Friday, 2 October 1998

Student Capabilty in HE

I wrote this for the Times Educational Supplement back in October 1998. It refelcts on how universities might change to reflect the incoming capabilities of a new generation of students.

Looking back, I don't think universities, in general, have made any of these potential steps forward and indeed a little later, in 2001/02 after a discussion with the Financial Times, I asked Mark Constable to survey all UK universities (which he did very creatively and well) to see to what extent they were offering progression and continuity to this new generation of technology capable students. To say the results were bleak is an understatement and it is now clear that universities, with a few honourable exceptions, now stand as a huge barrier to the progress we might make with ICT in learning.

A virus of 1970s managerialism (with its dated emphasis on standardising, on planning by budget, on input-output and on disaggregation) seems to be rushing through HE just when we need the collegiality and agility that used to characterise the sector.

Probably the only hope now is to establish a host of new tiny, agile, focussed, new universities... but more of this elsewhere.

Developing students' ICT skills

All universities in the UK (and most around the world) are currently dedicating resources to the task of advancing their students' capabilities with computers. In many cases those resources are very considerable indeed. So, what is needed?, what are the choices?, what works and what doesn't work?, what other strategies might be adopted to make the most of this investment?

Before starting it is worth reflecting that software and hardware both change rapidly and this change will continue, accelerating even. There are two consequences that result from this pace of development: firstly, in the three years of a typical undergraduate's life vast changes will occur (where were on-line learning communities or pocket Java tablets back in 1995 for example?) and for this reason it is always wisest to focus on the meta skills that transcend the simple operation of any one particular package. It is substantially less important that a student can work on a unique software application (for example, a particular version of WordPerfect) than that they are able to understand the defining functions of most word processors and apply them to their writing. Secondly the capability of incoming students is advancing as rapidly as the technology and this applies to both those arriving straight from school and from those mature students arriving from the workplace. Yesterdays roomful of wide eyed computer virgins learning a suite of standard applications has gone. Students enter higher education with a wide range of technical expertise, with a diversity of hardware and with a multiplicity of mail service providers. Students coming directly from school have a curriculum that prescribes these levels of capability with precision for example.

So, what strategies work in these new and changing circumstances? Just as agreeing a book list with the library well ahead of the semester start is essential so agreeing the software packages essential to complete a module and ensuring that adequate training resources are in place will be essential too. At the departmental or faculty level if there are essential tasks or applications (for example building 3D animations in architecture, or exploring AVID cards in media degrees) there will certainly also be strong one on one training materials available for students to use in their own time, at their own pace. Some software comes with ts own comprehensive help built in, often with complex "Help" options to illustrate the power of an application; the availability of good support material should be a deciding factor in any university's software purchase decisions - what use is cheap software if the cost of learning to use it is astronomical?

Beyond these "in the box" help solutions other training materials vary from largely ineffectual video examples (watch me and learn...) to bespoke CD-ROM products that offer "at your workstation" support for both basics and advanced techniques. Key2's excellent Training on CD series offer full scale screen recordings of how to do everything from basics to what they describe as "cool stuff" and "masterclasses". These individual materials provide student capability at minimal cost to either the students or to the faculty but a necessary organisational detail is the provision of (ideally) 24 hour access to the computer equipment to fit in with individuals needs and schedules. CD-ROMs tutorials can be borrowed on short loan tickets of course, just like library books.

Many universities have found that a mentor system will allow existing undergraduates to trade their support of incoming freshers for better access to a computer suite. As with the infamous pyramid selling student capability widens at an almost exponential rate, again at minimal cost. A combination of self help materials and mentor support will yield really rapid results.

Beyond this immediate support at faculty level there are three cast iron rules of thumb that minimise the problems universities face with improving student capability:

Firstly, do anything to encourage regular use and activity. Many universities find that the simplest and most effective strategy for increasing the ICT capability of incoming students is to place an ethernet socket in the bedrooms of halls of residence, advertise the fact well in advance of student arrival and wait. Regular daily use breeds capability. Similarly 24 hour access suites are dramatically more effective than 12 or 18 hour access.

