This trailer depicts the lives of 6 HS students from the US, India and China. The documentary focuses on the lives of teens as they study, live and play throughout their 4 years, or 2 million minutes, of High School. Seen by some as a controversial video, it will be screened at the Teaching and Learning Celebration this weekend in NYC. More than debatable, it begs the bigger question of 'What Do We Know?" Does this film depict ordinary lives of HS students around the world? Is the message the important lesson to take out of this pic - that we all need to know what is going on in the world around us, so that ultimately, we can compete?

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Comment by Blanca Duarte Martini on March 31, 2008 at 1:43am
Mike, during a recent staff development day some departments spent time viewing this trailer and discussing their own curriculum development as a means to answer the question, "How are we preparing our students to compete in the 21st century global workplace?" As a group, we've decided to put together an integrated curriculum using Technology Education, Library Media, Computers, Business and Family and Consumer Science. As many of these standards overlap or compliment each other we thought it might be interesting to see where those overlaps occur and strengthen the ties between them. It might be possible that standards for information literacy are all occurring in our Libraries. If the standards are in check, then perhaps the responsibility of the computer teacher would be to reinforce and not to develop, base knowledge. This includes Internet Safety as well.

As we work through the curriculum we will try and develop projects to create authentic learning experiences for students that will be multi-disciplinary. Difficult, perhaps, but as these content areas lack a state assessment, we feel it's a place where we can take advantage of flexibility, at least for the time being. We are going to try and purchase the video and hold voluntary sessions for it afterschool for those who are interested. If we are able to open it up to others we will and keep you posted.
Comment by Michael Keany on March 4, 2008 at 11:02am
I have purchased the full documentary and can agree, to an extent, with Ms. Duarte. I plan to share the video under a licensing agreement through Western Suffolk BOCES and will be very interested in the reactions of a broad spectrum of educators. My concern is not with the number of engineers produced by the various countries but with the perception (perhaps reality) that the United States is putting much less emphasis on learning and education in general. A recent Wall Street Journal article discussed the high scores attained by students in Finland. Many reasons were cited but I was struck by the fact that in Finland, public libraries are built connected to shopping malls. When children are born, parents receive a starter library of reading materials. Finland subsdizes schools in disadvantaged areas to provide equality with more affluent areas. Finland has one of the highest standards of living of any nation in the world. Coincidence?
Comment by Blanca Duarte Martini on March 4, 2008 at 12:31am
What I find fascinating about the video is that when you read about the documentary ( and you compare it to the trailer, you see large differences in the way the teens are depicted. These teens are certainly more alike, it seems in the writeup, than dissimilar, as the trailer would have you believe.

A movie like this makes me wonder about whether the US is really different in the way that it teaches compared to other countries. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. What is the current US International workforce? Is the US losing ground? Where are the facts that show global disadvantages to being born in America?

I'm interested in holding a discussion about what the message of this movie is and how we can create change because of it. How can we affect the system with the data we have available? As leaders in education, we need to know what is going on in the rest of the world, in order to know what we need to compete in it. How do we get there from here, (when we've gone so much already) is the question.





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