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Learning180 Initiative

IN PRACTICE - Students in Rebecca Hoffmann's AP English classes at Mars Area High School joined in Socratic Seminars to  analyze the film, Dead Poets Society. A Socratic Seminar is a way of teaching founded by Greek philosopher Socrates, who believed that students learn best by asking and answering their own questions and that the teacher’s job is to moderate, rather than lead, the discussion. Students use their own curiosity to determine what parts of a topic/text they want to learn more about, and the questions they determine guide the instruction.
What is MASD's Learning180 Initiative?
Mars Area School District's Learning180 is a community outreach initiative, offering a daily message to the Mars Area community via social media (Twitter, Facebook) and on the District’s website,

To what does the "180" refer?
The title of the initiative refers not only to the students’ 180 days of school, but to a 180-degree look at what learning has become in 21st Century schools.

“Typically, when we talk about 21st Century learning, we think about computers. Computers are a great tool for learning, but are only a small part of the education process,”, says Dr. Wesley W. Shipley, superintendent. “21st Century learning also encompasses thinking and communication skills, problem solving, collaboration, the coordination of content, questioning techniques and authentic assessments.”

What is the purpose of the Learning180 initiative?
In addition to other communications from the School District, the Learning180 initiative serves as an avenue for daily communication with parents and community members about the great things that are happening in the District's schools. The initiative offers an opportunity to highlight some of the neat things that our teachers are doing in their classrooms and gives students a chance to tout what they are learning as well.