Secondly, motivate student use. Simply requiring students to word process their essays will neither change the world nor their levels of capability. On the other hand offering a first 'rough mark' of word processed drafts which can then be refined and 'finessed' will immediately and dramatically improve motivation and capability and demonstrate where the real pressure for open access areas lies. Similarly making an email debate between students a key precursor to a face to face seminar with the tutor will dramatically turn around the students' capability with email and, as many universities have found, also signal an early warning of poor motivation or shallow engagement. Make it part of the course and capability happens.

Thirdly, reward student capability. Many universities now offer a computing "driving test" but tying this into the minimum pay rates offered by university student employment agencies is massively motivating in the current impecunious climate. Students with computer capability can and do attract better part time work. Advertise and support this.

A substantial student group, that cannot be addressed by self help materials, or by the carrot and stick rules of thumb above, are those mature students who have minimal exposure to computer technology. They often report fear, stress, alarm, despondency and worse of all a loss of their fragile esteem whenever they are sat near a computer. However research suggests that it is not a techno-phobia at work here but a simple lack of vocabulary. Not knowing what the 'proper name' is for the components of a computer screens display leaves an underlying fear of 'making me look a complete fool' and this is at the root of the stress and fear. For this group a quiet series of sessions around a large projection screen literally becoming comfortable with the vocabulary of computer life is the most effective capability builder. Armed with the right words, asking for help from peers in an open access lab is far less daunting.

Finally it is worth remembering that many universities come at the whole problem from the wrong direction. Students by and large these days are ICT capable. But that capability is often with some other application, some other computer or some other mail system to the university's "standard". Standardising university procedures and systems to minimise training problems only exacerbates the difficulty. The more you prescribe, the more students fail to fit that prescription and are then in need of support and training. The opposite is more likely to provide a cheap strategy that will be future proof. Design systems on the basis of student diversity and the need to support or develop student capability will be immediately diminished. A large number of network points, a university policy wedded to Internet protocols only and individual choice will get by with a lean resource of self help materials and enthusiastic mentoring.

And that is cheap and achievable for all of us.

© Stephen Heppell October 1998

Sunday, 26 April 1998

eLearning (and Ultralab's Law)

I wrote this back at the end of the 90s (and can't remember what journal it was for... I'm hopeless at keeping a record of these things..., posting it to a webpage in early 2000 as well.

It was quite an early use of the eLearning term, (although I had also purchased the domain by then as well...!). Interestingly the page recieved a huge number of hits and I only move it here because the server it is on has been archived and swithced off. Re-reading, it is hard not to be depressed by the lack of progress that has been made, and I'll be reflecting on this going forwards, in a forthcoming podcast.

Anyway... enjoy this and chin up... we WILL get there!

eLearning underpins learning with technology, but that in itself is not new. The information that people learn with, and the conduits through which they communicate that learning, have always been both liberated and, paradoxically, constrained by technology. From the earliest primitive forms of writing through to the coolest pocketable digital media this holds true. On the one hand we are given new opportunity for contribution and expression, on the other hand we bump up against absolute limits to what can and can't be achieved with whatever the current technology is.

Early handwritten manuscripting presented an opportunity for those who could do it, but precluded the mass circulation of textual material. The egalitarian paperback heralded literature for all, but printed stories locked sound and moving image out of storytelling. The Internet appeared in the middle of a multimedia decade, but initially offered only a textual revolution. The mobile phone brought communication ubiquity, but with the barren screens of a basic interface. However 'wired' we might be, sometimes it is hard to see through the short-term technological failings with enough clarity and vision to appreciate the opportunities ahead. Thus even Microsoft failed to spot the potential of the Internet for some considerable time saving itself with a late, but vast, refocussing.

But worse yet, in our learning, commercial and social lives, at each moment in technological time, there are those who see the current state of technology not as a step on an evolving path of progress but as the epitome of progress, a pinnacle of achievement to be preserved and optimised in sacred trust for future generations. Those most closely wedded to the established order inevitably squeal the loudest ñ they have most to lose. The early church, for example, fought to protect hand illumination and scripting ñ and the power it brought them ñ from the coarseness of print, although that print gave us the novel. The print industry fought a rearguard action against the 'ugliness' of desktop publishing, although DTP brought a great critical awareness of the quality of printed material. Schools normally react to technological change by confiscating it to protect the past: ballpoint pens to save our handwriting, calculators to save our arithmetic, digital watches to save our analogue timekeeping, mobile phones to save our... er, well just because they are new.

