Transformed by Technology and Project-Based Learning: High Tech High

Uploaded by edutopia on 13.05.2010

>>Narrator: In this converted navy facility near the San Diego Airport
thoughtfully applied technology is transforming public education.
>>We're going to want to focus on the advertising throughout the school.
>>Larry: They're doing things, they're producing things
so the purpose "tech" in High Tech High is not for consumption.
It's for production.
>>Narrator: A former high school carpentry teacher with a law degree,
Larry Rosenstock became founding principal and C.E.O.
of High Tech High in 1998.
>>I tell our visitors who come here "Stop any child that you want,
grade six through twelve at random and ask them what they're working
on and watch what happens."
They'll look you in the eye and they'll talk to you
about what they're working on.
>>Alex: So what we're going to do in this class is we're going
to make a movie or like a documentary on everything we learn.
We're learning about physiology but we're also learning about like
after effects which makes videos and stuff
so we're bringing them together.
>>Narrator: High Tech's 2,500 students gain entrance by a lottery
and represent a cross-section of San Diego's public school population.
>>Jeffrey: Okay, trace it out.
>>Narrator: And whether they choose to focus on the arts or sciences all
of them are engaged in rigorous projects.
>>Teacher: And the one thing we want to be careful about is
that we don't add your DNA to these samples and you come
out in the end with your DNA barcode-
>>Narrator: In an 11th grade biology class students are developing a DNA
barcoding process that will help African law enforcement officials
convict poachers.
>>Teachers: These are photos that I got last week from one
of our collaborators in Nairobi.
This is an eland.
>>I know everyone is really serious about it because it's a serious issue
but this is really a lot more fun than you'd be able
to do in any other classroom.
>>A lot of people donate stuff because we are a non-profit.
>>Narrator: Whenever possible, projects are designed
to serve the local community whether it's creating a storage system
for the YMCA.
>>David: We have a new storage facility-
>>We can actually take this out.
>>Narrator: Or designing an assistive technology device.
>>David: She used it for the first time and moved that bar up
and down the paper for the first time herself.
Her eyes just lit up.
It was the first time that she'd been able to do something on her own
and it was just the students were tremendously touched, I was touched.
It was just a really amazing experience.
>>What's going on here?
>>It's a fat that builds up.
>>Narrator: Instead of grades on high stakes tests at the end of the year,
students are assessed on an ongoing basis.
>>Rob: Assessment is not an endpoint; it's not an end activity.
It's something that goes on moment to moment
so teachers are always checking for kids' understanding and so forth
and we're always asking kids to in a lot of different contexts to kind
of describe what it is they're working on,
what it is they've discovered, what their plan is
for the next day and so on.
So assessment is folded in.
>>Jeffrey: Good work guys.
>>Student: Alright, thanks.
>>Narrator: They are also judged on their individual digital portfolios
and their stand-and-deliver presentations of learning.
>>Student: I will start this presentation of learning today
with math and physics followed by Spanish I
and finishing off with humanities.
>>Christopher: Instead of taking finals at our school we do POLs,
which is a presentation of learning where we get up in front
of the whole class and the teachers and a whole panel of people
and tell them exactly what we learned this year, how it can be applied
to real life, and how you've developed in critical thinking
or developed in other things.
>>Narrator: Students are also assessed on their contributions
to group projects like books on the ecology of San Diego Bay.
Larry: These are really high quality efforts by kids as opposed
to memorizing 3,000 biology words to prepare for the AP exam.
We want kids behaving like scientists,
and behaving like photographers, and behaving like graphic artists.
>>Narrator: The High Tech model is working.
>>Student: Point one which is that line-
>>Narrator: The original high school has grown into a network
of eight public charter schools.
>>Jeffrey: And maybe you could put that same kind
of text here, here, and there.
>>Narrator: And 100 percent
of High Tech High graduates are accepted to college.
>>Jeffrey: I really believe in this place.
I've been here since the beginning
and I think it is absolutely the true way to learn.
>>Gabby: And the brown is fine in the background?
>>Jeffrey: Yeah the brown is fine as long as you put those words in.
>>Okay, thank you, Okay?
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