This Is What Education Should Look Like

My local paper, the Detroit Free Press, is running a wonderful story that should be read by educators everywhere. Bradford Academy is a local charter school serving 1100 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. A year or so ago, 75 seventh graders were given the opportunity to turn school reports about famous disasters into short documentaries. The kids were given access to computers, technical guidance, storyboarding direction, and more, and they worked on their projects for a year. They had to do the research, compile information, write the script, shoot the video, work on music and scoring, and more. Not all students made it all the way to the end, but those who did had their documentaries screened at a really nice local movie theater, complete with an Oscar night type experience (red carpet, tuxes and gowns, etc.) and an awards ceremony. What a great way to encourage kids to learn, while exposing them to technology in a meaningful way. I am more than impressed.

4 responses to “This Is What Education Should Look Like”

  1. Sid Wing Avatar
    Sid Wing

    This was the work of TRUE EDUCATORS! KUDOS to both the children and their teachers/faculty that made this kind of learning experience possible for them.
    The school my children went to (k -4) had a program for "gifted" students – of which most of my children qualified for. The sad part of it was, their idea of what to do with "gifted" children. Rather than something "cutting edge" like this, their idea of "challenging" the "gifted" kids was – If a child finished work ahead of their classmates, give them the same assignment to do again.
    When parents tried to organize and get involved, we were told that the school system just "didn’t have the finances" to do something more challenging. This may have stemmed from the fact that the town had not had a tax increase in over 15 years – but it was also populated by predominantly older people whose children were long past school age.
    Needless to say – I moved as soon as was physically and fiscally possible.

  2. barry.b Avatar

    far more profound is Sugata Mitra’s "hole on the wall" project.
    and in his case/experiments, it’s not just the use of computers, it’s how the children used them to learn.
    from an educators point of view, *this* is exposing them to technology in a meaningful way!

  3. Ben Doom Avatar
    Ben Doom

    Why, it almost sounds like you think that engaging students so that they apply real thought to the subject and simultaneously have some fun might be a good idea. Wherever did you get that idea?

  4. Drew Avatar

    I’m thrilled to see that there are other schools out there that are more concerned about ENGAGING the students in the learning process instead of going with a Pavlovian method of teaching towards the state’s benchmark testing.
    Now if only you could show that they did all their research aggregation and reporting with CF!

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