These rearguard actions are fought with a passion that is all the stronger because there has been little critical awareness of the failings of current technology. For example, despite the evidence of widespread dyslexia, there is little critique of notational forms - text, the music stave, even notation in dance - as being technologically derived.

We prefer to see the learners as deficient rather than critique the medium. This is not to say: 'The past is dead, long live the future,' but to plead for an awareness of what is inadequate in the past, because of the inadequacy of past technologies.

In the commercial world, those fighting to preserve the status quo are eventually overtaken in their own sectors or organisations by 'new entrants without the blinkers of the established order Opportunities are grasped, profits made and the new technology becomes embraced as mainstream. In 1939, the New York Times famously said of the emergent TV technology: 'The trouble with television is that the average American family will never find time for it!' Today, the newspaper advertises on TV as a way to reach those who don't think they have time to read papers.

Sometimes that space between denial and adoption is measured in decades, sometimes in months. What is clear is that between those two phases lies opportunity. It is that space in which real progress is made and where we find the relatively few organisations exploring eLearning - developing the concept in a rapid and arguably quite subversive way.

The ground-breaking anthropologist Margaret Meade suggested that we should 'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.' In the space between denial and adoption lies the opportunity for that 'small group of thoughtful, committed people' and it is my contention that in a technologically-advancing world, the most fertile moment for change lies within that space. Therefore, may I introduce with due humility, Ultralab's Law: 'With new technologies, between denial and adoption is the space for innovation and that is where radical progress is made.' On the Internet this moment was found in those early days after the world wide web protocols became public and before the monster mergers like AOL Netscape Time Warner EMI - between 1993 and 2000.

All this is fascinating in the context of learning and education. Education moves slowly. It is conservative in nature because real children and real lives are precious. It consistently und ervalues the ability and ambition of children with the result that, at best, it coasts along, while at worse it regresses. As nations increasingly compete through the ability of their education systems to deliver creative and productive economies, the ability to take best advantage of the innovative space indicated by Ultralab's Law becomes critical. Miss that opportunity and the engine of learning is shunted into a siding - worthy, quantifiable, but stagnant and stultifying.

On the other hand, the resolute pursuit of change for the wrong reasons can rush the system so far down the wrong track that there is no opportunity to return, as those few US universities built entirely on the 60's technology of multiple choice questions - cheap but reductionist - are finding. The problem is, of course, that the (appropriate) conservatism of education reacts so slowly to the opportunity of new technology that the Ultralab's Law moment can easily slip by and opportunity is lost as we confiscate rather than innovate. In a world economy, this loss may prove fatal.

At Ultralab we have a number of illustrative projects developed within that fertile moment of innovative opportunity. From 1993, with Nortel, we ran - and are still running - Learning in the New Millennium (LiNM). It allowed us to link primary and secondary school students together with scientists and engineers in Nortel's laboratories in an ambitious on-line community. In the earliest days of the worldwide web, children had the freedom to innovate with their learning and they found that, unsurprisingly, young and old worked well together, that individual identity mattered, that the teacher's role remained pivotal and much more besides. This one project had a greater impact on policy and practice than any other, because it began at the most fertile moment for innovation.

Shortly after LiNM began, we embarked on School OnLine (SoL) with the support of the Department of Trade Industry and a host of companies from the digital electronics sector: BT, Intel, Motorola, Nortel, Digital, Apple, IBM, RM, Mitsubishi, Acorn, EDS and many others. The project was built on database technology. Pages were generated by a combination of context and identity. Once it was clear who you were and what you wanted to do, the pages were 'bespoked' for you.

At one early stage we were criticised by one education quango because the database-driven model was 'not standard' and 'not how you are supposed to do it'. The forces of darkness were trying to clamp down on innovation, but it was too late, the project had demonstrated considerable success and won a number of awards, moving policy and practice forward as it did so. In particular we held confidential briefings for the project sponsors and it is clear, with hindsight, that those who attended have flourished since, whilst those who didn't have gone to the wall. This is not to suggest a causality, but that those companies open to new ideas and suggestion are most likely to be the survivors in a game built on the certainty of uncertainty.

A particular strength of the SoL project was the emerging evidence that to trust members in a virtual community, it helps not only see what they say about themselves, but also to observe what the various tasks and activities they are engaged in illustrate about their interests and predispositions. This was something we went on to embed firmly in our University for Industry pilot with Josh Hillman at the Institute for Public Policy Research the following year.

