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High-Tech Learning Accelerator Provides Experience for 2 VCS Students

As members of the North Carolina High-Tech Learning Accelerator (NCHTLA) Advisory Council, two of our high school students, Briannah Royster and Joshua Hernandez, and our innovation lead, Dr. Destiney Ross-Putney, had the opportunity to participate in a two-day design lab in Wilmington, NC. Thirty-two students and nineteen innovation leads across the state worked in collaborative groups to tackle the design question, "What kinds of learning experiences might you design to help students learn about, prepare for, and pursue high-tech jobs?" 
 
The student teams prepared their pitches and presented them in a lecture hall to an audience of their peers, the innovation leads, and many noteworthy judges including Senator Michael V. Lee, Apple Education Executive, Anthony Johnson, and a number of NC Department of Education and other education organization representatives. Vance County Early College freshman, Joshua Hernandez, was on the student team whose plan came in 3rd place. His team provided contextual examples about integrating high-tech into all courses, partnerships with local colleges and businesses, and greater accessibility to information about high-tech careers. VCEC freshman, Briannah Royster, was on the student team whose plan came in 1st place. Her team collected data among their peer group on the reasons as to why they perceived more students did not enter into high-tech majors or careers. They then designed an aptitude survey that would provide students with suggested high-tech careers based on the survey-takers characteristics. Their final recommendations included redefining success, earlier career guidance and increased accessibility to opportunities that promote high-tech learning. 
 
The High-Tech Learning Accelerator is one of the current initiatives of The Innovation Project (TIP). The driving theme of TIP is to rethink, reimagine, and redesign public education. The NCHTLA design challenge that our students shared input towards will influence the design and implementation of an exciting new program for North Carolina’s K-12 students focused on high-tech fields.