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  • Writer's pictureJames Kerr

A Reflection on “What Schools Can Learn From Google. IDEO and PIXAR”

Setting all else aside, a visit to this site was a great choice if only the embedded video “High Tech High” were to be the prize for the effort. Although I learned much about roof gardens, bloxes, open space design, and purposeful accidental meetings from the general reading, it was the depth and clarity of vision expressed by Larry Rosenstock that fired my imagination and desire to learn more about HTH. The video is crammed with inspiration: 1)Students attach personal purpose and reason to learning, 2) Integration is the bottom line, 3) The heart of this school is literally embracing a social change agenda, (a real application of the Brown Vs.The Topeka Board Of Education decision). 4) Lack of segregation displays in multiple student contexts. Students of varied age, college-bound and not college bound, skilled with head or hands, all meet without the traditional boundaries of the industrial school model.

The school is compared to a liberal arts school and also to an incubator, a place where the learning and teaching base is what you love to do. The STEM agenda is paired with an artistic usage of technological tools. The reverse peer effect inspires students to succeed. Kids are treated with respect like adults (There are no adult bathrooms, only bathrooms )! The student projects are displayed, and “curated.” Rigor is defined at HTH as “a student being in the company of a passionate adult who rigorously pursues inquiry in the area of their subject matter and is inviting students along as peers in that adult discourse.” Glass walls define the open space where people can see each other and yet not be distracted. Students are not just studying, they are trying on adult roles. Fantastic!, 21st Century education.

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