By 1997, it was clear that if we trusted students and expressed that trust by giving them great software tools, then we could be very ambitious indeed for what they might achieve. With Tesco and others we built Tesco SchoolNet 2000 (TSN2K) featuring a vast server filled, as we euphemistically suggested at the press launch, 'with opportunity' and fuelled by an absolute faith in the creative ability of UK pupils.

Again the siren voices of established interests suggested that we should do better to fill the server with 'content' and worried about the quality of work that children might produce. Their top-down delivery view of learning had little basis in theory or common sense and showed no understanding of the vast swathes of content already spread across the Internet. We ignored it and Tesco's faith never wavered to its considerable credit.

Of course, children produced stunning work. Given the task to research their own communities, they poured across the UK with laptops and notepads. Asked to write 'after the style of' their favourite author, they produced ñ often at 9 or 10 ñ work of the highest quality, delighting those authors as they did so. TSN2K has gone on to feature in the Millennium Dome and to be accredited in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's largest Internet learning project.

The clear lessons from all these eLearning projects have informed some of Ultralab's current projects, including, a virtual school for those many children not formally at school for various reasons, often beyond their control, and Talking Heads, an online community of new UK headteachers. Both projects have full Department for Education and Employment support and funding, and use the set of online learning community tools we developed with Oracle which became the project.

The maverick projects from the early days of the web had illustrated their worth and created opportunities for mainstream projects firmly within existing educational policy structures. The moment had been seized effectively, learning had become a little more delightful. But Ultralab is still a small research centre. What is needed is the ability of the whole educational sector to recognise the space between denial and adoption so that the whole sector can seize the moment safely and to continue to seize it as technology moves on.

First, if national educational policy is to move forward with confidence rather than hope, we need better meters of progress. Our bedrock of UK quantification, criterion referencing, has itself been a significant drag on progress. Naturally, it is seductive to define criteria and then observe education's ability to deliver progress, but this assumes no underlying technological progress. For example, we observe children's creative writing, set criteria, arm them with better tools ñ word processing, for example ñ and then are pleased by a small, say 5 per cent, increase in their performance. But, as we have observed over the past decade or two, word processors unleash substantial gains in productivity and creativity so that we should anticipate a substantial increase in performance, by 25, 50, or even 100 per cent. Thus our 5 per cent criterion referenced progress is in fact hugely underambitious. The consequence is children coasting, unstretched and disengaged.

Criterion referencing forces us to 'do that which we did before', resulting in the most innovative of children's work being pushed into marginal areas of children's learning - often outside of school altogether. In a Formula One race no one is impressed when a car performs better than last year's model, because technology has advanced. What is impressive is beating the other new cars in this year's race. Education, too, is in a global race, and 'better than last year' won't win it.

Second, we need to focus on process ahead of product. As technology marches forward the task for children of delivering product targets ('finished' work) becomes easier and easier, breeding complacency in education. If we are to offer formative advice and to support progression, we need to look at how they complete tasks rather than what they have completed. A good example of this missed opportunity is seen at the crossover from primary to secondary school where, nowadays, records of performance are exchanged, but the processes adopted by confident and often autonomous top juniors are not. The resulting disaffection is immediately apparent from the many, many children for whom the first year of secondary school is a backward step and often a first step away from their love of learning.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, primary school pupils were doing extraordinary things with the programming language Logo. Their problem solving was sophisticated and well documented, but secondary schools saw only the product of this complex work - geometrical pictures of flowers and cubes, for example - and not the underlying process. The result was that these confident and sophisticated little programmers were offered computer painting packages to 'move them on'. They produced better pictures, but could see this missed the point and that their abilities were undervalued and misunderstood. Any model of learning would view this as a disaster.

Again we observe the combination of children's ability to harness emerging technologies and education's inability to value or progress that capability ñ a key contributor to disenchantment, in this case at 11 years old. The irony is that new technologies allow us as never before to capture process, to archive consequent and subsequent drafts. Make no mistake, the refocus from product to process is an assessment revolution of considerable magnitude. We need it urgently.

