Welcome to our Masters in Education series! Check back each week for another profile of an expert educator.
Tim Dracup is an educator from the United Kingdom who specializes in the design and development of education programs for students who perform at a level that is significantly above average (commonly referred to as gifted education). He recently retired from a 27-year career in education that included heading up the Gifted and Talented Education Unit within England’s Ministry of Education. Dracup is a founding member of GT Voice, a U.K.-based national network for gifted students, their parents and the educators who work with them. He now works as an independent education consultant and commentator.
Dracup’s focus is national and international gifted learning. Areas of special interest include support for underprivileged gifted students and the economics of gifted education. He also specializes in the use of social networking to promote gifted education. Dracup provides up-to-the minute commentary on education issues under the alias @GiftedPhoenix on Twitter. He also maintains the Gifted Phoenix blog.
In his writing and commentary, Dracup applies a global perspective to issues surrounding gifted learning. In a Webinar prepared for GiftedKids.ie (a website dedicated to gifted education in Ireland), Dracup discusses the growing importance of knowledge-based economies (KBEs) in our age of globalization. There is a global demand for highly educated and highly skilled workers, fueled by countries that aspire to transform their economies into KBEs. These countries need knowledge workers with expertise in technology and communication, and with strong STEM skills. Many countries with up-and-coming KBEs form national plans that identify gifted education as playing a key role in the transformation process. Examples given by Dracup include Singapore, Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia.
A recent blog post by Dracup examined the state of gifted education in South Korea. There has been relatively little research into the economic returns realized by investments in gifted education, but Dracup asserts that South Korea may be an example of the significant returns that national investment in gifted education can generate. South Korea consistently ranks higher than other countries in PISA assessments that measure the performance of 15-year-old students in reading, science and mathematics. Dracup contributes this high ranking in part to recent gains in gifted education and to a continuing commitment by South Korean education officials to expand the number of students who participate in gifted learning programs.
Dracup is an advocate for the use of social media as a way to share gifted learning knowledge and information. Dracup identifies several unexploited areas of social media that could benefit gifted education in the future, including advocacy, international collaboration and the connection of disparate resources. He personally addresses the connection of resources through his Twitter feed, which is dedicated to gifted education and associated topics, and includes links to related online resources. His blog also includes a monthly review that conveniently summarizes his Twitter posts.