Classrooms of the Future at York School
"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." - Benjamin Franklin
Since its founding in 1959, York School has been at the leading edge of educational thinking and academic excellence. York’s early commitment to equal opportunity, made possible by a visionary financial aid program, was a groundbreaking idea that continues to distinguish York in the community. Early in our history we won the right for girls to play on interscholastic golf and tennis teams, paving the way for coed athletics throughout California. York has also been a leader and early adopter in environmental education, “green” facilities, and digital technology. Tonight we ask you to help continue York’s tradition as a visionary school by supporting classrooms of the future on campus.
It is vital that York have flexible learning spaces that allow students to collaborate and develop problem-solving skills to meet 21st century challenges. This year, our Auction Raise the Paddle will provide funding for such classroom facilities.
The York Fab Lab: Research in the science of learning shows that hands-on building projects help young people conceptualize ideas and understand issues in greater depth. A recent article in the International Journal of Engineering Education describes a research project where one group of eighth-graders was taught about water resources in the traditional way: classroom lectures, handouts and worksheets. Meanwhile, another group explored the same subject by designing and constructing a water purification device. The students in the second group learned the material better: they knew more about the importance of clean drinking water and how it is produced, and they engaged in deeper and more complex thinking in response to open-ended questions on water resources and water quality.
With your support, York will create a “Fab Lab” in the School’s current facilities maintenance shop that will encourage the type of hands-on learning, creativity, and innovation described above. With items such as laser-cutters, soldering irons, routers, and 3D scanners and printers, York students studying all subject areas – from science and math to history and art – will be able to apply what they learn in the classroom by creating things in the Fab Lab. This project will also distinguish York as the first Fab Lab High School in the Monterey Bay Area.
Renovated Classrooms: Through the renovation of existing classrooms, York will support collaboration and creativity through flexible learning spaces that provide for enhanced communication and project-based learning. Educational psychologists have argued for decades that students learn not by sitting and absorbing information but by finding things out for themselves, by “constructing” knowledge in social contexts. This has led to the adoption of “active” rather than “passive” learning in schools—class research projects, small-group discussions, and an emphasis on doing over lectures.
Our renovated classrooms will have tables and chairs that allow students work in various configurations, from taking notes independently, to discussing a topic in small groups, to sharing ideas with an entire class in a round-table format. The teacher can switch, almost seamlessly, from lecturing to discussion, from direct instruction to collaborative modes. We will also add LCD screens, whiteboards, and electrical upgrades, such as more outlets to accommodate student laptops and other devices.
So raise your paddle high and help us bring these exciting changes to York School!