Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Impressions of High Tech High and Project Based Learning

Before I go into my impressions of this school I want to ask you a question. Please take time to think about your answer prior to reading on.

What are you most significant learning experiences in your K-12 years?

Think about your years in school. Visualize the buildings, the teachers, the hallways, the teaching delivery systems.

Think about all of your many k-12 learning experiences in the classroom that transformed you as a person...........this was a trick because I bet many of you cannot think of many examples if any at all. I honestly don't remember a single thing I learned or created in my 13 years in public school.

Let me share some observations while in San Diego and compare to your trip  down memory lane

- calm atmosphere outside of school waiting for school to start.

- blended classrooms where it was hard to distinguish the teachers from the students

- zero stress zones. I honestly never saw anyone stressed. Nor did I observe drama of middle school life, anger, or kids just flat out not working. Now I am not stupid and realize that these things exist, but it was not prevalent and not part of the learning atmosphere created in the several schools we visited.

- trust where kids move seamlessly from place to place along with teachers. Some kids were outside, some moved to the commons, some were working on this while others worked on that.

- Excitement for what the were doing. The students wanted to share their work. If you asked one student you were going to be asked by others to see their work.

-The idea of a teacher being the all mighty epicenter of knowledge was non existent.  I know this is major reason why some teachers teach so they can be the all knowing being in their classroom domain, but you did not see this despite the unbelievable knowledge some of these teachers have.

- Collaboration and brainstorming as if we were meeting with litle ceo's or business teams.

- Time to just work, try out ideas, and learn from mistakes

Does this sound like your school experience? I know this does not sound like my school experience and I feel robbed out of an education. I don't want my students nor my own kids to feel robbed either. It is time for change.

More of my specific thoughts on project based learning to come. I am still processing.

Sent from my iPad from the airplane

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