Third, we need to value creativity above predictability. It is now well understood that standards do not mean standardisation, although in some countries around the world standardisation is misunderstood as progress. In 1996 the Japanese group Keizai Doyukai1 ñ similar in role to our Confederation of British Industry ñ took the cue of their under-performing economy to take a careful look at their education system. Where were they tending and culturing the inspiration that had produced the Walkman and all conquering gam es console? They found that good effort had been expended in testing Japanese school students and in comparing their scores to their peers around the world. Japanese education could be honourably presented as 'world class', but something important was missing. They concluded: 'The post-war education system in Japan sought to eliminate deviations in students and deliver an equal, uniform education throughout the land. This was effective in reaching the goal of catching up industrialised nations. Now however, the nation is in need of highly creative and independent individuals. Fostering individuals with these characteristics will require educational reform starting from the elementary level and taking at least 10 - 20 years to be effective.'

Their new focus on creativity began, characteristically, in that same year. What is interesting in their change of direction is the understanding that, as technology brings us more and more capability, our creative ability will become increasingly valuable. Seizing the Ultralab's Law moment between denial of the impact of a new technology and its widespread adoption requires us to have a clear view of what will continue to have value and need preserving. Of the many things children do at school or at home, the one least likely to be replaced by future technology is creativity.

As we look around the world at the children of those developers and researchers who are closest to the cutting edge, it is perhaps not surprising to find encouragement from parents to explore performing arts or art and design. Those most clearly able to view what is coming next are also best able to see what is worth keeping, so we might do well to note what they do with their own children. This is the beginning of an interesting cycle: technology pioneers see that a substantial part of their wealth and progress lies in an ability to harness and evolve creativity; they emphasise these attributes in their children using the generous resources at their disposal and presumably their children will often follow in their footsteps. For policy, it means we, too, need to embrace the uncertainty of a creative curriculum and build a national dynasty of creativity to power our economic success.

Finally, we need an honest technology audit of our existing education system. What are the elements of organisation and the curriculum that exist as a result of past - and superseded - technologies, and which are of value in their own right? Large schools built on the economies of scale of transport technology, same-age group class structures adopted because of the inadequacy of communication and organisation systems faced with the post-war birth boom, written examinations that grew and displaced oracy because we were unable to capture oral contributions for external moderation, and much much more will need an honest assessment. This process will have to be ongoing, for as long as technology advances. It is very hard to stand back far enough to be objective about such things, but it is necessary if we are going to be able to spot the places where new technologies might offer us the best progress.

eLearning has given us a great excuse to look again at how we manage and evolve our learning. If we establish the habit of continuing to look and time our innovations appropriately, our coasting curriculum might make the progress it needs to seduce learners back with real ambition for their capability. And this will leave us, literally as well as emotionally, on top of the world.

1 As quoted on the Keizai Doyukai website at

© Stephen Heppell 1998

Thursday, 12 February 1998

Teachers, teaching and technology in the new millennium.

I wrote this for what was Merlin John's always excellent section of the Times Educational Supplement back at the end of 1998, to be in the TES issue for the huge annual BETT Show in January 1999. Since then I have done simply heaps of work on school design and potential school futures. What does pedagogy look like in ten years? What schools should we build, organise and design? And so on (see elsewhere in this Writing Blog). Anyway, there are two rather jolly future scenarios here, both from the teachers' eye view. Sadly, I rather regret that the "productivity" model that Hitech High offers us is the one that has too often been built, despite the horror of scenarios like these.... oh bother.

Some years before that, with a group of friends in Bangor (like Roger Keeling, the first ever chair of ITTE and Dave Siviter from MAPE), we had enormous fun exploring some future school scenarios. I will try to find them and serve them up linked from this Blog. Mind you, nobody listened to our wise words of caution then, I'm not sure they will now!

Anyway, here is the piece:

One way or another, half the teaching population leave every decade or so. But half don't. Thus the current focus on teachers' professional development with ICT will be arming many teachers well beyond 2010 and colouring the expectations of many more new entrants. It is too trite to observe that the only certainty facing the profession in the next decade or two is of uncertainty. Necessitated by that uncertainty are clear choices for the the future of teaching and learning. Those choices mean that the simple equation of children plus technology plus government enthusiasm offers many potential results, not all desirable. We are not so much in a sprint race with countries around the world to to be the first to build a world class education system as facing an orienteering challenge: never mind how fast can we run, the bigger problem is which direction to take.

