A New Start At New Tech

January 13, 2011

SIOUX FALLS, SD – A new high school in Sioux Falls is implementing an entirely different way of teaching students. New Technology High School uses project-based learning to teach in a more relevant way, and one student in particular has blossomed since the school year started.

Some students at New Tech High are just starting their project about immigration in their Spanissues class. The name is a cross between Spanish and Global Issues, and students will be making a documentary.

“I’m doing the history of immigration and I have free reign on what to do, so I’m taking the most creative approach I can take on it,” Kristen Barnhardt said.

Barnhardt is among the first batch of freshmen to attend New Tech High School, and she definitely stands out. Barnhardt has cerebral palsy, so little things like taking notes are hard for her. But she says it’s not an issue at this school, because technology is incorporated into everything the students do.

“If me and my friend Leah, who’s also in a wheelchair, want to take notes on the computer, well half the other students are taking notes on the computer too,” she said.

Rarely do students use textbooks or listen to lecture. But the most unique thing about New Tech High is that the curriculum is driven by projects. Students are graded on not just the end result, but also how well they work together along the way. It’s preparing them for the real world.