We live in a little bubble, up in Napa, California. We get caught up in our daily lives of attending classes, doing our projects and getting the work done. But did you know, that in between those six-week progress reports, there are some incredible ways that New Tech Penguins are influencing the world of education and changing the way the world operates? You thought you were just a student a high school that's just a little different, but little do we all know how powerful our work really is. Let me enlighten you!
While attending the Education Innovation summit for HundrED in Helsinki this week, I've had the chance to chat with educators from around the globe, doing incredible work. We've heard keynotes from people doing deep and meaningful work teaching disadvantaged children important life skills, to teenagers who speak at the United Nations and are changing the way we talk about and act on global environmental issues, to project-based schools where students travel the world solving problems as they go. Let's just say that the people in the room are BIG players on the education stage. These are people who are moving and shaking the world for good.
In the midst of the speakers, one representative from HundrED presented the results of the most recent youth survey about what students want to see in the education world. Students from all over the world were invited to weigh in on what issues were most important to them as learners. This survey, is now being used to inform policies moving forward this year on the global stage and has been shared with hundreds of the big players mentioned above. Most of the answers they received came from the U.S. If you look at the graph, about 140 U.S. teens answered the survey out of about 400 students world wide. Guess where about 100 of those responses came from?......New Tech Penguins. That means that a quarter of our student body have contributed their feedback to the very people who have the power to make serious change in the world of education! Do you remember filling out that survey? Thank you if you did and pat yourself on the back, you are now playing on the world stage!
We don't even know the impact we are having!
It strikes me that as staff and students at New Tech, we don't even know the impact we are having on the world! It's time to review some of the really cool things we are doing and revel in the kudos a bit. I share these, not to brag, but to help you wake up to the very important work we do every day, whether you realize it or not.
Kudos on this last year of work!
Besides influencing global education decisions Penguins have accomplished some great things:
1) Students worked directly with software folks at Adobe to develop Photoshop for the iPad and their names will appear in the credits for the software when it is released
2) We tested and helped to develop software we can't even talk about yet, something that will affect students all over the world when it is released.
3) We are in the process of creating a Lighted Art Project which is expected to be seen by 20,000 visitors in January.
4) We have modeled how teens can work with adult mentors, locally and from across the world in meaningful and effective ways. Our latest mentor from London had nothing but glowing things to say about our students.
5) We have started movements that change the way people over-consume in our society. Our work has led to real personal changes in how we ourselves make our consumption choices.
6) One student recently spoke at key education conference, Fusion, about what we do at New Tech with Project Based Learning and Portfolios, in front of hundreds of educators.
7) Three students have attended leadership workshops at Stanford and brought back ways to more effectively do school, creating a task force and activities with tangible next steps.
8) One student last year, was featured on an NPR podcast, allowing our innovative learning process to be heard by hundreds of thousands of listeners.
9) The 9th graders have modeled integrated learning through one inquiry question with many teachers on the team. There is potential to share what is working and not working with educators in all sectors.
10) We have received awards for Best in Show and Best in Category for two student films in the CA Student Media Festival.
11) Many penguins met with world renown filmmaker, Francis Ford Coppola to learn about how he sees the arts and film in education.
12) Film club students created a video encouraging people to vote in the mid-term election that got almost two thousand views.
13) Our Blog Portfolio program, as imperfect and young as it is, is influencing people from Vietnam to England to Brazil. We are an international award winner, recognized in a list of top 100 global education innovations.
14) Penguins won Best in Show and 1st Place in the Big Sur Division in the Engineering Arts Alliance Competition in San Francisco.
15) One New Tech student had art shown at Adobe Max where 4,000 creative professionals had the opportunity to view the work.
16) One New Tech student was presented as the Young Man of the Year at the Men Making News 12th annual awards ceremony.
And this was just in the last year. I haven't even mentioned things that have occurred in the last couple of years like talking with Anita Hill about her documentary in the cyber cafe, or having a student serve as an youth member of the Napa Valley school board, or the building of our tiny houses, or the year we won the ultimate frisbee championship, or, or, or.
So how will you view our school? Will you complain about some small detail or see the larger picture? Our learning is truly awesome!
How can I say all that I want to say about these amazing things we've done! It's not about getting a swelled head, but it IS about waking up to who we are and how powerful we can be. I see students who do not take advantage of all the mind-boggling opportunities that are available to New Tech Penguins, who do not value what we have at New Tech, who do not see the possibilities. AND I see students and staff who do realize what players we really are on the world stage and how much influence we can have on the world around us. I want to invite you to be a part of the latter group!
I get so super-excited about the possibilities and see that we can do so much more, dream bigger and take advantage of our unique position as a school and as a learning community. Will you get excited with me too? What we are doing in our little school has consequences beyond our limited viewpoint.
It turns out, that WE are BIG players too! Whether we feel like it or not.
It's time we stepped more into that role, saw ourselves as the global change makers we really are and acknowledge what our little school has done and what it can do in the future. Stay woke out there. You are attending an incredible school. Get everything you can out of being here at New Tech, engage and act as though you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by thinking big, and the world is yours!
Lisa Gottfried is a CTE teacher with 20 years experience as CEO of her own Video and Motion Graphics Production house. She currently teaches Intro to Digital Media, Video Production and Game/3D Design. She loves her job and her students!