Ultralab houses the National Archive of Educational Computing and the short history of computers in schools offers an interesting insight into what has, and hasn't worked in the past. For example with professional development the archive is full of in-service support for the mechanics of technology. How to: connect a dot matrix printer, centre a heading in Wordwise on a BBC B, change fonts printing from a 480Z, master tables in Word, achieve text wrap around graphics in.... well, you can imagine. Sadly there is very little reflection on the changing processes that these difficult-to-master-technologies support. Clearly the issue is not "how do I make it work?" but "what can I do with it?" and this points to a real issue at the heart of all our learning futures: are computers teaching machines (to be mastered technically), where the answer to "what can I do with it?" is to use it for the standard and predictable delivery of a static curriculum, or are they learning tools (to be mastered pedagogically) where the answer is less certain, as computers take children not only further and faster than we expected but to areas we never anticipated at all.

The two scenarios offered here suggest two realistic futures and offer a contrasting view of the impact that ICT might have on teachers and teaching in the future. Both are possible; it is time for a clearer national debate about which is desirable. Now that the work to repair two decades of neglect of literacy and numeracy is well under way, maybe it is time for that debate to begin?

Scenario 1: HighTech High1

It's 2010. Rachel is a recently qualified teacher at HighTech High (motto "We aim high to hit our targets"). Rachel needed to be highly capable at using a computer in her specialist subject Geography at university and was able to do some highly original and complex meteorological modelling as part of her PGCE project. None of this though has proved to be particularly useful in her teaching career where vast suites of networked computers are dominantly delivering a tightly tested curriculum, from a vast commercial question bank, to individual students. With each child's performance and aggregate scores linked to their homes Rachel's main need for expertise is as both a technician keeping the teaching machines running and as a communicator. Most days she fends off disappointed parents ("but he is so confident at Scouts and swimming club, it's as though this printout is for another boy...") and parents who object to the American curriculum run on the network ("I'm sorry Mrs Vijage it's part of the deal we bought into with our local provider, the software is so much cheaper and they all love Robin William's voices...").

Like her partner, who spends most of his day analysing the diagnostic information from an engine analysis computer at a car dealership, Rachel's skill is in looking at the tables of moving aggregates and intervening by prescribing remedial before school courses. Rachel already has a string of certificates (many already out of date of course) testifying to her capability as a network engineer, and as a data diagnostician and she represents a considerable investment by her employers but her real aim is to move into a more creative job.

"Teaching can be satisfying" Rachel reflects, "Sometimes out shopping I meet children that I manage and I can remember all their numbers, but it's not the career I expected it to be somehow; I hope to move on up to a post with my partner at the garage".

Scenario 2: Apollo Community School

It's 2010. Hilary is a returning teacher, attracted back by the ethos of tiny Apollo Community School, just down the road from where she lives. As a returning teacher Hilary had no experience of either the few big workstations scattered around the school corridors, nor of the huge variety of cheap and cheerful Java based tablets that most children had in their backpacks. On the other hand she can see that the children are confident and capable with actually making their technology work, but what they need is her help and advice with their learning. Hilary's original expertise was in English, with a particular soft spot for Metaphysical Poetry. She could see immediately that whilst the product of creative writing hadn't changed much, the processes involved certainly had and Hilary immediately needed help exploring some of them before offering formative advice. She was cautious about the new "Finessing" function on their server's word processor for example and had already volunteered to be part of a small project evaluating the impact on her children's writing.

So much to do, so many paths to explore, the children constantly surprising everyone with new capabilities. Hilary takes her shared role as action researcher seriously and has developed a special relationship with many of the families around the school. Thanks to a vigorous and well populated community of fellow English specialists in a virtual corner of the Internet she is also able to both contribute to and learn from the rapidly evolving subject area that she loves. Her professional development is informed by colleagues all round the world. As a teacher returner, Hilary might not recognise much of the current broad definition of literacy but learning hasn't changed much and she still loves every exhausting minute of making it happen.

Does it all fit into such a hectic week? "Ah", says Hilary, "Had we but world enough and time...".

© Stephen Heppell 1998

1 no relation by the way to the rather excellent High Tech High in San Diego with its project based teaching and articulate engaged students. But we used the name High Tech High back in Bangor a very long time ago and so i use it without aplogy here too.