“Tic Tac Toe” Project Finalist in Microsoft Innovative Teacher Contest

So I kind of wanted to hate this project, b/c a) it’s a Microsoft Competition, and b) the project is so mired in the bureaucratic context of grade-school that it begins to sound like something out of The Office:

2009 U.S. Innovative Teachers Network: Columbus East High School, Columbus, IN from Carrie Hipsher on Vimeo.

But as I listened to it, what I saw was something different — a way to introduce some amount of choice in a bureaucratic system that aligns against student choice. A way to build choice into an environment where state standards and testing and the need for far too many documented outcomes pull one in eighty different directions.

I have two daughters in public school right now. Would I love to see a real revolution in education, where we did away completely with the one-size-fits-all curriculum? A thousand times yes. But failing that, would I like them to have the option, even in this strange way, of choosing projects which suit their unique talents better? Absolutely. They’ll be well on their way to college before the current idiocy in education is addressed. Whatever helps them in the meantime is welcomed.

I feel like I’m constantly in this spot, hating the reform by increments approach, but painfully aware that the students we have currently need more flexibility right now, if only by degrees.

I still don’t know what is right, but I think I have finally decided that these people are my friends, not obstacles in the path to a bigger revolution. We’re completely different creatures in some ways, but we can’t afford to be enemies.

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