Came across a really interesting article in this week's New Yorker magazine called, "Learn Different" by Rebecca Mead, that introduces us to a new model of elementary school called the AltSchool, mostly located in San Francisco and New York. The school focuses on personalized education and caters and nurtures each child's interests to develop an individualized curriculum based on those interests. Started by a former Google and tech executive, the schools are technology based and rely heavily on the use of tablets, laptops and fisheye cameras in the walls to observe, analyze and record the children to aid in their development.
The AltSchool incorporates technology as much as possible into the daily curriculum and yet follows the standards set by Common Core. The school's focus seems to be to discover, follow and nurture each child's individual interests as opposed to the traditional, top-down pedagogical style that a lot of us grew up with. Another interesting point about the AltSchools: the schools are for-profit and give equity in the company to their full-time teachers. This opens up a much broader topic of profit vs not-for-profit schools, but that's a controversial topic in and of itself.
There are a lot of interesting ideas in the article that make us pause to consider what kind of education style is right for our own kids and how to incorporate technology into our daily lives in an increasingly technological world. The AltSchool tries to make the most of technology and continues to develop more technology and software to support their curriculum.
I am definitely one of those moms who tries to limit iphone and ipad time, but it's clear that my kids are developing a real addiction to technology. I confess, my iphone was often my kids' pacifier, so there you have it. I'm resigning myself to the fact that my kids were born into and are growing up in an age of technology, and I can't fight it. It's what our future looks like. I guess there's no right answer, but I would rather my kids were ahead of that curve rather than behind it.
I invite any readers to comment and share some of your insight with the rest of us.
Here's the link to the article: