Day 3 consisted of two school visits and the start of a conversation on a 1:1 implementation scenario through @MCiLab‘s @backchannelEDU scenario podcast. We visited both the French American International School and the AltSchool, both in San Francisco.
While we didn’t get to see the inner workings of the AltSchool, we did get to hear from Carolyn Wilson, Director of Education. She spoke to the vision and mission of the school model. I found AltSchool to have a compelling vision and mission, probably one of the most compelling I’ve heard on the trip.
Mission – Every child should have access to an exceptional, personalized education that enables them to be happy and successful in an ever-changing world.
Educational Experience – At AltSchool, the core pedagogical principles are focused on constructivism and constructionism. AltSchool is not a school on a screen – learning is grounded in personal relationships and technology is used to super power those relationships. The comprehensive educational experience is focused on five elements:
- Deeply personalized learning – personalization is not on a screen – the passions of students are paramount
- Rigor – starts with understanding what the child should know and be able to do; student progress is made in multiple ways; objectives are stated in a way that makes sense to the learners; feedback is provided in a timely manner
- Interdisciplinary project based learning – embeded studies into PBL; time to research; time to create; exhibit, defend and reflect; High Tech High and the Buck Institute are models and resources.
- Community Engagement – learning is relevant in the real world; bringing the world into the school; take children out into the world through field trips; learn how to solve problems in the world…seek problems in the world.
- Whole child – Curiosity, agency, empathy, grit – these are measured through means other than testing
- Technology – utilized internally designed software to create a learner portrait – playlists – teachers experience – learner experience; networked to share across the AltSchool system; includes a parent element.
While I have many questions about the program and would love to see classrooms in action and speak to students, I find their vision for learning to be very compelling. I will be interested to follow this school as it develops into the future.
We also had the chance to begin a conversation around the latest @backchannelEDU scenario: We’re going 1:1. The district I work in has been 1:1 since 2011. Over the past year, I’ve written several blog posts and created an ebook that documents some of the work done and lessons learned through our implementation which has been recognized by Project Red, Apple, Inc. and the National School Boards Association.
The ebook is not lengthy and codifies our learning in several areas of implementation:
- Lead it – district leadership, school board leadership, building leadership, teacher leadership, student leadership
- Support it – professional development for teachers, professional development for leaders, rethinking resources
- Evaluate it – your evaluation framework, what’s next?
You can also read more about our digital transformation by downloading the TL2020 iBook from the iTunes Store.
What do you know about the AltSchool or similar progressive models of education? What is the relationship of learning and technology use in these models?
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