Tech4Learning is once again privileged to host a High Tech High intern in the month of January. On Thursday, I got to meet this year's intern, Nicholas Harding, to discuss and plan the work that he might do while at Tech4Learning.
I have an ideal position at Tech4Learning to lead an internship because I am involved in marketing, curriculum, training, and media devleopment. This makes it is easy for me to come up with a range of tasks students could complete as part of an internship. But which ones are interesting and allow them to create something that demonstrates how their skills and hard work can create something valuable?
Last year, our HTH intern Jacob Meyer designed beautiful backgrounds like this one that are now part of the media library in Tech4Learning tools!
As Nicholas and I began talking about his interests, I could see that he loved writing... Not writing for marketing, but writing stories and interesting, imaginative stories.
As a company that provides creative tools for students, we have lots of potential tools for telling a story. While I love digital storytelling with Frames, I didn't think this was the format that would most interest him.
I have always loved Choose Your Own Adventure© style stories and suggested this as a potential format, showing him how you could design this type of story in Share using a basic template.
It was fun to watch his mind start buzzing as he shared two archetypal characters he likes write from and how he might use this format to intersect their stories. When we began looking at what sort of deliverables he could write down for each week on his internship form, the scope of doing real project work hit me once again.
Many of the teams at Tech4Learning use an Agile system to help manage projects and time. This system comes out of software development, but we use it many different areas to manage projects done by our marketing, curriculum, and creative team.
Once of the things I like about our scheduler is that it forces us to take a look at the actual steps to success as well as estimate the time we think it will take to complete them. As we looked at trying to break up the process into component parts, the month-long intership started looking way to short!
I was struck by how much planning for the internship reflects the process of planning for project work in the classroom.
The rest of the day my mind began buzzing with ideas. Not ideas for the project (ownership of that belongs to the intern), but things I could be thinking about to encourage other students and educators to tackle big projects like this in the classroom. I even discovered that I had arleady written a lesson on writing a Choose Your Own Path lesson plan!
First, as a company that produces blank-screen software, a final product like this helps clarify they type of things that can be done when students are given license to take time to create. This would have the potential to inspire teachers to support projects like this in the classroom and to set expectations for students about the type of work they can and should be producing.
But even more than thinking about the final product, I am excited to witness the process of creating something at this level and to see where watching and supporting Nicholas's process takes me, the mentor!