What We Do at National Geographic Learning

General Manager Dennis Hogan discusses how real-world content from National Geographic and TED helps us develop powerful learning tools that bring the world to the classroom and the classroom to life.



Hello. I'm Dennis Hogan, General Manager of the English learning group at National Geographic Learning. Last year, there were over one and a half billion people worldwide who studied English as a foreign language. To put that in perspective, that's roughly the number of cell phones that were sold last year.

It's a big number. It's big because education is embraced by the entire world and there are more students than there have ever been, and because English is considered an essential part of a 21st century education. In fact, in much of the world, the ability to speak English as a foreign language is seen as a tool of opportunity and social access, a path to a brighter future. And there is a passion for learning English as a result. English, not as a replacement for native language, but as an additional skill like mathematics or science or technology. There are already five times as many non-native speakers of English as native speakers, and that number is growing.

We serve English learners by reflecting the mission and work of National Geographic in our programs. We try to bring the world to the classroom and the classroom to life. That's our version of Alexander Graham Bell's original goal for the magazine -- to be about the world and all that is in it. If you look at our learning programs, you'll see that they are like workbook versions of the magazine, filled with incredible photography, fascinating stories, and the real work of Explorers.

Explorers in particular resonate with teachers and students because the Explorers' search for knowledge and understanding is the very essence of education. We believe it's an incredible world, and we want to share that with students. We want students to be filled with awe and curiosity by amazing photographs and stories of their world and all that is in it, because we know that a curious student is a motivated student, and a motivated student will be a successful student.

We're always mindful that we're not just teaching vocabulary and grammar, we're opening up the world to students who have otherwise not experienced it. Students in China, Vietnam, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Eastern Europe – literally everywhere – we want to help these students experience the world and develop their own voices.

Besides having great National Geographic content, we also work with TED Talks, and we are TED’s exclusive partner in English language education. TED Talks are the single most widely sourced videos for English learners, popular both because of the ideas in the talks and because of the natural English used by both native and non-native TED speakers.

Ultimately, the incredible content we have from National Geographic and TED enables us to develop programs that are relevant, motivating, and powerful learning tools that bring the world to the classroom and the classroom to life. If you'd like to know more, please let us know. Thank you for listening.

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