In this article by Suzie Boss, Edutopia explores research underway that asks if student leadership, technology, and project-based learning can better prepare students to stay in college.
In high-poverty neighborhoods of Los Angeles, students attending Alliance College-Ready Public Schools have good reason to be hopeful about life after high school. This network of 21 public charters has sent more than 95 percent of its graduates on to college since it was founded in 2004. But we all know that getting into college isn’t the finish line. “What does it take to stay in college? What does a student really need to know to be college-and-career ready?” asks Toria Williams, director of innovation and technology for the Alliance. “That’s an ongoing conversation here.”
Some of the answers about college readiness may soon emerge from an initiative called College YES. Funded by a five-year, Investing in Innovation (i3) grant, College YES emphasizes project-based learning, student leadership, STEM education, and technology integration as building blocks of student success. Generation YES, a nonprofit that encourages students to take a lead on improving their own education through technology, is partnering with the Alliance to implement College YES. To track results, Gen YES has introduced a technology platform that’s custom-made for PBL.
This custom platform, TechYES, is something that we have been working on for quite a while. It complements the way students and teachers really work on projects. This project-based learning environment includes lesson planning, customizable rubrics, student portfolio space, and a three phase assessment built in. It also allows teachers and students to align projects to the Common Core and ISTE NETs standards for technology.