Free webcasts, articles, and resources for 21st-century educators

The Center for Learning is pleased to present its new series of complimentary Online Workshops, conducted by today's leading authors and researchers. During these thought-provoking, 60-minute live webcasts, you'll hear first-hand from the most influential thought leaders as they share insights into their acclaimed classroom methodologies and instructional strategies.

Our collection of articles and research is an ongoing endeavor. Please browse our proprietary white papers and articles, excerpts from top-selling books, and summaries of contemporary research which are designed to highlight important educational concepts and strategies.

Personal Learning Networks: The Future of Learning

Presenter: Will Richardson

Learning is social, we've all known that. Now, the Internet has made it globally social. To flourish as learners in a connected world, we need a network that we can trust – and one that we can turn to when we need answers, inspiration, or direction.

While we've always crafted these Personal Learning Networks in our face-to-face spaces, achieving the same online is quite a bit more nuanced and complex. This session looks at what PLNs are, how they can influence our learning lives and future success. Attendees will:

  • Learn how to begin to construct PLNs using various Web tools
  • Understand the implications for our students, schools, and professional practice
  • Look at how diversity, balance, and safety enter into the learning equation online

A parent of two school-aged children, Will Richardson has been thinking and writing about the intersection of social online learning networks and education for the past 10 years at and in numerous journals and magazines such as Ed Leadership, Education Week, and English Journal, and most recently at He is an outspoken advocate for change in schools and classrooms in the context of the diverse new learning opportunities that the Web and other technologies now offer.

He is a former public school educator for 22 years, and is a co-founder of Powerful Learning Practice (, a unique professional development program that has mentored over 5,000 teachers worldwide in the last five years. He is the author of three books, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms, which has sold over 80,000 copies and has impacted classroom practice around the world, Personal Learning Networks: Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education, and Learning on the Blog. Over the past six years, he has spoken to tens of thousands of educators in over a dozen countries about the merits of online learning networks for personal and professional growth.

How can differentiation be achieved—without putting too much burden on teachers?

Presenter: Dr. David Sousa

How can differentiation be achieved—without putting too much burden on teachers?

In this exclusive 60-minute live webcast, noted author and nationally-acclaimed presenter Dr. David A. Sousa revealed realistic strategies that schools have implemented to allow students to succeed in classrooms that contain a diverse mix of abilities, cultures, and languages, and to create a positive and productive learning environment.

Dr. Sousa offered theoretical and practical insight into the four major components of differentiated instruction: What to teach (content); How to teach (process); How to find out what students have learned, and the environment in which learning occurs. Viewers will:

  • Discover ways to better meet the needs of increasingly diverse students
  • Learn more about how the brain learns and about approaches to differentiation
  • Understand the science behind teaching the best content in the best possible way
  • Learn to create a positive and productive learning environment

Dr. David A. Sousa is an international consultant in educational neuroscience and the author of more than a dozen books that suggest ways in which educators and parents can translate current brain research into strategies for improving learning. A member of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, he has conducted workshops in hundreds of school districts on brain research, instructional skills, and science education at the pre-K to 12 and university levels.

Dr. Sousa has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, a Master of Arts in Teaching degree in science from Harvard University, and a Doctorate from Rutgers University.

Dr. Sousa is past president of the National Staff Development Council (now called Learning Forward) He has received numerous awards from professional associations, school districts, and educational foundations for his commitment to research, staff development, and science education.

Keys to Implementing the Common Core State Standards

Presenter: Dr. Douglas Reeves

Keys to Implementing the Common Core State Standards

Are you ready for Common Core? In this 60-minute, live webcast, noted author and nationally acclaimed presenter Dr. Reeves offered his practical insights into the real challenges facing educators and school leaders as Common Core standards are implemented. Key issues include:

  • How do we prepare for the Common Core while also preparing for current state assessments?
  • What are the greatest changes that will be caused by the Common Core?
  • How can educational systems engage the intellectual energy of teachers to implement the Common Core?
  • How can teachers and leaders set priorities and focus on strategies and content that will be most essential to improve student achievement?

Dr. Reeves is the founder of The Leadership and Learning Center. As part of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a global educational leader, the Center serves school systems around the world. The author of 30 books and many articles on leadership and organizational effectiveness, Dr. Reeves has twice been named to the Harvard University Distinguished Authors Series.

Dr. Reeves was named the Brock International Laureate for his contributions to education. He also received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the Parents Choice Award for his writing for children and parents. He is the 2010 recipient of the National Staff Development Council's Contribution to the Field Award.

In writing the foreword to Doug's most recent book, Michael Fullan wrote, "Reeves doesn't just tell us what not to do. His research is so carefully documented and so clearly argued that we see precisely what should be our focus Reeves takes us further and deeper into the critical territory of whole system reform. He does it with such elegance and relentless insistence that we are drawn – indeed, compelled – to want to take action."

