High Tech High and Networks of Ideas : Mindworkers Posted on | July 10, 2012 | Comments Off High Tech High and Author Reflected Today I published a long-in-the-works case study of High Tech High, the collection of schools in San Diego County that follow the same design and operating principles. Each of the 11 HTH schools is small, a maximum of 125 students per grade, and personalized. Each of the schools follows a project-based curriculum that requires students to make connections to the adult world, through projects and internships that are critical in helping students set their sights higher and aim toward college. Each of the schools follows what the school calls a “common intellectual mission” integrating head and hand. Finally, the schools work around the principle that it is the teacher who designs the curriculum. Like all visitors, I was charmed by the schools: Students having fun while fully engaged in projects. But it was a public policy puzzle that drew me to HTH. In many ways, it’s idea leadership at its best. Comments
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What’s the Best Way to Practice Project Based Learning? By Peter Skillen Project Based Learning can mean different things to different people, and can be practiced in a variety of ways. For educators who want to dive in, the good news is that a rich trove of resources are available. In order to create your own definition and practice, here are some parameters to consider. We like to think with the frame of continua rather than dichotomies simply because things are rarely on or off, black or white, ones or zeroes. You could likely add other dimensions to consider as you build your own understandings and beliefs. Who is in control? Who is asking the question to be investigated in the project? If the projects are collaborative in nature, you may wish to consider the amount of interdependence that students have with one another. Is the content a rich, deep problem space or is it a more narrowly focused content area? How authentic is the problem under investigation? This post originally appeared on Voices from the Learning Revolution. Related
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Wheaton High to model project-based learning for Montgomery County schools This is project-based learning, where educational instruction moves away from a traditional academic setting to an active classroom that encourages collaboration and communication among students. As the Montgomery County Public Schools system plans to replace the Wheaton High School building in Silver Spring, officials aren’t just aiming for physical classroom overhauls. They’re also planning to redesign the curriculum, expanding a project-based learning environment that will resemble adult work settings and real-life situations. It is part of a larger quest to “redefine the school” and prepare students for “21st century education,” Schools Superintendent Joshua P. “Critical competencies for workers now include skills and knowledge acquired beyond a high school education as well as the ability to apply learning, think critically about information, solve novel problems, collaborate, create new products and processes, and adapt to change,” Starr said. School projects aren’t new.
Project-Based Learning Professional Development Guide An overview of the Edutopia professional development guide for teaching how to use project-based learning in the classroom. Edutopia.org's Project-Based Learning professional development guide can be used for a two- to three-hour session, or expanded for a one- to two-day workshop, and is divided into two parts. Part one is a guided process, designed to give participants a brief introduction to project-based learning (PBL), and answers the questions "Why is PBL important?", "What is PBL about?", and "How does PBL work?" Part two assigns readings and activities for experiential PBL. Students Follow the Butterflies' Migration: Teacher Frances Koontz shows students a symbolic butterfly sent from children in Mexico. The Resources for PBL page includes a PowerPoint presentation (including presenter notes), which can be shown directly from the website or downloaded for use as a stand-alone slide show, and sample session schedules. Continue to the next section of the guide, Why Is PBL Important?
Pilot Profile: The Menlo School | Makerspace Editor’s note: This week, Stephanie Chang gives us an overview of the making happening at The Menlo School, one of the MENTOR Makerspace pilot schools in 2012-13. Dr. James Dann (pictured right) and his students in his Applied Science Research (ASR) class have exhibited at Maker Faire for the past five years. James asked to join our network only if he would not take this space of another school just starting out, and if we felt that what he has learned running the ASR class would be valuable to our other pilot schools. In one corner of the classroom sits a hand-built air hockey table, designed and created from scratch by two high school girls in Dr. A scientist by training who had a career at CERN before he dove into education, James Dann teaches not only Applied Science Research but also freshman physics and AP Physics C. Students spend the first five to six weeks of a 14-week semester making a motor. Students in ASR embark on a second-semester project of their own choosing.
Manor New Tech Think Forward is a dynamic institute designed to train educators in best practices for Project Based Learning (PBL), Leadership, and 21st Century Skill Applications. Over four busy days, participants explore every aspect of the PBL process, from development and sequencing of data-driven projects constructed around state standards to the seamless integration of available technology in the classroom. All participants create unique, original projects, ready for implementation, and are assigned nationally recognized mentors from Manor New Technology High School who will further coach them once they have returned to their campuses. To register, contact Steven Zipkes, (512) 278-4875, firstname.lastname@example.org or Laura Lopez, (512) 278-4875, email@example.com Come collaborate with other PBL teachers and keep current on PBL trends.
Further Thoughts About Teacher-Run Schools : Mindworkers Posted on | February 1, 2013 | Comments Off The discussion about teacher-run schools prompts me to jot a bit about why I am fascinated by this small, iconoclastic form of organization. I am, first of all, simply charmed by the schools I visited. They are interesting places full of interesting people—both faculty and students. Why, then do we care? When teachers run their own schools, the pedagogy is different. Assessment is different, too, rooted in examination of student products and an overall sense of whether the student is thriving and making progress, the education equivalent of holistic medicine. When teachers run their own schools, they create better jobs for themselves, but not in the selfish sense. The craft skills these teachers display are much more consistent with 21 st Century information production than they are with early 20 th Century industrial production, on which contemporary school systems are modeled. Comments