The George Lucas Educational Foundation's Edutopia features a 4-minute video report on "High Tech High": a high school focused on experiential learning. All their students are admitted to college. The students are shown to be engaged and developing critical thinking and communications skills. All their students are admitted to college.
More than a decade ago, the Ohio Board of Regents did a study on effective learning techniques (funded by the National Science Foundation), and concluded that students learn math and science more effectively through an inquiry-based (i.e., experiential) approach, rather than the traditional lecture/memorize/drill/test (didactic) approach. These are not new conclusions; John Dewey espoused them in the 1930s. Yet in seeing the results in the video, we are still amazed because teaching has changed so little in the past century.
Perhaps successes like those in San Diego will inspire more schools, parents, and policy makers to expect these important lessons be brought into our schools to help our kids learn in this 21st century.