Teaching with Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids' Brains and What Schools Can Do about It

Presenter: Eric Jensen

Teaching with Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids' Brains and What Schools Can Do about It

Teaching with Poverty in Mind has become a top-selling book and hot lecture topic because it's awakened new interest in a critical issue that's been swept under the carpet for years. Now, Eric Jensen's groundbreaking research into the effects of chronic poverty on children's brains is making a tremendous difference in student outcomes in districts across the country that are modeling his innovative techniques.

Eric Jensen, author of Teaching with Poverty in Mind, Chronic exposure to poverty can result in detrimental changes to the brain, but those changes can be reversed through a rich, caring learning environment. You'll learn:

  • Why poverty has such an adverse affect on kids in school
  • What drives change at the macro (district) and micro (inside the student's brain) levels
  • Effective strategies that have worked, and how you can replicate them in your own school
Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts: Charting the Future of Teaching the Past

Presenter: Sam Wineburg

What is historical thinking and why should we care? How does historical thinking connect with 21st century skills? What are the new forms of assessment beyond multiple choice? How should primary sources be effectively integrated into teaching history?

Acclaimed author Sam Wineburg shares some of his unorthodox answers in a lively hour of discussion and real-life classroom situations. A Professor of Education at Stanford University, Dr. Wineburg has developed a vibrant new field of research that's changing the way history is being taught – and learned.

Using Informational Texts to Support the CCSS

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) will require the teaching of informational text, but this doesn’t fall solely in the laps of ELA teachers. More and more frequently, social studies, history, science, and even math teachers are all using informational texts as a basis for their classroom curriculum.


Make Social Media a Learning Tool, Not a Distraction

It’s easy for educators to look at social media and see them as nothing more than another bunch of distractions for students, who are checking Facebook and Twitter when they should be paying attention in class. The problem with this line of thought is that social media are here to stay. Avoidance is not a viable option for any school.


Classroom Technology Supports Authentic Learning--If It's Done Correctly

Technology in the classroom is at least as old as the overhead projector, but new technologies can help students to learn, and to think, in more creative ways than traditional teaching allows. Authors of Technology Integration for Meaningful Classroom Use, Katherine S. Cennamo, John D. Ross, and Peggy A. Ertmer follow the old adage, "Tell me, and I will forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I will understand."


Learning History in a Whole New Way

Is history simply one fact after another? Is it set in amber, unchanging forever, while the world changes around it? Or maybe it's a little more indefinite; could it be that history is as much about how we engage with it as it is about dates and places?


Personal Learning Networks: Connecting Our Online and Offline Worlds

Call it the Net or the Web or the Information Superhighway. Whatever it's called, it has changed or is changing every aspect of our social lives, and quickly, whether we want it to or not.


CCSS implementation: How does your district compare to others?

While most educators are in favor of the rigorous Common Core standards, most schools are facing some challenges as they implement new curriculum and assessments. Over 50% of teachers and administrators surveyed believe they'll need to employ fundamental changes in instruction, and 56% are purchasing new curriculum materials.


The Differentiated Classroom: How Environment Plays a Critical Role in Student Achievement

Anyone who has ever gone to a restaurant where the food was great but the meal was ruined by the ambience knows the importance of environment. The same is true in the classroom, and the stakes are much higher than a nice meal.

According to the popular book Differentiation and the Brain (David A. Sousa and Carol Ann Tomlinson), brain-imaging technology provides evidence that a stimulating learning environment may influence the development of neurons in students, so it's not overstating the case to say that a rich learning environment should be the goal of all schools. Even a student's IQ may be affected by what happens in the classroom.


Understanding-Based Curriculum Is Critical in Differentiated Classrooms

When Hawaii commissioned a study to determine how much of a fifth-grade teacher's time was needed to meet the state's academic standards, the answer they got was 3000%. This just confirmed what a lot of teachers already knew—there is simply too much content to cover in each unit they teach. So the question of how to create quality curriculum that engages students is a vital one.

In their book Differentiation and the Brain, David A. Sousa and Carol Ann Tomlinson have determined that one of the characteristics of quality curriculum is that it focuses on student understanding of essential knowledge.


Student Stress in High Poverty Schools Shows Surprising Effects

Both teachers and students in high-poverty areas face some unique challenges in the classroom, one of which is the surprising amount of stress children in poverty bring to school with them. In Teaching with Poverty in Mind, author and researcher Eric Jensen points out that chronic stress is linked to more than fifty percent of all absences, impairs attention and concentration, reduces cognition, diminishes social skills and judgment and increases the likelihood of depression. It even reduces the growth of new brain cells.