Consumption vs. Production
Since we opened High Tech High, we have had the mantra with technology that we are about “student production, not just student consumption.” By this we mean that students have many opportunities in life to consume more and more media and technology. Merely having a school where students consume even more content is not what we need. Instead, we think 6th graders should write a picture book about Ancient Egypt for younger children, 10th graders should write a book explaining connections between chemistry principles and major world events, seniors should create a “multimedia exhibition exposing hidden paradigms, underground cultures and unresolved issues,” and juniors should build launchers to study the concept of projectile motion.
When I think about what is happening in the area of blended learning, I wonder about student consumption and production. I mean, I like Khan Academy and MIT open courseware as much as the next person. But if blended learning means kids sitting in chairs consuming content off the internet, I wonder if we have progressed as far as we need to. I wrote about one promising example of students creating something in an online course. I am interested in more examples of this nature.