Saturday, November 07, 2009 - a Proven Successful Alternative to Traditional Education

Cross-posted from and part of the FutureofEducation interview series.

Date: Monday, November 9th, 2009
10:00am Pacific / 1:00pm Eastern / 6:00pm GMT (international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Elluminate. Log in at The Elluminate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Elluminate, please visit Recordings of the session will be posted within a day of the event.

In this session we'll talk with the UK and US organizers of the program, an online community which aims to engage teenagers who are out of school in the long term into learning. Between 500 and 700 young people are involved each year. offers an alternative to traditional education for young people who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to engage with school or other complementary provisions such as home tutoring or specialist units. After almost 9 years and 5000 young people, is a full-time alternative provision; successfully demonstrating that young people for whom 'school does not fit' can renew their confidence in learning and gain a range of qualifications that recognize their progress.

Jean Johnson has worked in the education field for twenty five years, beginning her career teaching in East London schools working with difficult and disaffected teenagers. She began working with new technologies in 1993 and was one of the first teachers to pilot the use of the Internet in schools. She was part of the early developer group of schools for Oracle’s, contributing to the final design of the software. Since then she has been involved in a number of high profile online projects both in the UK and abroad; working with schools as far apart as Sweden, Finland, USA, India, Japan and New Zealand. Projects have included Web for Schools, The Virtual Classroom, Learning in the New Millennium and Schools Online. Her work within Europe was influential in developing a model for the use of the Internet in schools in the EU. In 1998 she was presented with an award as Teacher of the Year. Since 2000 she has led research project working in the field of social inclusion for disadvantaged youth, focussing particularly in the creative and innovative use of multimedia to develop learning. Jean has published a number of reports and papers including extensive work on Internet based accreditation and content delivery models. Jean has contributed to a number of TV and radio programmes. She has been described as the ‘pre-eminent expert internationally’ in the use of ICT to engage disaffected and excluded students.

Sometimes described as the technical brain behind, Jonny Dyer has worked on the project since 2000. He brought with him an extensive academic research experience, technological expertise and knowledge of alternative learning paradigms.

Beth Baker and Glen Taylor are with Inclusion US Inc. (IUS) a not for profit organization dedicated to engaging at risk youth in learning. To accomplish their mission, IUS has developed IUS Global Schools, based on the Inclusion Trust's "Not School" program in the United Kingdom. Currently, Beth is a Michigan Education Policy Fellows Program participant and Education Consultant at Wayne County RESA. While teaching 6th grade, she received a U.S Congressional Commendation, and was a Michigan STAR award recipient.

Bruce Umpstead is Director, Office of Educational Technology and Data Coordination, for the Michigan Department of Education.