School of the Future - Part II

By Tony Franklin, Solutions Specialist @ The School of the Future

It's been a while since Mary Cullinane wrote about the School of the Future partnership in her blog that chronicaled the planning, implementation and opening of this one of kind school. I have the distinguished honor of continuing this critical blog with insight and inspiration into the successes, challenges and issues that we face on a daily basis here at the school. At least that is what I'll attempt to do.

Where have you been? -  

Let's first catch you up to speed, whether you've been to the school or not everyone should understand what this blog is about so before I answer the above question I think you need to read about the who, what, when, where and why, so start here which describes the partnership, mission and vision of the School of the Future. . 

Next, I don't want to waste valuable space in this blog to talk about me or the intent of its posts, so click here to read why I've been chosen to continue with this insightful perspective.

Now that you're up to date, let's start with the end in mind, or I'll say goal because the goal of the School of the Future has always been to try and answer the question of "what if?" What if Microsoft partnered with a school to try and achieve education reform? What if there were a school that offered opportunities to Learners (students) that would normally have been marginalized because of their grades, behavior, learning ability, or income level. What if we figured out how and what technology can improve the engagement of learners in class? What if we stood side by side with Educators (teachers) as they struggled to figure out how to educate  learners that have been passed along into High School but cannot read at a kindergarten level. What if?

That's where I've been for the past year and half, and hopefully you'll help me answer some of those questions in this blog. Let me start by saying my background and profession is in Technology Integration, I've been working with Teachers for over 5 years understanding how new technology succeeds or fails due to a variety of reasons in the classroom. I've spent my career speaking with and teaching people how to use technology but nothing can prepare you for being one of the few Microsoft people at the School of the Future. 

So does that mean things are good? 

Yes things are good, we've overcome many hurdles at the school since its opening 3 years ago,  we've had to deal with changes in leadership, budgeting concerns, reporting requirements, and many other challenges that are part of building a school from the ground up. Not to mention a school that is associated with Microsoft (not owned as some people believe), strives to be innovative, has a 1:1 laptop program, and doesn't use textbooks. During the course of the next couple of post I'll discuss these in depth, I think I'll put it up for discussion amongst the reading audience, what would you like to hear about first? The project model? The technology? The Learners? The Educators? you can decide.