Reinventing Secondary School:
An Investigation of a Polytechnic School Model Focused on Industry/Community-driven Design Projects
Keywords:Design-based Learning, Secondary School Transformation, Integrated STEM Education
Higher education and industry leaders seem to continuously call for transforming the way learning occurs within schools to better meet the needs of students, society, and the workforce. Many attempts have been made to address these calls such as increasing integrated STEM programming in schools, providing after-school robotics activities, as well as developing novel school models. One such innovative model, the focus of this study, is a polytechnic high school model developed in collaboration between a public research-intensive university and several industry/community partners. This model was developed to be implemented in urban settings with an emphasis on serving minoritized youth through design project cycles created with local industry/community partners rather than through subject-specific classes. It can be valuable to investigate a school model that has been created to have this design-based learning approach as its central focus. The purpose of this exploratory study was to understand 1) how teachers perceive the influence of the school model on the learning of students from diverse backgrounds and 2) how teachers view their own experiences working within the school model. This study examined pre/post teacher surveys to provide insights into how the teachers believe the school model is working with respect to students' ability to perform within this style of design-based instruction and any challenges faced by the teachers to implement the school model. This information can help to inform those who seek to provide different learning environments for students through restructuring schools around industry/community-focused design projects. This paper will introduce the components of the polytechnic school model, detail the emphasis of the industry/community-driven design cycles, highlight the methodology used, present some preliminary findings, and discuss insights and recommendations for secondary schooling.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Deana Lucas, Greg Strimel, Vanessa Santana
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