17 January 2007

Education - Robotics Team Highlights Necessary Learning Environment

Education … is it fulfilling the dream of preparing students for their future?

I was going to begin this by pointing out how the majority of education provided in high school DOESN’T get students “out of their box” in terns of critical thinking skills. I’m not here to blame the students, teachers or parents for this … just stating my observations. The evidence for this is in low achievement scores, increased drop out rates from high school, fewer students attending high education, fewer high school graduates moving in to degrees in technology and science … that’s enough for now.

Then I remembered the robotics team at Carl Hayden Community High School in Phoenix. A school placed one block from a major freeway artery and in the poorest part of AZ. However, those kids have stunned the nation by consistently placing in national competitions, after they beat MIT (yes, the university). And yes, I have talked about this team before.

They are a poster example of students moving forward in developing critical thinking skills and demonstrating success from it. How? Well, their teachers say the class work takes place in a project based environment with students learning from each other, one where the teachers act as facilitators and not the typical instructor or lecturer. The classes for the robotics team won’t fit in a traditional school schedule and students come in to work before school, after school and on weekends …. WITHOUT having to be bribed or cajoled. Hard to believe but nonetheless true.

So, yes … education has the potential to teach students critical thinking skills they will always be able to use….. just have to locate where that class is taking place in your area.

More on the robotics team …..

Wired Magazine article

Washington Post article

Team Web Sites


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