But what are they betting on? AltSchool is a decidedly Bay Area experiment with an educational philosophy known as student-centered learning. The approach, which many schools have adopted, holds that kids should pursue their own interests, at their own pace. To that, however, AltSchool mixes in loads of technology to manage the chaos, and tops it all off with a staff of forward-thinking teachers set free to custom-teach to each student. The result, they fervently say, is a superior educational experience.
heir own weekly “playlists,” queues of individual and group activities tailored to the specific strengths and weaknesses of each kid.
This puts AltSchool at the intersection of two rapidly growing movements in education. Along one axis are the dozens of edtech startups building apps for schools; along the other are the dozens of progressive schools rallying around the increasingly popular concept of personalized education. The difference is: AltSchool is not just building apps or building schools. It’s doing both. In that way, AltSchools are more than just schools. They’re mini-research and development labs, where both teachers and engineers are diligently developing the formula for a 21st century education, all in hopes of applying that formula not only to other AltSchools, but to private, public, and charter schools across the country.
obsession with constant feedback
Ventilla likes to call AltSchool’s approach to teaching “Montessori 2.0.” The Montessori method emphasizes letting kids learn primarily through independent projects rather than direct instruction.
AltSchool has built a digital platform, called My.Altschool
“We think assessment can be much less invasive and much more accurate when you’re collecting data from many sources.”
The team is also working on a recommendation engine for teachers, not unlike those used by companies like Amazon and Netflix. This tool would take into account everything that My.Altschool knows about a student—from her playlist history to how she learns best to what her strengths and weaknesses are—to recommend activities. “It’d be great if the system could figure out that Johnny’s an auditory learner, who loves castles, and that he’s struggling with estimating,” Bhatia says, adding that an early version of that tool will likely be available this year.
Once these tools have been validated within the AltSchool environment, Ventilla’s goal is to bundle them up into what he calls an “operating system for a 21st century education” and license them to the education system at large.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.