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'Future of Education' AltSchool Celebrates First Graduate

'Future of Education' AltSchool Celebrates First Graduate

San Francisco's AltSchool is seeing its first graduate this month- the only graduate from the experimental school that moves away from the traditional model of teaching and education in general.

Graduate and 8th grader Zev Curiel-Friedman is the first student to move through former Google employee Max Ventilla's "part school, part startup."

At AltSchool, "[t]eachers customize lesson plans for each child based on how fast they're learning. They load what they call 'playlists' with subject cards onto the kid's laptops and tablets," according to CBS News. Every student has a laptop or tablet and according to NPR spends 30% of the day on the device.

This is all made possible by engineers and programmers behind the scenes who help track student progress to best customize lessons for the most personalized learning possible.

All teaching sessions are recorded so teachers can review why some lessons were more successful than others and figure out what works the best going forward.

Ventilla's school is what he says is a needed effort to make changes to the education system which has not been seen for the past century. Many in the education and tech sectors are behind him; "[m]ore than $100 million in funding has come from several technology titans, including the face of Facebook, Mark Zuckerburg."

He's inspired by, according to the Los Angeles Times, the power and reach of Khan Academy, where "micro-lessons" deliver free education virtually to people all over the world.

The idea is "[a] lesson plan developed and product-tested in San Francisco could be used in Palo Alto or Brooklyn, and perhaps one day by schools in Los Angeles, or Canada, or Mexico," the LA Times said. 

So far, there are four AltSchools in California, but Ventilla plans to expand the AltSchool network across the country; soon enough the schools will be in Brooklyn and Palo Alto.

"He hopes that will bring the $21,000 per year tuition down and make AltSchool more than just an alternative for the rich. He wants a place all kids can get the education, he says, their future demands," according to the article.

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

06/08/2015

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