imagine cool schools

Image by crises_crs (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Picture the new technology that could come out of XQ: The Super School Project.


Take half a moment to imagine a new type of experience, one that today’s fifth graders will see as freshmen. (Then comment below, Tweet it, post in a blog, or just holler at your neighbor!)

“Laurene Powell Jobs is starting a $50 million project to rethink high school,” reported the New York Times in September, “…to inspire teams of educators and students, as well as leaders from other sectors, to come up with new plans for high schools.”

Two questions dominate, when I try to do it.

  • What are we able to do?
  • What do we want to do?

If my sons were in high school now, I would like them to:

  1. understand what is expected by the school, the state
  2. explore subject area content on their own
  3. have a greater stake in their own education
  4. (to be named later)

azwaldo and sons, circa 2011
(nobody here is in high school)


State education standards impose mandate dictate prescribe a path to follow. Does that practice end up limiting our children?

Do young people know that the state requires certain things from their education? I wonder how many even care. What would I have thought at fourteen years of age, if someone had offered to show me curriculum documents?

A teacher when my boys were young. I knew how to read, interpret and align state standards. I also knew how to find them.

Today, we can make it easy for students and parents by placing it right there in the school’s space on the web. While we’re at it, why not share the links used as course content? Why not let ’em know what is actually required…how it pertains to what is being assigned.


Given the maze of information that is the Internet, how far would students go on their own if they had a roadmap?

Where a course makes use of any number of websites, whether it’s Wikipedia or the National Institutes of Health, from stories to simulations, why not make it all available…at any time?

We have the technology to monitor progress online. When a learner is up to date in Trigonometry, provide a path to dig deeper; or, set him loose to preview what’s next in the course. They could even dive into another subject entirely.


What does a classroom look like when all of the students feel responsible for their learning? Wouldn’t it be natural to take more ownership…once they’re free to chase learning, and knowing what’s expected?

It’s like a movie, in my head…

  • Man walks into room carrying big cup of coffee.
  • azwaldo
  • What’s next in your World History roadmap, Son?
  • Teenager, seated on sofa, taps his handheld, looks closely for a moment at the device, then raises his head.
  • Adam
  • Looks like I’m entering the Enlightenment
  • Teenager smiles.
  • azwaldo (V.O.)
  • School’s cool.


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