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Helen Soul

Dr. Helen Soul is the Executive Director of P21.  Prior to her role as Executive Director, she led the organization's state recruitment and support effort, working with P21's current 19 state partners, and directing outreach to connect with new partner states.  She is a frequent presenter on 21st century learning at national and regional education conferences and events, most recently at the American Association of School Administrators national education conference, and the National Council on Social Studies conference.

Soul is a longtime educator with P-16 leadership experience at the local, state and national level. She is a former elementary school teacher and district level administrator in Mississippi. At the state level, she served as director of the Mississippi Department of Education Office of Technology, with responsibilities ranging from education technology and management information services to textbooks and teacher professional development. At the national level, Soul served as chief of staff to the assistant secretary for the Office of Postsecondary Education in the U.S. Department of Education and Executive Director of Cable in the Classroom, the cable and telecommunication industry’s education foundation.

Soul served on numerous boards that focus on the 21st century learning, including the George Lucas Educational Foundation Advisory Board, the Consortium for School Networking and the International Society for Technology in Education National Board. She was a founding member of the State Educational Technology Directors Association and the recipient of several awards, including Converge magazine's 30 "Shapers of the Future" award, E-School News "Impact 30 Award for Excellence", and the Mississippi Educational Computing Association’s Technology Educator of the Year award. 

Soul holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from Mississippi State University, M.A. in Educational Administration from Mississippi State University and Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Abstract

Patterns of Innovation-Transforming Early Learning and Beyond with 21st Century Skills

We live and work in a global society in which subject matter knowledge is no longer sufficient to guarantee economic or personal success. In this world where change is the constant, the future holds great opportunity and peril. This environment places increasing demands on our educational systems to ensure that ALL students not only possess content knowledge, but also critical 21st century skills such as collaboration, communication, critical thinking/problem solving, creativity/innovation, perseverance and self-direction. Just as knowledge and language acquisition begin early, and continues throughout one’s life, so should the development of 21st century skills-to do less risks not only our children’s future, but also our global economic prosperity. Dr. Soule will discuss why educational systems across the world must provide a continuum of learning experiences (from pre-school to beyond university) to build the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that students need, as well as provide an overview of the existing research .  She will describe the Partnership for 21st Century Skills’ Framework for 21st Century Learning, and the essential elements and strategies in system re-design with special emphasis on fusing core content and 21st century skills within the curriculum. In conclusion, Dr. Soule will focus on the “how” of 21st century learning by showcasing video and audio case studies from P21’s Exemplar Schools, providing real-life examples of successful transformations in process.

 

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