3 Replies Latest reply on Nov 16, 2016 7:26 PM by glen_w

    High school education based entirely on projects

    piuswong_pioslabs

      I spoke with the principal of a new independent high school in Atlanta, Georgia, where the students learn almost entirely by doing projects individually and in teams.  The strategy behind this comes from the principal's computer science background at MIT and her experience teaching at a residential school.  You can listen to the conversation about design, managing a school, and other topics here: Own Your Curiosity: High School Reimagined by The K12 Engineering Education Podcast | Free Listening on SoundCloud 

        • Re: High school education based entirely on projects
          glen_w

          Interesting idea - did you learn how the High School meets the Georgia state curriculum requirements? I always wonder how these requirements might be met when students select what they will learn and work on.

            • Re: High school education based entirely on projects
              piuswong_pioslabs

              Right, I wondered the same -- I brought that up (I think it's like 15 minutes into the episode), and she said a couple things.  First, as a private school they don't actually have to meet a lot of the same requirements as GA schools overall.  That said, her goal of course is to let kids get into college and pass AP exams, as well as satisfy parents.  So she does keep track of different educational standards in different subjects so they can meet those requirements, but it doesn't sound as formalized as state standards. 

               

              I think as a new school she'll probably evolve that system over time, but those are my words and not hers. I'm thinking now that, if the kids' educational plans are so individualized as it sounds, that gives a chance to the kids to think from even freshman year what colleges they might want to go to, if they want to do college at all, and they can plan their path based on what those colleges ask students to know.  I don't know if she does it that way.  Well, Mikala's definitely open to more questions, we can always email her if you're curious!

                • Re: High school education based entirely on projects
                  glen_w

                  Thank you for the thoughtful answer. I think it is possible to meet standards while doing Project Based Learning. Individualization may be more difficult in some situations. (For example, my classes have an average of 37 students in them. As a public school, my principal wants me to ensure all students are successfully understanding and learning all standards.

                   

                  The idea of such an individualized program may help more students work toward additional schooling. That can might be a big benefit.