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Education for the real world

December 19th, 2012

News Coverage:

Education for the real world

Students learn more than concepts in classes

Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 4:00 am

BY TONI THRASHER tthrasher@h-ponline.com

This semester, students in a Viking New Tech science class are learning about river pollution and its effect on the ecosystem. In another class, students have put together a presentation explaining the basic concepts of the Chinese language to first-graders. 

The age-old question, “When will I ever use this in real life?” isn’t asked here. The approximately 200 students in the Viking New Tech program apply the concepts they learn to everyday situations.

Paige Humphries, a Viking New Tech teacher, said the idea behind the Viking New Tech program is to teach 21st-century skills to students. Students can then use these skills in college and, later on, in the workplace.

“They’re not just learning content, but they’re also learning how to be professionals and how to present their projects and materials to a group of people who are waiting to get their information,” she said. “It’s all project-based learning. They do projects as opposed to the traditional lecture. They learn through creating products and doing projects.”

Humphries said there are no specific criteria for students to be in the program.

“There are no criteria in terms of grades,” she said. “It’s a big variety of students on all levels.”

New Tech students have a core set of classes in the New Tech program and other mainstream electives, known as “passport” classes. Students participate in sports and other extracurricular activities as well.

“They can take science electives, band, choir, all of those things,” Humphries said.

Students in the program seem to enjoy it.

“I like how we learn other things,” said student Lauren McCullough. “You learn what you need to learn, but you also learn how to be professional and other things you would need in the real world.”

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