Pontfications on the field of Educational Technology and Instructional Design.

Bare with me as I ponder the meaning of education in the 21st century from the perspecitive of an instructional designer.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Let's Smash High School!

A smashing idea!

I think high school needs to be broken into two...or three, or four pieces! That's right! Smash it to smithereens! Of course while literally smashing high school campuses into pieces might delight the imaginations of teenage vandals, it wouldn't exactly solve any problems with our high school system. However, letting instructional designers develop a new multi-track system by breaking high school up into multiple tracks might solve numerous problems.

One size fits all?

If you ever spent any time inside a high school locker room, you know that one size definitely is not for everyone! Some kids are way beyond their years, while others are just starting to grow up. This same idea holds true when it comes to education. A one track and one topic educational system isn't for everyone. Multiple tracks in high school could solve this problem. By multiple tracks, I am referring to different paths that students take after middle school to refine their education. For example, students who are more artistic could take a "literature and arts" track in high school that expands on their more creative interests. Other students with a technological bent might to take a "science and technology track". It doesn't just have to be two tracks, either. School systems might return to the ROTC model for a track that puts students into a workplace environment part of the time where they learn from a future employer how to perform a job well. The more we allow our high school students to choose their interest, the more likely they are to remain interested in their education. A multiple track system can also be a life-line to those who have struggled with the "mainstream" educational track.

Come-on...Everybody is doing it!

Doesn't that phrase bring back those high school memories? Unlike smoking or drinking, however, there are valid reasons why everyone is doing it when it comes to multi-track secondary education systems. And while I hate to admit it, many European countries have been doing multi-track systems for decades.

In France, students can choose between a "stream" in science, economics, humanities, professional (think ROTC) and eight technical streams. In Germany, students are funneled into four different "schools" based on their academic abilities and interests. German students may enter apprenticeships in grade nine or ten. Other, more academic minded, Germans may stay in the "Gymnasium" until year 13 of their education.

So, my point is, why don't we do our research, begin to find out which societies are having the most success with their secondary systems, and begin pilot testing some of these systems in US districts. We will never know if it will work for us until we begin to research and bring back multiple-track systems in the US.

Hand over the keys!

Who better than to tackle this project than a team of educators…preferably trained as instructional designers. We can analyze the best track system model to adopt, design and develop a new model according to best theory and practice, put it into practice, and evaluate its success. Oh Yeah! I'm ready.

Note: This is for Futurewatch 4.

1 comment:

Shelly said...

I love Mr. Edtech! I'm so glad he used his smarts to have an opinion. I live in Germany and several of the citizens do not like the multitrack system. However, I think the students are faring better somehow and there are significantly less problems with test rates and crimes rates among adolescents. This may be attributed to the population. However, living here for awhile, I attributed to the cultural differences and education system which forces students to be responsible at a very young age.