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Culture Shift: Teaching in a Learner-Centered Environment Powered By Digital Learning


Barnett Berry, PhD, Founder and President, Center for Teaching Quality
Peggy Brookins, Director, Engineering and Management Institute of Technology and National Board Certified Teacher, Forest High School, (Ocala, FL)
Erin Frew, Principal, New Tech West High School (Cleveland, OH)
Patrick Ledesma, School-Based Technology Specialist, Special Education Department Chair, and National Board Certified Teacher, Holmes Middle School (Alexandria, VA)

Bob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education

Due to an increasingly global economy and complex world, the skills and knowledge that students need to succeed in college and in a career have changed. Meeting these twenty-first-century learning demands requires a shift in the education system to a learner-centered instructional model driven by high-quality digital learning and the effective use of technology that provides a more personalized, rigorous, and collaborative learning environment for each student. Teachers must be empowered to take on new professional roles required through job-embedded and meaningful professional learning opportunities, including enhanced teacher training, collaboration and mentoring opportunities, and other supports.

On May 31, 2012, the Alliance for Excellent Education hosted an event to discuss these important issues and release its newest policy brief, “Culture Shift: Teaching in a Learner-Centered Environment Powered by Digital Learning.” This brief explores the characteristics of a learner-centered approach to education and the support educators and schools require in implementing it successfully. The transition to a learner-centered education model dramatically impacts the work of educators and schools. Teachers will take on new professional responsibilities and roles in working with students and peers. While some schools and districts are making significant progress toward transitioning to a more learner-centered model, many continue to struggle to do so. Increased demands on students to ensure that they are prepared for college and a career will also impact the expectations placed on teachers.

“Culture Shift” looks at the roles of teachers and students in the learner-centered model and explains why this shift in necessary for raising achievement and graduation rates of each American student. Following the presentations, there was a panel discussion on the implications of the teacher culture shift and how it can improve learning in America’s schools.

Supplemental Materials:

The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC-based national policy and advocacy organization that works to improve national and federal policy so that all students can achieve at high academic levels and graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship in the twenty-first century. For more information about the Alliance, visit

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