After viewing the film, ‘Most Likely to Succeed’, I am left feeling both inspired and anxious about the future of education as we know it. I had never before considered the last major change in the structure of schooling in North America coinciding with the industrial revolution and the implications of that. I think that because different education systems have existed for centuries, I had never considered how the one I know was designed to serve the version of society being created at that time. However, as stated in the film, society has changed a lot in the last century, more so than any other in history and our education system should reflect that change.
High-Tech High school is an inspirational example of a new educational system designed to reflect and promote society’s new needs and values. With no class periods, no bells, no exams and no formal curriculum this alternative public school teachers combine subjects and propose inquiry based projects for students to work on collaboratively throughout the semester. At the end of the semester friends, family and members of the community are invited to explore what the students have learned through an Exhibition night.
I think that the educational model being used at High-Tech High School is rather fascinating. I love that this style of learning promotes self-directed learners, something essential in a society where information is increasingly easy to acquire on ones own. I also very much respect that social skills that are developed through this style of learning. Often I find group projects to be very stressful and frustrating as I lack the necessary trust and communication skills to be the optimal group learner. The projects the students work on at High-Tech High teaches them these social skills that are becoming increasingly essential in the modern workplace. I think that the idea of project base learning is very rewarding as humans have a natural want to make and complete things. As the video states, we get major satisfaction from creating things that we can be proud of and share with others. By engaging students in project based learning we can help them to activate that sense of satisfaction and nurture their love of learning.
I think that it’s important to note while I think this is a wonderful and creative new way to educate youth, this is a structure that wouldn’t work for all students. The idea of an exhibition night could be extremely stressful and upsetting for students who greatly fear peer judgment and the comparison of their work to others. This freedom that the students are given also may not work for some students who require the structure of traditional schooling to keep them on track with their work. As the film makes abundantly clear, we all learn differently and so there can be no single new educational structure that can truly supporting the complex individuality of learning.