Saturday, December 13, 2008

Innovative teaching and learning

Listen to this video of Larry Rosenstock of High Tech High School featured on Edutopia.

This speaks to the heart of what school needs to be and the differences that exist by those who follow a new model and those who blindly continue the path they are going.

This is worth a listen. A principal and CEO who has thoughtfully designed a school that supports and empowers all learners to be their best vs. all students in a cookie cutter type of environment.
No matter the roll out of technology, it will not matter if there is no ethic of care, a focus on everyone as a learner, and a true collaborative environment.


  1. Louise, thanks for pointing out this great video. I'm curious about the collaborative time for teachers; Larry Rosenstock talks about teachers at his school meeting more than one morning a week to discuss student work and how to improve learning. I am a firm believer that teacher practice and student learning is improved if the collaborative time for teachers is part of the daily schedule. It was also interesting how he mentioned that teacher teams that met in the morning were focused on how to improve things as opposed to those meeting near the end of the day.

    At my previous school, we tried a couple of ways to allow for collaborative time for teachers. For two years different teams met every Monday during the Weekly assembly. Another year we had early dismissal on Fridays and teacher teams met once students were dismissed.

    Does your school incorporate time for teachers to collaborate?

  2. Thanks for this post. I have come across other materials concerning learning through video games, and I am interested in the idea.

    Below is my transcript of what Rostenstock says about this topic in this video. He says it after observing that kids will sit for hours and days playing video/computer games in which there are many setbacks and disappointments, playing on and on nevertheless. Here's what he says: "…isn’t there something that we can take away from that pedagogically, if we were to change the nature of the transaction? um, and so there’s a lot of opportunity there. So, at High Tech High, from the beginning, we’ve said that you can’t play video games unless you made them here, and they can’t be violent, and they have to be educational." "I want kinds, again, producing not consuming; I want kids making, making those things."

    I'm really glad he brought up the topic, but I wish he had gone into more detail. I wonder a number of things, such as: what does he consider "educational"; and what does "violent" mean, exactly. I have a suspicion that games that fit his rubric of what is educational and that are also cleansed of all kinds of conflict that he might consider violent might seem a tad dull, especially to boys. I'm pretty sure that every video game I ever enjoyed (I am male) involved some kind of violence, whether a less intense, cartoonish kind, or a more realistic kind.

    Finally, I understand his desire that the games be created at the school, as this involves the kids in producing, not just "consuming." However, it seems to me that this approach might be quite limiting. What level of programming would really take place? Would it satisfy the students' hankerings for the sophisticated kind of programming they are used to outside of school? Why not satisfy both objectives by allowing the kids to employ outside-produced games that are both highly sophisticated and extremely customizable, and so allow for a lot of user input and creativity? Surely games that prioritize children’s personalization and in-game creativity shouldn’t be dismissed as strictly “consumption.”

    I think that by disallowing games that have been produced by professionals with many years of development under their belts, not to mention degrees, or for that matter games that might be produced by, say, educators, we may perhaps be fatally limiting what is available to the kids. I say "fatally" because the effort to introduce gaming to kids as Rostenstock suggests sounds, with all due respect, like it might be slightly DOA. I wish he had said something that would prove otherwise.

    I am very interested in the topic, but I don’t know that I want to embrace his limitations.