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Faces of Learning San Diego — High Tech High

A little over a month ago, I spent a few days on the campus of High Tech High (HTH), a remarkable network of schools in San Diego that are, simply, among the best examples of public education our country has to offer. As you can see from the video, what distinguishes HTH is its ability to think differently about what a public education should look like — and accomplish. The schools are all housed in former Navy barracks, giving the school and its hallways an airy, open, almost half-finished sort of feel. Student artwork is EVERYWHERE, as are engineering and design projects, from robots to a whole wall of bicycle wheels, all connected via a long, single chain. It’s impossible not to feel creative — or at least to want to try something new. Beyond the aesthetics, I asked Ben Daley, HTH’s Chief Operating Officer, to help me understand the keys to their special sauce. “We make sure our teachers have time to plan with each other,” he began. “Their day always starts earlier than the students, so there’s built-in time for teachers to coordinate what they’re doing and provide the kids a more integrated learning experience. We’re also doing

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Lifelong Learning Radio Series — Crossing the Finish Line

Another week, another inspiring learning story from WAMU 88.5 FM as part of its ongoing weekly Lifelong Learning series of radio stories about people’s most powerful learning experiences. This week’s story comes from H.Y. Griffin, a Washington resident who works as a community organizer through AmeriCorps, achieved a big dream with a little celebrity inspiration a lot of community support. Take a listen — and please spread the word!

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Don’t Believe the Hype (About College)

It’s not what you think. I’m a proud graduate of the University of Wisconsin (and two graduate schools). I loved college. And it’s undeniable that the United States boasts some of the best universities in the world. I’m also someone who flunked out my freshman year with a 0.6 GPA. In fact, I’d say it wasn’t until I flunked out that I had a chance of being successful. I simply wasn’t ready for what college was designed to give me (aside from the unsupervised social time). Although my freshman-year GPA was surprisingly low, my freshman-year experience is unsurprisingly common. Too many young people simply aren’t ready for college, for a variety of reasons – meaning they either coast through four or five years and waste a ton of money along the way, or, if they’re lucky, they crash and burn so badly that they discover, for the first time, what it is they actually want to do with their lives – as opposed to what the adults in their lives have told them they should do. I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently since reading Matthew Crawford’s bestselling book, Shop Class as Soulcraft. Crawford, as you may know, got

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Learner Sketch Update

We got a great note the other day from Max Roach, a Utah-based educator, and wanted to share it as an example of how some people are using the Learner Sketch Tool with their students. How are YOU using the tool, or the other resources associated with the Faces of Learning campaign? Share your voice with us . . . —– I just used the Learner Sketch tool with my classes and WOW! It was fantastic. The class is 9th-12th grade Learning Strategies, a class where we explore the constructs of the mind and how our minds’ makeup interacts with academic tasks (among other things). This tool’s exportable PDF learning profile is a fantastic way to frame a meaningful conversation about learning outcomes as an expression of our cognitive strengths and weaknesses. -And of course that we all have them! What I like most about this tool is it gives students, parents and teachers specific strategies to overcome difficulties. I would recommend this tool for any classroom teacher, parent or student. Whether studying English, math, history, etc., every student can benefit from knowing more about how they learn and getting specific study strategies CUSTOM TAILORED to their learning profile. Here

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What’s Your Declaration of Education?

Those pesky EduCon folks are at it again. Earlier this year, I wrote about a small, networked, eclectic tribe of educators who attended a conference at Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, and who, with great energy and determination, pledged their shared commitment to bring about a different type of public school system by agreeing to the following core values: Our schools must be inquiry-driven, thoughtful and empowering for all members. Our schools must be about co-creating — together with our students — the 21st Century Citizen. Technology must serve pedagogy, not the other way around. Technology must enable students to research, create, communicate and collaborate. Learning can — and must — be networked. For me, EduCon was a Come to Jesus moment – a time when I found adults who shared my fidelity to a language of possibility that was solution-oriented, relationship-driven, and future-focused. And now I see that they/we are at it again, this time via a drive “to remind ourselves and our students that citizenship means asking questions, finding answers and standing up for what you believe in . . . and that education must mean that too.” The vehicle for this lofty goal is something known as

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