Forget the wading boots for the educration hype about High Tech High. You need a hazmat suit and oxygen tanks, because there’s nothing here but organic fertilizer of the equine fecal variety.
The article from the Philadelphia Inquirer is nearly breathless in its enthusiasm for … what, exactly? Why, the technology!
Philadelphia’s $63 million “School of the Future” – built under the guidance of Microsoft Corp. and hailed as a first-of-its-kind model for technologically advanced schools worldwide – opened to its first 170 freshmen yesterday in West Philadelphia, as hundreds of parents, dignitaries, and local and national reporters looked on.
First announced three years ago, the new school and its technology left students in jaw-dropping awe: A laptop for every child. Lockers that open with the swipe of a smart card. A fully wireless building. Virtually no textbooks.
Not even an encyclopedia in the library.
“It’s going to be as close to a paperless school as we can manage,” said Ellen Savitz, the district’s chief development officer and manager of the project.
Plasma screens, ceiling projectors, interactive white boards, and laptops abound, and classroom furniture is on wheels to allow for group work in varying configurations.
So we have smart card lockers, a wifi building, plasma screens, laptops, projectors, and interactive white boards. What’s missing here is any explanation of how, exactly, this relates to education. And since we’re used to college campuses where every inch is covered by a wifi signal, rooms with projectors and technology, plug-ins in the desks for laptops, and all this cutting-edge stuff that’s ten years behind the times, we’re not impressed. So what? Right Wing Prof can teach the same content just as easily and effectively with a black board as he can an interactive white board — and he know sthis because he’s done both.