Modern mathematics classes need to create more dynamic and engaging lessons that students can find personal worth in. If a student can't find an interesting reason or justification for the work they are doing in a classroom they will forget about the material as soon as they can.
Wagner highlights a lot of these issues and shows why modern students find a disconnect with their education. The methods being used to teach them were created in an previous industrial period from their perspective and fail to leverage any of the skills or tools that students have available to them currently. The requirement that students have to rote memorize most historical facts is archaic in a world with constant internet. Having to hand calculate values that are best left to a computer is rightly seen as tedious work. Testing students on their ability to perform either of these tasks fails to assess their ability to succeed in the world they currently live in.
To correct these issues Wagner points out areas where instructors can change and redirect education to more closely meet the needs and expectations of students. Learning should leverage multimedia and connection more often, students can stop, rewind, and replay videos covering many of the topics we are already trying to cover in class. Class time could be better utilized having students discuss what they observed and thought about the video than spent listening to lecture. Learning should happen as a discovery process, students will find more value in the information if they create the links and connections between different topics and discover the shortcuts themselves. Learning should include creation, students need to generate their own artifacts and memories to hook into their learning. The subject and material needs to be memorable if we are going to expect students to hold on to it for more than a week.
Chapter 6 deals with schools that work, or more specifically schools that are actually meeting the needs of their students and properly preparing them for the world outside of school. The school that is most prominently featured is High Tech High in San Diego. I have been able to observe 3 different classes taught at High Tech High during my Math Methods course. Understanding the history of High Tech High highlights some of the decisions and choices I saw them making while giving instruction there. It also helps to better understand the hiring practices and process that they go through for new teachers.
After reading this chapter I can clearly see why Wagner considers this to be a school that is working. Their focus on project based learning and assessment aligns with the goals and suggested practices that Wagner supports throughout this book. They are creating a curriculum at High Tech High that aligns with the needs of modern students and has been proven to prepare students for world outside of school.