Friday, June 29, 2012

Take Aways from High Tech High

After seeing and experiencing High Tech High, here are some of the things that stand out in my mind:
  1. Pride of Ownership: The Students at HTH are proud of their community, their school, and their work. They know and understand their community intimately, and can describe their involvement in it. They have a connectedness with their school that goes beyond the physical. Their years at HTH are preparing these students for their future, and they will tell you why and how. Finally these students take great pride in their work. Student work covers the walls and hallways at HTH: the cleanest wall I saw there was one students had just finished mudding, sanding, and repainting after dismantling the vertical garden they had build on it. 
  2. The Strength and Pervasiveness of the HTH Brand: The High Tech High culture is robust, even in when school is out! Students, Teachers, and Administrators will all tell you the ways in which Peer Critique, Student Exhibitions of Learning, Student Presentations of Learning, and Internships have become foundational in their lives as learners. Everyone has bought into these essential elements, and they are working well! Much of it comes from Work that Matters: A Teacher's Guide to Project Based Learning
  3. Students before Curriculum: Its evident that in designing projects and student work that Teachers are primarily concerned with students engagement and excitement. They want their students to create a product that they will connect with, and take pride in. They want each project to allow for :
  4. Personalization: student voice and choice
  5. Differentiation: access and challenge for all learners
  6. Adult World Connection: authentic interactions with adults in the world beyond school
These are the factors that I saw making the biggest impact on student learning at High Tech High. True the context was Project Based Learning, but I would saw the projects work in conjunction with these elements and are not the driving force behind the school's success. 

I am just getting into Prensky's Teaching Digital Natives: Partnering for Real Learning and would say the Pedagogy he's preaching very much falls in line with the Pedagogy of HTH. Don't let the name of the school or the title of the book mislead you, its not about Technology.  
PS. I apologize if these links are broken. The HTH site was down when I was drafting this post. Leave a comment and I will try repair them later (It's not about the Technology)

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