It’s not new that schools are handing free tablets or Chromebooks for enrolling students (not really free, they charge it with your tuition). But if you have video cameras that are used for teaching reviews per student and having students create playlists to focus on their interests rather than a well-rounded set of academics, you’re probably set for the school of the future.
That’s what Max Ventilla, the founder of micro-school AltSchool, does with students, who are showing positive results.
Max Ventilla was a former Google Executive in San Francisco, California. His school aims to avoid “grades’ Classifications and instead rebrands teachers, schools and classrooms with hip, child-friendly terms such as educators, learning labs and studios.
School begins between 8-9AM but the schedules per student can be adjusted. Students sign in using an iPad application upon entry. An online platform tracks everything from the student’s health condition to the child’s personalised learning plan.
The Personalised Learning Plan allows the student to focus on his or her interests and learning every skill they need with their educators in learning labs. Studios allow the students to exercise theory to application where their “learning block” sessions allow them to see the results of their work, which they would remember and hone, throughout the next few years.
The True Future of Education?
Ventilla views the traditional school system as outdated for the modern educational need.
“There’s a need for schools that are created this century. [Most] schools are terrifyingly similar to the schools I went to 30 years ago.”
Parents have seen the possibilities Ventilla has introduced and 4,000 applications come in for every 200 slots per school in the Silicon Valley university. Students are selected based on their interaction with each other rather than a private-school interview or examination.
Not everyone is convinced with the true future of education.
“Utilizing a model that is centrally tech-focused and individualistic in nature will serve to diminish the interaction and overall social maturation of students,” says Jae Gardner, CEO of tutoring and educational consulting company the Ivy Key.
“When they come out, are they going to be academically prepared?” asks Upper West Sider Rachel Fremmer, who has two daughters in New York City public schools and is active in the schoolsystem’s governing body. “No curriculum is fine if you have a really motivated kid, but [what] if you have a kid who just reads comic books or plays Minecraft all day?”