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Michael H. Levine, Ph.D.

Executive Director
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Dr. Michael H. Levine is the Founding Director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, an independent non-profit organization based at Sesame Workshop.  The Center conducts research and builds multi-sector partnerships to scale innovation and investment in promising educational media technologies for children. Prior to joining the Center, Michael served as Vice President for Asia Society, managing the global nonprofit’s interactive media and educational initiatives to promote knowledge and understanding of other world regions and cultures. Michael previously oversaw Carnegie Corporation of New York’s groundbreaking work in early childhood development, educational media, and primary grades reform and was a senior advisor to the New York City Schools Chancellor, where he directed dropout prevention, afterschool, and early childhood initiatives.

Michael has been a frequent adviser to the U.S. Department of Education and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, writes for public affairs journals, and appears frequently in the media. He writes a regular column for Huffington Post, and regularly keynotes conferences focused on child development, learning and digital media. He was named by Working Mother magazine as one of America’s most influential leaders in family and children’s policy and serves on numerous nonprofit boards, including Classroom, Inc., Forum for Youth Investment, We Are Family Foundation, PBS’ Next Generation Learning Media, DigiLearn, and Journeys in Film. Michael received his Ph.D. in Social Policy from Brandeis University’s Florence Heller School and his B.S. from Cornell University.

 

Selected publications and guest blog posts:

Recently posted by this author:

Learning at Home: Can Educational Media Jump-Start Learning in America?

January 24, 2014

Millions of American children received tablets, mobile phones, game consoles, and other screen devices over the holidays, making our youngest citizens an important force in media and technology consumption. At the same time, educators, policymakers and journalists like Amanda Ripley and Tom Friedman are bemoaning the lack of achievement motivation … 







Happy New Year from the Cooney Center

January 3, 2014

On behalf of our team at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, I wanted to simply say thanks for your wonderful support during 2013.  The Center’s fifth anniversary year has been one of new accomplishments and challenges in the children’s digital media space—from record sales this holiday season in the tech … 







Making Our Schools “SuperBetter” with GBL

September 10, 2013

This post was originally published in the Huffington Post as part of TED Weekends as part of the “Gaming for Life” series inspired by Jane McGonigal’s 2012 TEDTalk. Jane McGonigal charged me up for more than the 7.5 minutes of life extension she promised. Yes, practicing her four “resiliencies” through … 







Reading with Young Children: Something Old and Something New?

September 18, 2012

Followers of the Center’s blog and research initiatives will know, we have been closely following the evolving, but not yet precisely documented transition from print to digital information that is impacting just about everyone these days. Our perspective on this phenomenon is to identify the ways in which digital books, … 







Can Video Games Unite Generations in Learning?

August 9, 2012

What makers of technology for early education can learn from Sesame Street. Whether you’re at a restaurant or on an airplane, you can’t miss changes in adult-child interactions from just a generation ago. Everyone is plugged in. It seems almost quaint to see kids and adults engaged together in screen-free play. … 







No More Reading Wars! Getting Ahead of the Transition From Print to Digital Books

May 30, 2012

This piece originally appeared in the Huffington Post on May 29, 2012. When it comes to learning to read well, the U.S. is locked in a stubborn cycle of conflict. Recall the infamous “reading wars” of the 1980’s and 90’s between advocates of phonics and those of the whole language … 







Policy Brief: The Digital Teachers Corps: Closing Americas Literacy Gap

September 15, 2011

The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) has just published a policy brief authored by Michael Levine, the executive director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, and James Paul Gee, the Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies at Arizona State University. Reed an excerpt of the brief below and download … 







Gaming Ed Reform?

August 20, 2011

This post originally appeared on the Education Nation Learning Curve Blog. Last week, President Obama announced an innovation and competitiveness initiative designed to stimulate children’s interest in math and science careers. It was filled with solid ideas for engaging both struggling and advanced students in rigorous and relevant science and … 







Heads-Up, Media Producers: Families Still Matter Most in a Digital Age

June 7, 2011

This piece originally appeared in the Huffington Post.   On Tuesday, June 7, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop will present a report at the E 3 Expo in Los Angeles that may surprise media designers and cause policymakers to step back from their current concerns about kids’ … 







Congress Launches Caucus for Competitiveness in Entertainment Technology

February 24, 2011

A funny thing happened at a Capitol Hill Caucus Event in  D.C.  last month–a moment of bipartisan agreement!  The sighting of this rare bird seems well worth noting–everyone who has been following the debate over painful budget cuts has been wondering if and when consensus might ever break out. So I was delightfully …