Wesley, there is a high tech high in San Diego, too. I heard it said by a colleague recently that they seem to err the other direction right now – there is too little structure for the students as they are asked to complete projects with very little guidance in project management. This will be a difficult balance to foster (and model) through professional development, whether for pre-service teachers or veterans.
And I think it will take more than a new crop of teachers to effect this change… it will take a powerful PR effort with the voting public. The sad truth is that much of the power for change in education lies with politicians. The bright side is that if it matters enough to people, our system allows them to call for change.
Finally, I think your experience with the science fair is a particularly sad local example of this… miseducation of the public.
This is why I am glad so much of what we do in the Ed Tech unit at the OCDE is primarily to raise awareness.