the Computer Clubhouse project, an international network of more than 100 after-school learning centers where youth from low-income communities learn to express themselves creatively with new technologies.
Julie Young is President and CEO of the nation’s largest and most influential virtual program: Florida Virtual School (FLVS). She is receiving the Prize for her work in secondary education. Young became interested in combining technology and learning while serving as a teacher trainer for a partnership between her district and IBM. Since its inception in 1997 when it enrolled 77 students, the school has evolved both in offerings and number of students. FLVS, a public school free to all Florida students and supported by tax dollars, currently provides online instruction in over 125 courses to more than 130,000 K-12 students. In addition to directing the work of 1,500 employees, Young is a frequent national speaker and sits on numerous boards. She was also recognized by Technology & Learning Magazine as one of the “Top 30 influencers in Ed Tech,” along with Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.
You can find more information about the Prize online.
About The McGraw-Hill Companies: Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) is a leading global financial information and education company that helps professionals and students succeed in the Knowledge Economy. Leading brands include Standard & Poor’s, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has approximately 21,000 employees with more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2010 were $6.2 billion. Additional information is available http://www.mcgraw-hill.com