Technology buffs in the city of Brotherly Love are taking the School Without Walls concept into what may be the second-to-last frontier at Philadelphia’s Science Leadership Academy (SLA). At the SLA, “the first-year curriculum is built around essential questions,” Fran Smith writes in the April/May issue of Edutopia magazine. These questions include:
• “Who am I?
• “What influences my identity?” and
• “How do I interact with my world?”
“In addition to science, math, and engineering, core courses include African-American history, Spanish, English, and a basic how-to class in technology that also covers internet safety and the ethical use of information and software,” Smith writes. “Classes focus less on facts to be memorized and more on skills and knowledge for students to master independently and incorporate into their lives.”
According to Smith:
• “Students rarely take tests; they write reflections and do ‘culminating’ projects” and
• “Learning doesn’t merely cross disciplines—it shatters outdated departmental divisions.”
It remains to be seen whether the SLA can shatter outdated test scores that education officials would like to make a thing of the past.
Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.