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Zach Both

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How would you redesign the current high school program?

I have the opportunity to help completely redesign a local high school program. There's no debate that drastic reforms are needed and I was hoping you would have some ideas on what should be added, what should be altered and what should be scrapped altogether. I'm looking for a wide range of answers from specific details to broader ideas on the whole system. Don't hold back. Im looking forward to hearing what you have to say.


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    Dec 8 2011: I'd just like to come back to the points system in gameification for a second. I agree completely with the positive message that you are trying to send with it as in you are earning by learning rather than losing marks for not knowing things. In Ireland the secondary education system is run on a points system basis. You spend 5-6 years in school, the first three of which are all built up to one big exam called the Junior Certificate. The idea is that you get an idea of what you want to do during these years and then narrow down. So after the JC you take 3 mandatory classes (English, Maths and The Irish Language) and 4 optional subjects from a list of 20, then study these for 2 years and sit the Leaving Certificate exam. The LC is points based ie. an A plus=100 points an A=90 etc. Then college courses here have entry requirements eg. Journalism=440 points. You are graded on your top 6 subjects and those points essentially decide if you go to college. On paper it is a good system but the arts and creativity are very undernourished. I just said I would use this as an example of where a gameification points system could go wrong!

    Zach I like your idea quite a lot. Giving them three years of experiencing many different subjectsand then having them focus further in their final year is a very sensible way to go I think. However I would suggest that you not limit them to one subject or even one area in their final year. Perhaps allow them to take two options and focus in on them. It will give them a broader view on things in my opinion. As well at that age I dont think anyone is sure of what they want to do for the rest of their lives! A student may pick one thing to focus on and by the end of that year find they have no long term interest and are left high and dry. Have a look at work placement with local businesses too. We run that here and it works very well. Hope this is of some help!

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