High Tech, High Touch Learning

Laura Sandefer

August 8, 2018

My favorite observation about the Acton Academy learning environment came from one of the nation’s education experts. After a morning of observing the Eagles at work, he said it was a “high tech, high touch” school.

You can see it and feel it: the emphasis on human relationship is tangible in an Acton studio. This is the messy but happy feel of humans honestly being together.

No one can hide under the radar at an Acton Academy. No one can slip through the cracks. No one can go a day without being noticed, engaged with and known. Every single young person is vitally important in our community and each learns quickly it is only through human relationships that we grow into our best selves.

Yes, there is online learning. Yes, there are laptops scattered around. Yes, we track learning data online and use email to document communication.

But the tech experience pales in comparison to the buzz of human interaction – verbal, non-verbal and physical – happening in every moment of studio life.

It starts with a handshake, eye contact and a hearty smile when a child steps onto campus each day. And ends with “character callouts” in a group circle with claps and high fives at the end of a day. Throughout the day it is seen in Socratic discussions, squad meetings, peer feedback sessions, conflict resolutions and free play.

The intensive learning to be a highly functioning human in relationship with others is a focus at Acton Academy. From problem-solving to reflecting on goals and from managing a team project to receiving peer feedback – it’s all in a day.

This is “learning how to be” and “learning how to do.” In my opinion, it is this learning that makes me feel secure about my own children’s futures.

Experts call these skills “soft.” I call them foundational. And the Acton Eagles who graduate from our studios have them in spades.

Acton parents, you can exhale when you finish reading this article.

I couldn’t be more excited to get back into our high tech, high touch studios. See you in a couple of weeks.

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