Larry Rosenstock - The World is Changing...Schools are Not #FutureSchools

Larry Rosenstock speaking at Future Schools
I have enjoyed stalking Larry Rosenstock for some time now. I first came across him when I heard about High Tech High a couple of years back and then last year I was lucky enough to sit on a panel with him at EduTech. He was also one of the central players in the recent documentary 'Most Likely to Succeed'. So many reasons to be a ardent fan girl.

Larry began his talk by giving a background and insight into the path that led to High Tech High - a K12 charter school, now a chain of charter schools.

He then talked about the first teachers and schools, such as the basket weaver who taught others to weave baskets. He also talked of the great teachers he had and talked about the importance of thanking the teachers we loved and acknowledged the importance of the passion that they shared.

He talked about the importance of the Socratic Method - a technique that we see used at the beginning of Most Likely to Succeed.

Rosenstock worked as a carpenter and attended law school - which provides a lovely parallel of High Tech High which celebrates its integration of technology and academic learning - which also reflects much of what we do at Hobsonville Point Secondary School.

Campbell's Law
He noted that the above image is above his office and also cited the influence of John Dewey and the work of Paulo Freire. I also like that he noted that nothing they are doing at High Tech High is new, it might be unusual, it isn't new. Again, this reminds me of the work we do at HPSS. It is simply about actually using best practice and not simply doing what schools have done for the last 100 years.

Rosentock also noted that he visited 38 schools when researching schools, and talked of the mosaic of schools and started talking about the "American High School is still missing" suggesting a hole in the educational landscape that needed filling.

He then showed several projects coming out of High Tech High, each demonstrating the intersection of technology and academic thinking, many integrating Art and Math. One thing I noted was the way that learning was elevated by the beautiful spaces they worked in. Educational author Gail Loane talks about the power of learners publishing writing raises their status to author, I get the sense that at High Tech High the way student work gets exhibited elevates them to artist and inventors - something any school could learn from. Environment matters. Interestingly he then followed this up with a project where the learners actually published a book. High Tech High turns students into artists, inventors and authors.

Knowledge is socially constructed. This is a statement that appears to be at the heart of what Rosenstock and High Tech High does. Learning doesn't happen in a vacuum. As he kept flicking through projects, there was a real sense of authentic learning. Students solving real problems, tacking very real issues and producing very real products and actions.

"Thanks for putting up with me."

Dude, I love putting up with you.

Rosenstock then ended by answering my question about one piece of advice he might give traditional schools.

His answer:

End the autonomous isolation of teachers.

Break the siloes of subjects.

I agree, in fact here is a post from earlier in the year when I tackled this question:

Blue Sky High - Five things every secondary schools should do...now.

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