By Sara Bernard
Last summer, 15 students from Chicago’s public school system were charged with answering this question: “How can 21st century technology enhance rigor, relevance, and relationships in high school?”
To answer the question, they interviewed teachers and community members, researched best practices, held panel discussions, and conducted a survey of 380 of their peers. They developed a 53-page document of 18 recommendations for Chicago Public Schools — titled “Bringing Chicago Public High Schools into the 21st Century” — as well as an entertaining video about the process.
It was a new twist on an annual project led by Mikva Challenge, a Chicago-based nonprofit that enables youth leadership and civic involvement through activism, electoral participation, and policy-making. The Education Council, as these 15 students are called, advises the CEO of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) on a variety of issues every year.
The 2010 Education Council had plenty to say — and they’re certain they’ll be heard. Among their suggestions:
1) Allow access to restricted Web sites like YouTube for educational purposes.
2) Hold technology integration training workshops for teachers.
3) Use cell phones as a “teacher-defined learning tool.” Continue reading