Transforming learning and assessment / Te panoni i te ako me te aromatawai
Larry Rosenstock, founder and CEO of High Tech High, shared his story during the opening keynote of ULearn 2016. From carpentry to law, success doesn’t come in straight lines. When Larry set out to write a book, instead he built a bungalow. Larry took us on a rich journey, remembering the past, in order for us to change the future. And Larry is certainly changing the future, with the creation of High Tech High, an equity project, guided by four connected design principles, equity, personalisation, authentic work, collaborative design. High Tech High Learning comprises of thirteen charter schools (ECE-secondary), Recognising the value of having students from different backgrounds working together, High Tech High has grown from a national to an international mosaic of learners and teachers.
We need to start with reimagining, we must begin and end with the learners, with a large dose of craziness. Rather than segregating subjects, the students themselves drive their learning, finding authentic contexts, within their community. For example, when the students realised that rattlesnakes and mice were not going to help our learning they needed to find a way of eradicating these naturally. Hence, the ‘Owl’ project was conceived. Who says algebra is boring, when it can be ‘Calculicious’.
If we consider what students should know and do in the 21st century, we may include collaboration of multiple perspectives, curiosity, and persistence to name a few. With project-based learning, there are endless opportunities to create something authentic and new. At High Tech High, they are interested in how students react, apply and create, integrating the world, beyond prescribed subjects - collectively learning. Along the way, they are developing authentic 21st century skills and knowledge such as self assessing, critical thinking and creativity. Larry questions how can teachers model 21st Century curriculum in 19th century work environments?
In the words of Paulo Freire, Knowledge emerges only through invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world as with each other. In other words, as educators we must pursue the relentless creation of invention and reinvention.
Larry is confident we can DO this, in fact, if we value our future, we must. With the integration of mind, heart and hand, the integration of our school and community, we conclude with a peal from Larry’s Grandmother, there are two types of people - those that THINK there are two types of people, and those that don’t.
Image created by: www.reflectiongraphics.com
Joanne Robson, CORE Education 2016