About the Center
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Michael H. Levine, Ph.D.

Executive Director
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Michael H. Levine is the founding executive director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. The Center conducts research, builds multi-sector alliances, and catalyzes industry and policy reforms needed to advance high-quality media experiences for all children. Levine also serves on the executive team at Sesame Workshop where he focuses on educational impact and philanthropic partnerships for the global non-profit.

Prior to joining the Center, Levine was Vice President for Asia Society, managing 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 and educational media, and was a senior advisor to the New York City Schools Chancellor, where he directed early learning, dropout prevention and after-school programs. Levine serves on boards including the Forum for Youth Investment, We Are Family Foundation, Classroom, Inc, Journeys in Film, Woot Math, and DigiLearn.

Dr. Levine is a Pahara-Aspen Education Reform Fellow and a frequent adviser to the White House and the U.S. Department of Education. He writes for professional and public affairs journals, including a column for Huffington Post and is a frequent keynote speaker at education and technology conferences around the world. His new book, co-authored with Lisa Guernsey of New America is Tap, Click, Read: Growing Readers in a World of Screens. He received his B.S from Cornell University and PhD in Social Policy from the Heller School at Brandeis University.

 

Selected publications and guest blog posts:

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Recently posted by this author:

Ten for ’15: Education Reform for A Shared Future

January 8, 2015

This post originally appeared in the Huffington Post. It’s that time again. New commitments and new resolutions to make…and hopefully keep. As educators and children’s advocates we are involved in many initiatives whose goals are reimagining education and providing equal opportunity to all children. We are board members and advisors … 







Playful Learning and Rigorous Assessment: Can We Level-Up the Common Core?

July 25, 2014

This piece originally appeared in the Huffington Post. According to a recent New York Times piece that has stirred a highly emotional debate among my many colleagues, parents across the U.S. who once felt confident helping their children with homework until high school are now feeling helpless when confronted with … 







Introductory Remarks for Anytime, Anywhere Summer Learning

June 10, 2014

Remarks delivered by Michael Levine at the Anytime, Anywhere Summer Learning Forum co-hosted by New America and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop in partnership with the National Summer Learning Association and the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading on June 10, 2014. Thanks Lisa, and thanks very much to … 







Joan Ganz Cooney: Our Founder and Mentor Is Honored at Sesame Workshop’s Gala

May 29, 2014

Last night, Joan Ganz Cooney was honored at Sesame Workshop’s Annual Gala.  This is the first time that Joan, who co-founded the Children’s Television Workshop 45 years ago and remains Chair of the Workshop’s Executive Committee, was honored by her colleagues.  It won’t be the last honor conferred—though Joan, who … 







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 …