The first iPhone was introduced in 2007 and just look at how much of our lives has changed because of that model. We have instant access to the world's knowledge through a quick google search. If a thought or question pops into our heads, we can share it with thousands of others or snap a picture and send it off to our closest friends. There is no more waiting for anything related to information. And high school students today have basically come of age with these amazing tools at their fingertips. The idea of researching a topic with a bunch of books in a library is completely foreign to them. And while this is a very different mindset than what most teachers know and grew up with, it is no less real. There is no putting the genie back in the bottle. If we want to connect with kids and help them to develop skills that are useful in today's high-tech economy, we need to figure out how to use their strengths and digital modes of learning and communicating.
Chapter 6 looks at a few models of teaching that are very different from the norm. Their primary difference from the typical US education model is that they are very student-centered and aim to provide personalized support to ensure that the students each succeed and live up to their own potential. Contrast this to most American schools that have strict requirements for all students to take the same classes and pass the same tests, creating a very homogeneous student body.
High Tech High, in particular, offers a very intriguing model where student learn through projects. They are faced with a challenge or problem that they must research and apply what they learn in their content classes towards real world applications that they can actually connect with. Teachers act as coaches and mentors assisting students in the learning process, guiding them through inquiry, design and construction. They have to clearly demonstrate that they understand all the moving parts of a project and the underlying lessons behind them.
HTH, along with the other schools that are reviewed, seem to do a wonderful job of nurturing the whole child and offering many options for demonstrating their learning. This is a great change from the typical classroom filled with lectures, worksheets and quizzes.