What is it?
GRITLab is a project-based educational program that’s been distilled from my work as a physics and engineering teacher at High Tech High. While currently integrated into the classroom experience of my students, recent support is helping me build this program into something greater.
Project-based curriculum isn’t just a part of my program, it is my program. People learn best by doing and creating so I provide the guidance, the healthy environment, and an authentic context for their learning.
What does the “Where skillset meets mindset” mean?
The slogan “Where skillset meets mindset” stems from two passions of mine. First, I believe that our society is developing a shortage of individuals that can produce and meaningfully contribute to our global community. In this program, students develop a wide range of concrete skillsets that not only prepare them for their future but also develop a capacity for hands-on learning and a the confidence that stems from saying “I made that!”. Skillsets range from year to year but commonly include: carpentry, electronic design and fabrication, programming, technical writing, project planning, and many others.
However, skills are worthless in a vacuum so to compliment their skillset – students also develop positive mindsets. The development of these mindsets is focused on developing GRIT which, using definitions based on the work of Paul Stoltz, requires a spectrum of specific character traits – each of which can be deliberately developed in the classroom.
Where did GRITLab come from?
Most of all, GRITLab is a manifestation of my lifelong passion for human competence and my persistent desire to play. For a background of why I entered teaching, I recomend checking out this brief story which served as my cover letter in my initial High Tech High application. After being in the classroom a few years, and with the help of existing pioneers in the field (i.e. Paul Stoltz and Angela Duckworth), I started to distill my practices until eventually drawing support from the Paul Allen Foundation as an inaugural member of the Paul Allen Distinguished Educators.