Welcome back to the Digital Skillscast.
Every other week, we talk with guests who are passionate about technology, whether they are working for the companies who are developing it or working inside an organization or institution that is using it.
Our goal with these conversations is to leave you with ideas on how to better use technology in your own organization and to close "skills gaps".
Our guests include everyone from entrepreneurs leading innovating software companies to folks who whelp people learn how to adopt and use it. We want these conversations to help you better understand the technology landscape so that you can navigate it and help your own organization close digital skills gaps.
We Have Updates!
In the fall of 2017, we had the pleasure of working on a three part series with the Oracle Education Foundation about their design tech high school known as d.tech. Since the airing of those episodes, OEF and d.tech have had some pretty exciting updates.
On January 9, 2018, Design Tech High School (d.tech) officially moved into its new home at Oracle headquarters in Redwood Shores, CA.This is an incredible opportunity for students and staff alike, as they now have a beautiful new space to continue their work to teach design thinking.
“This is going to be a place where people accomplish things that seem beyond their reach, where you run into a problem rather than away from it, where you continue to do the unexpected and where people live dreams that seem too big to dream,” Dr. Ken Montgomery said at the ceremony. “This building is physical proof and a daily reminder of that possibility and that reality.” (Quote from d.tech's homepage)
While we didn't get to make it out to California to witness the ribbon cutting, we're incredibly excited to continue to watch the progress that the Oracle Education Foundation and d.tech are making.
As a shameless plug, we are also going to be headed to Oracle's Modern Customer Experience Conference on April 10 – 12 in Chicago where I will be a speaking on How to Deploy a Results-Focused Content Strategy. Be sure to check out the event and say hi if you're attending!
[This epsiode was orginially published on August 25, 2017]
The Oracle Education Foundation
The Oracle Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization funded by technology giant, Oracle. OEF pairs talented Oracle employees with high school students to teach them in various STEAM disciplines. STEAM is short for Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics.
Oracle leverages the power of project-based learning and design thinking to help light a fire in students.
Design Tech High School
The Design Tech High School is a free public charter school in The Bay Area, open to residents of California. The school opened its doors in 2014, and the first class of seniors will graduate in 2018.
Design Tech, or 'd.tech' focuses on the skills like collaboration, creativity, self-management, communication, and technology, that help students become caring citizens and young professionals. By combining academic content with creative problem solving, d.tech's goal is to give students the tools necessary for success in college and beyond.
Today, this design high school is made up of about 550 students and 30 faculty members. Local area corporations like Oracle and The Oracle Education Foundation support d.tech and its programs.
Thanks to these sponsorships, d.tech is getting ready to open the very first public high school to have a new state-of-the-art campus funded by a Silicon Valley company.
The People Behind The Progress
We talked to Rob Bolt, one of d.tech's founding members. Rob is a former professional programmer, technology executive, and entrepreneur. He founded two tech start-ups that he eventually sold, and started a career as a social studies teacher. He later started teaching robotics, programming, and design thinking at d.tech.
Rob was recently appointed representative of the California State Board of Education to the board of the California History and Social Studies Project.
He is currently working on founding partnerships with companies to build out the program and find potential internships for students.
A man of many hats, Rob is in charge of developing these partnerships with local area corporations. This role is what directly connects him, and d.tech, to the Oracle Education Foundation.
Enter Colleen Cassity.
Colleen is the Executive Director of the Oracle Education Foundation. She joined the foundation in 2002 and helped get it kick started. Today, Colleen oversees the Oracle Giving and Oracle Volunteers programs, which donate time and funds to nonprofits around the world.
When she's not busy being charitable, she is the editor of the Oracle Corporate Citizenship Report and leads external reporting on corporate social responsibility.
In 2014, Colleen was the recipient of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s “Practitioner of the Year” award, which is given to an individual who sets a gold-standard example for best practices and leadership in corporate philanthropy and responsibility.
How This Design High School is Breaking the Traditional Academic Calendar
What would high school look like if we started over from scratch?
The educational model at d.tech drives their accomplishments with their willingness to let go of a traditional academic calendar. The rigidness of a bell to bell system shackles students and faculty to a closed off relationship with the outside world.
d.tech takes two week breaks four times a year to focus exclusively on community provided electives. These breaks help students take a break from traditional classes and focus on other interests and activities. By breaking up their schedules, they are able to come back to their classes ready to engage and avoid being burned out.
But Wait, There's More...
We have two more episodes centered around OEF and d.tech, so be sure to stay tuned over the next couple of weeks. We will be talking to volunteers at the school, as well as some of the students, about their time at this design high school.