Madeleine Albright, Former US Secretary of State & Chair, McNulty Prize Jury
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Why High Resolves?
We founded High Resolves because we believe that the increasingly complex challenges of our world require a generation of young people to have the intention, skills, vision, creativity and confidence to accomplish what previous generations have failed to do: act in the long-term collective interest of humanity. Over a decade later, our dream seems more relevant and important than ever before.
High Resolves seeks to contain the contagion of hate, a rapidly-growing global pandemic, by teaching teens how to be responsible, engaged citizens. The rise of hate and intolerance is well documented – not only across North America and Europe, but the world. What’s more, with the rapid growth and prevalence of social media, hate speech has been able to spread more quickly and more widely than ever before. Facebook, for instance, reported that they removed “nearly 3 million pieces of hate speech between July and September, a 15 percent increase from [the same period in 2017].”
In order to address these problems, we created High Resolves as an immersive, educational program that targets the 10 to 18-year-old population. By the time young people turn 10, they have developed sufficient cognitive capacity and mental awareness to challenge their own thinking. Throughout their teenage years, children have brains with very high plasticity – making it the easiest time to replace corrosive mental schema with more positive structures. If we want to challenge racism, misogyny and other forms of hatred and intolerance, this is the best age to do it.
Geographically, High Resolves began with a deep focus on teenagers in Australia, where we have worked with over 260,000 young people in our multi-year programs. The program recently expanded to both the United States and Canada and has established our first three regional offices as well as other distribution channels in these markets. We are now expanding in developing countries like China, Brazil and India through partnerships with local players. We have interest from potential partners in another dozen or more countries like Armenia, Argentina, Rwanda and South Africa. We will drive our global reach through more dedicated resourcing for these partnerships to reach a million youth within three years.
Our solution is education through experience. High Resolves is an award-winning system for building mastery in the core competencies of citizenship – from independent thinking and inclusive leadership to effective collaboration. We all know that rote lectures are not effective in this domain. Our formula, based on learning science, shows that sustained personal transformations must begin with peak experiences that shift a person’s thoughts and feelings about themselves and the world around them. These shifts must then be hardwired into long- term memory through repeated practice in the classroom and project-based application in the real world. Real impact requires all three of these elements and we are one of the only programs that integrate all three aspects into the learning journey.
In addition, we created Videos for Change as a platform for young people to create powerful 1-minute advocacy videos on social themes. Originally a national competition in Australia, it has now become a digital platform enabling a global movement of youth exercising their voice to drive social change. Schools, camps, youth organizations and faith-based communities can all use their own instances of the platform to host local competitions.
Our new Composer platform is a truly disruptive innovation which translates the latest insights from learning science into a simple visual language, we have enabled education companies and schools to describe sets of learning experiences using different shapes along “strings” that work across traditional subject areas. Using the latest AI, our search engine allows school leaders to learn from others all around the world. For example, a social inclusion program in New Orleans that draws on content from six education providers can be discovered and tailored by schools in Sydney. Moreover, Composer enables a radical new approach to embed micro-assessments into curriculum to eliminate the need for expensive special testing instruments. We will formally launch the Composer with our ecosystem partners in 2020.
The combined impact of these highly engaging learning experiences is a tangible enhancement of the participants’ sense of collective identity and an increased likelihood that they will act in the long-term collective interest. Ninety-five percent of participants rate our program as highly engaging; 91 percent achieve the targeted cognitive outcomes; and 87 percent achieve the targeted affective and behavioural outcomes.
Our work is becoming more recognised for its distinctiveness. High Resolves was awarded the Patron’s Prize from Good Design Australia for excellence in user experience design, surpassing all companies and industries in Australia in that regard. In November, we were awarded the John P. McNulty Prize, which celebrates the boldness and impact of individuals who are using their expertise and entrepreneurial spirit to address the world’s toughest challenges.
High Resolves provides schools with the support and resources to be as systematic about citizenship education as they are about the maths or science curriculum. And, given the state of the world, we have no choice but to do just that.