Let us applaud these four schools that are actually creating a learning environment appropriate to the Internet age
Up until recently, the main challenge of education has been in accessing information. Beyond K-12, this was costly and time consuming. Thankfully, the Internet has changed all this.
Even though the times have significantly changed, the education system hasn’t and still revolves around a cycle that has barely evolved since the 18th century; school years pass, semesters end, and students graduate to different levels of schooling. This cookie cutter system doesn’t account for the needs of varying levels and types of students.
Since the Internet provides infinite resources, the problem is no longer about obtaining information, but being able to navigate this massive amount of material, find what matters, and then understand what it all means and how to use it. Learning how to learn means that students would be adaptable to their surroundings and could actually gather and dissect knowledge to teach themselves. They would be open minded and resourceful, welcoming new technology and changes, and naturally embracing disruption. This would enable them to evolve constantly with the times instead of allowing their skills to become obsolete and technology to surpass them.
If schools emphasized the importance of learning how to learn, we would all be ready to use this wealth of information and apply it to whatever need we have.
Let us applaud these four schools that are actually creating a learning environment appropriate to the Internet age.
At AltSchool, each student has their own iPad or Chromebook to manage their playlist of learning. These devices permit them to have a personalized curriculum and learning objectives so that they can go at their own pace.
2. Cimarron Avenue Elementary school
At Cimarron Avenue Elementary school in Hawthorne, CA, all 338 students in kindergarten through fifth grade also use iPads at school. The iPads allow these students to evolve their education, studying a variety of subjects using apps designed to enhance their learning. The student’s completed work appears on their teacher’s device next to their names, allowing the teachers to evaluate student performance and their understanding of concepts immediately.
Not only has technology evolved the methods to which teachers evaluate and administer assignments, but it has also changed the course material students are learning. Code.org has developed an elementary school computer science curriculum, known as Code Studio, as well as kindergarten-aged pre-reader curriculums. Previously students of this age were not even learning how to type, let alone use computers. But now these young students are gaining an understanding of the science behind this technology.
4. The Nueva School
The Nueva School has implemented a project-based learning system to support its’ student centered school. Only through real life application do students retain and truly understand the information. If this education model were applied more widely, students would learn how to search for answers and have confidence in their findings, completing pieces of a bigger puzzle and answering their own questions. In this system, collaboration and teamwork is highly encouraged, much like the real world.
In real life the world is your resource. Technology changes at such a fast pace. The only way to stay on top of innovation is to know how to adapt and learn new things so that you can be sure to always be on the cutting edge of what’s happening. It is imperative that our education system evolve with us, because currently we are not achieving our fullest potential.
About the author
Julien is the co-founder of Holberton School, a project-based alternative to college for the next generation of software engineers. He graduated as a valedictorian from the European Institute of Technology, one of the top software engineering school in Europe. Through his career Julien wore many hats: he worked as a Software Engineer, a Product Manager, a Director of Marketing and a CEO in different tech companies. Julien also co-founded three startups and co-created several non-profit projects (hnwatcher, techmeabroad, while42).
Before founding Holberton School, he was the Senior Director of Growth, Marketing and Community at Docker, arguably one of the fastest-growing products for developers, devops and sysadmins over the last few years, now heavily used by companies such as Google, Uber, Spotify, Yelp, eBay, PayPal, Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, etc.
The views expressed are of the author.
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