Altschool: personalised learning and educator-driven software
AltSchool, started by Max Ventilla, former Googler, is a software-driven private school franchise on a mission to “rethink how education can serve families in the modern era”. We met with Carolyn Wilson, Director for Education, who has been involved in the teaching space and seeing its exponential changes over the past few decades. While education giants are in a constant R&D process to adapt their offering, AltSchool’s in-house platform team directly builds out the software and features that are useful to their educators. Instead of having to drive teacher’s adoption, the products are educator-driven.
Khan Lab School: an R&D laboratory for pedagogical principles
The mainstream press has covered this new education trend extensively over the past few months. In the Mountain View-based Khan Lab School, the afternoons are dedicated to project-based learning at the pace of each student. Most of the principles underlying the school and how it prepares and empowers its students for the post-industrial world through radical methods can be found in Sal Khan’s book, The One World Schoolhouse. Is “the world’s best-known teacher” able to disrupt the brick-and-mortar model in a similarly egalitarian way as the one by which he provides thousands of hours of free video tutorials?
Community Building: the example of Startup Weekend Education
We had the pleasure of meeting with Edtech community builder Jessica Falkhental. She has been involved with over 25 Startup Weekends, mainly focusing on its branch on “Education Entrepreneurs”. If you’re in the Bay Area, check out SWEdu Oakland this weekend, with a fabulous range of judges and mentors. As organizer of the SF Edtech Happy Hour as well as a dozen of other events, it was great to discuss how you build a thriving ecosystem.
Rocketship Education: eliminating the achievement gap
Rocketship Education is a leading TK-5 public charter school network for elementary students in low-income areas: they are dedicated to eliminating the achievement gap between low- and high-income communities across the country with a high focus on literacy and parent engagement. We sat down with Personalized Learning Senior Associate Stephen Pham, former teacher in a Rocketship charter school in East San Jose to hear more about their original teacher training as well as about the commitment required from parents to strengthen the school structure.
CTI: applying Artificial Intelligence to Education
CTI (Content Technologies Inc.) is an artificial intelligence research and development company specializing in production automation and instructional design. We spent the day at their HQ in Moorpark, CA, to learn more about machine learning and its applications to the textbook industry. CEO Dr Scott Parfitt is quite a visionary who has been working on the products for over a decade.
Reframe Labs: fellowships to frame LA into the next hub for K-12 education innovation
We met with Russ Altemburg, founder of Reframe Labs, a new nonprofit that trains leaders to design and launch innovative new schools in Los Angeles. Reframe aims at helping LA become the next hub for K-12 education innovation. Its programmes include: free, monthly workshops across LA; deeper 2-day bootcamps; a 6-month Redesign program open to any existing school (public, charter, private); and a prestigious 1-year Next Gen Fellowship for leaders who want to launch innovative new schools.
Qianna Patterson: LA Unified District and beyond
We wrapped up this American immersion by sitting down with Qianna Patterson, former teacher and seasoned educational technology executive who shed light on her experience working in the LA Unified School District. We had a long discussion on the difficulty of rolling out technology at scale in the largest districts and the challenges faced by Edtech implementation and products, highly dependant on policy, in our civilization of the instantaneous.