We’re avid followers of Fatherly, and wholeheartedly support their mission to provide parenting resources for fathers. When we saw their recent interview with Max Ventilla on personalized learning, another favorite topic of ours, we couldn’t help but pause, reflect, and share a few thoughts.
For those of you who might not know the name, Ventilla started AltSchool, a new type of environment that hopes to redefine what it means to learn in the twenty-first century by combining advances in technology with an individualized curriculum for each and every student.
Originally based in California but currently opening schools elsewhere, AltSchool offers a personalized approach for children. Their grand vision is developing software to license to public, private or charter schools throughout the world.
As Max carefully shares in this excellent interview, there are three main areas of focus for their project:
- Having education be based on the capabilities of students and their individual needs.
- Having students take responsibility and ownership over their interests and progress.
- And, recognizing that, as Ventilla says, having “the learning ultimately being able to transcend what happens within the four walls of the classroom to connect to the broader world”.
So, how does it work?
As we understand it, children take learning into their own hands by selecting from a “playlist” of activities to work through on a daily basis. The school – teachers and developers (who observe through cameras) – is then taking note of how these children are accomplishing their tasks, working to improve the software they are developing.
To find out more, we recommend that you read the interview. Have questions? Please feel free to start a chat!
In the meantime, we thought we’d leave you with a wonderful quote from Ventilla. When asked, are the “traditional educational models” failing students, he responds:
“I don’t believe that schools are getting worse; I think they’re getting better. I just think that the purpose of school is to prepare kids for the future, and that task has gotten much harder for this generation than it’s been in the past. One of the things that’s making it much harder is just the rate of change in the world.”
Are we ready for these types of changes?
We enjoy exploring many different educational philosophies in this series, and invite you to learn about Waldorf, Reggio Emilia, and Montessori. Have a topic you’d like us to cover? Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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