This is Minarets High – the county's newest high school and a model for what public education might look like in the future.
Every student gets a laptop. Classes are focused on group projects instead of homework and lectures. After school, students and teachers text each other and use online tools to complete assignments. The library, called the media lounge, is furnished like a coffee shop with large windows and couches. The books are packed in a few rows of shelves in a corner.
In physical education class, students ride mountain bikes on nearby trails or jump over classmates in team-building exercises. When teachers go to conferences, they take students with them to help with presentations.
Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2010/04/02/2650461/fresno-tech.html?commentSort=TimeStampAscending&pageNum=1#ixzz0k3p6Z07U
I'm not convinced that students need so much to be taught how to collaborate, especially via technology. What they really need to learn, develop, and practice is focused, contemplative thought on a specific topic for more than a few minutes at a time.
While I recognize that out in the real world many jobs require people to work collaboratively, that assumes that each person has something to "bring to the table". Part of the purpose of high school is to allow students to learn so that they have something to bring to the table when they work with others. If they cannot perform specific tasks individually, what can they contribute to the group? And what about those jobs that require mostly individual work?
I also don't accept the dichotomy of "group projects" vs. "homework and lectures". There is a place for both, with "group projects" reinforcing what was learned in "homework and lectures". I'm of the belief that in education, the primary goal should be individual performance--that way, each person has something to contribute in a group project. Besides, there are plenty of opportunities at school to work collaboratively and build teamwork; not everything at school has to be taught in the classroom.
Yes, I'm talking about clubs, sports, and other programs.
Update, 4/4/10: A commenter says that the article is wrong about the "group work" focus. Be sure to read it to get an alternate perspective.