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Education

School's Out Forever at SV High Tech High 190

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the money-can't-fix-everything dept.
theodp writes "Touted as a model of successful education by the likes of Bill Gates, Silicon Valley's High Tech High just held its first — and last — commencement ceremony, graduating only 21 students in its brief history. Despite the financial support of the world's richest man, the charter school cited money woes as it voted to shut its doors. Adding insult to the poor HTH kids' injury, the local public H.S. district plunked down $8.6M to snatch up their abandoned school and will turn it over to a brand new crop of kids in the fall."
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School's Out Forever at SV High Tech High

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  • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Wellington Grey (942717) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @11:38AM (#19628093) Homepage Journal

    Education is not about modern equipment. In fact modern equipment may seriously hinder education at times,


    Agreed. I work as a teacher and for 99% of tasks, technology just gets in the way. I'm also horrified at the number of my fellow teachers who think the Internet is some magical panacea where they can just plop a class down in front of a computer, tell them 'research topic X' and the kids will actually learn something.

    -Grey [wellingtongrey.net]
  • Re:Not surprising (Score:2, Interesting)

    by El_Muerte_TDS (592157) <elmuerte.drunksnipers@com> on Sunday June 24, 2007 @11:48AM (#19628141) Homepage
    That may be the case for you. But pen and paper and blackboards hinder me.
    There is no easy way to apply corrections to pen and paper. And a blackboard is not able to retain information.
    There are no easy ways to back up the data or duplicate it (of course xeroxing is an option for paper, but not for blackboards).
    A smartboard/interactive white/blackboard has replaced the ancient black/white board.
    Even a tablet PC and beamer is more effective. Teachers can sit behind desk and use the tablet to show stuff on a larger surface using the beamer.
    The only problem is that the technology is an expensive investment.

    Education is not about modern or old equipment.
  • Re:Insult? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cprael (215426) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @12:04PM (#19628249)
    Obviously you don't know the Sequoia Unified district. Once upon a time, I lived in their district - we moved out so I could get into a decent school. They haven't improved in the 26 years since... my wife and I just moved out-district 2 years ago, and with the exception of _one_ school, the rest of the district still sucks.

    Which is quite amazing, given that they draw from a ton of very bright, motivated, and successful families. Portola Valley, Woodside, Atherton, Menlo Park, Redwood City... that's where they get their students. Many of the best and brightest won't have anythingg to do with the Sequoia district, though, because of their ongoing problems. Bad enough that it forced the south county folks to set up a charter HS (which, note, is mentioned in the article cited).
  • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Compholio (770966) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @12:34PM (#19628421)

    There were 2 types of classes in college. Those that handed us out notes and went through a slide show and had us fill in some blanks and those that handed out nothing and wrote on the blackboard.
    My university has recently implemented a third type, which the GP appears to be familiar with, where instructors use a tablet pc and a projector instead of a blackboard. I am actually on the committee for helping to introduce this technology and I can tell you that it is significantly different from using a slide show. There are several major advantages to using a tablet (writing on it, not as a slideshow) over using a blackboard:
    • Ability to easily erase
    • Ability to reposition text at will
    • Ability to move on without erasing the board
    • Ability to save the entire lecture as a PDF
    In addition to that we have been experimenting with giving entire classes of students tablets. This then allows the instructor to ask students questions about the lecture (like "clickers"). However, by using open-ended questions where students respond in paragraph form, or by drawing out their answer, the professor can much more effectively gauge how students are learning.
  • by bangzilla (534214) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @01:24PM (#19628685) Journal
    I'm really pleased to see this happen. Yes - I do feel sorry for the failed venture that was High Tech High Redwood City (however High Tech High's in San Diego are, I understand, doing very well). Summit Prep graduated it's first senior class this year. 100% of seniors are off to college. Yes, 100%. Good indication that Summit is doing *very* well. My daughter loves the school, the staff and the students. Many High Tech High students have applied to attend Summit - some will get in, others will go to other schools in the district.
  • Re:Not surprising (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fbjon (692006) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @01:36PM (#19628759) Homepage Journal
    The solution is easy and very educational: learn to think about what you write, before you write it. Structure your writing, form the complete idea in your mind, avoid rambling down on paper. It's like the difference between structured programming and cowboy coding.
  • Re:Not surprising (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jaelle (655155) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @01:47PM (#19628849) Homepage
    Plopping the kids down in front of computers did wonders for my kids. My son taught himself electronics engineering with it.

    Of course, they were homeschooled...

  • Re:Not surprising (Score:3, Interesting)

    by niiler (716140) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @02:43PM (#19629179) Journal
    While you are correct in your assertion that one should think before one writes, it seems that you are not familiar with SmartBoards. You use them *just like regular blackboards (including erasing)* only you can save the lecture/edit it for later. This allows you to post the lecture to the web, hand it out to students who missed class (for any number of reasons, and generally have a record of your lectures for the purposes of review and class planning for the future. Additionally they are more hygenic as there's no dust (from chalk) or alcohol smell (from dry erase). The former always keeps me sneezing and cold prone during the school year and the latter is just irritating.
  • Re:Not surprising (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Wellington Grey (942717) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @03:41PM (#19629495) Homepage Journal

    There were and still are teachers who do the same thing, only they handed the students a library instead of the internet. It isn't about technology, it is about teaching.


    Except that teachers are rewarded by brainless administrators for 'using ICT in their lessons' and they get no such reward for going to the library.

    -Grey [wellingtongrey.net]

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"

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