In an article produced by Mind Shift titled “The One Room Schoolhouse Goes High Tech”, author Katrina Schwartz, introduces an alternative school method to better enhance learning through technology. The purpose of this alternate learning method focuses on not trying to make existing schools work better, but advancing a new model of school. Schwartz then explains that teams of engineers are collaborating with a pilot class of 20 students to create tech tools that track assignments, monitor progress and even record classrooms, with a launch of several classrooms planned across the San Francisco area next fall.
CEO Max Ventilla, a former Google executive, is attempting to build a model classroom that caters to each child’s interests, while providing opportunities for group work and collaboration. Ventilla was quoted saying, “We really believe you can teach anything though the interests of a child, so if there’s a student whose passionate about dolphins or medieval knights or the moon, that’s the lens they can use to learn about anility or ethics or politics or history or estimation. And that’s actually very similar to how we parent.” By catering to the students needs, teachers are able to make their lessons come alive and be interactive.
- Who does this type of learning focus on?
A.) While student are learning the common core as a guideline student’s aren’t grouped by grade level. Rather, students move through activities based on their skills. This type of learning now becomes less of a collaborative effort and more of an individualized focus, meeting the need of that one student.
2. What is the role of technology in this pilot group?
A.) In many individualized type teaching believes in placing a student in front of a screen an allowing for the computer to teach the student. This new alternative school does not focus on that type of teaching, rather using technology to aid in the teaching practices. AltSchool Chief Technology Officer Komal Sethi stated, “We want the real-world, projected-based learning to happen, we just want to be able to see that it’s happening (learning).” With this thought in mind, technology in the classroom is less of a resource and more as a tracker of the individualized students learning. This use of technology can be very benefit in the connection of student and educators.
3. How do the engineers and teachers communicate?
A.) One thing that makes AltSchool run so smoothly is the interaction between its engineers and teachers. The engineers spend time in the classroom, while theteachers spend time getting to know the technology. This relationship creates a great environment for learning and teaching. So far, developers have created the software that makes student playlists, for both audio and video replay system that allows teachers to bookmark important moments in the classroom. This relationship between teachers and engineers need flexibility and trust to make the best interface for their students, because that is what all the main importance in education, teaching the students what they need.
Overall, I believe that these methods and ideas are only suited for small classrooms and homeschooling environments. Due to the mass amount of storage and money needed, all of the needed time and man power could seem overwhelming for some school districts