I had such a great day listening to Marco Torres yesterday. He showed us this nifty pen too-LifeScribe-fitting..... I first heard about Marco Torres back in 2005 when I was looking on a favourite website of mine (Edutopia) http://www.edutopia.org/ and then again, his name appeared in our first summer session of TLITE....I was hooked. My fascination for Project Learning (http://www.edutopia.org/project-learning) was in 2003, while at UBC and a guest instructor of Technology Education told us about it and Edutopia. Since then I have been getting a subscription to the magazine and have made it my mission to always include some aspect of project-based learning in my teaching.
I am convinced that students at many of the secondary (and elementary) students in the lower mainland would benefit from the approach that Torres takes. He speaks about it here: http://www.edutopia.org/marco-torres-empowering-students-through-multimedia I hope to have the opportunity to see him and his students in action one day. I loved his feelings about how students are often recipients rather than producers of information and learning. I also loved his analogy to a cooking website and how creative it was in comparison to what schools offer kids in terms of school web pages etc.( I think of Sharepoint too.)
While Torres is dealing with a high school drop out rate of 85%, and many children with little or no access to technology at home, there are similiar issues here in some of the schools. In my neighbourhood...one of the postal codes: Grandview Woodlands, is one of the poorest in Canada! There is a higher percentage of Native/First Nation students as well as ESL and special needs. Torres's student population is made of of predominentally Latinos. The main difference is that his school has 5000 students, and most of ours have less than 2000. I am definately going to keep his ideas in mind while doing my field work in an Communications (English) 12 class.