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From Tiny Houses to Big Ideas: What I Learned from an Innovative Minneapolis Charter School

Exploration High School: "Public School for Public Good"

Last night, I had the incredible opportunity to join an EdTech Meetup that took us through the halls of Exploration High School in North East Minneapolis. Newly opened in the fall of 2021, the school proudly carries the slogan, "Public School for Public Good".

Their unique approach breaks from traditional 'learn first, apply later' models. Here, students learn by doing. They are directly involved in tangible projects such as the Uncommon Construction program, where they get a chance to create real structures - like the tiny house I saw on my tour! 🏠

Tiny house currently under construction by the students through the Uncommon Construction Project.

On top of it, these students are assessed not only on their abilities to build and create but also on their growth in soft skills, such as communication and teamwork which are crucial to the workplace.

I even had a moment to sit in a classroom 🎒, listening to the values these wise young minds had created. A testament to their growth and the school's vision!

Exploration High School Classroom: Photo from Eric Nelson, Event Organizer

Witnessing this refreshing model reminded me of the critical need for education to continue evolving, to keep up with our fast-paced world.

Which brings me to ChatGPT and the recent advancements in AI. In the same way that Exploration High is reinventing the way we approach education, tools like ChatGPT are changing the way we learn, work, and communicate.

The leaps we're making in Minnesota's EdTech scene are exciting, with people in our community looking at classroom data and machine learning to better predict student performance and identify students in need of more or different resources. Additionally, they are looking at ways to design tools for lesson plans.

It was inspiring to hear from other attendees about their groundbreaking contributions to this evolving landscape.

The future of education is hands-on and tech-forward, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to attend events like this that I can share with you.

Monday, June 12th, the students are doing a public exhibition of their learning and I can't wait to attend and see their projects. Hoping I can get my Little Sister from the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program to join me.

As always, would love to hear your thoughts.

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