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It’s a tragedy that, as the world outside school changes faster and faster,
the majority of American kids are not being set up to succeed in the future that’s coming.
We're entering a world where there's not a lot of value
in just kind of sitting there and doing what you're told.
Increasingly a computer could do that kind of stuff.
We are eventually going to create a new model of education suited to the 21st century,
instead of the last half of the 19th century.
This is going to happen.
We're just trying to make it happen sooner.
My name is Max Ventilla, and I'm the founder and CEO of AltSchool.
Working in Silicon Valley, and being at Google, and living here,
it's kind of impossible not to have it shape your worldview
and to believe that a mission-driven technology company
can have an incredible impact, beneficially, on the world.
And being a parent of young kids there's really nothing I can think of that is
more important than their education that I can be working on.
As an entrepreneur you have that startup bug.
You need to work on something that catches you, and this was the thing that caught me.
There is this problem, which is that the model that we have for educating kids,
it is a mass production model, it is a factory model.
It doesn't provide an individualized experience to kind of anybody.
Every 45 minutes kids switch to a different subject,
and they open a textbook, and they read the next chapter.
And at the end of the week they take a quiz.
That experience is teaching kids how to think like computers.
And that's not going to be very valuable when these kids actually grow up to be adults.
If you're trying to fundamentally transform the education experience,
that is not something that you can just whiteboard with a bunch of research,
and a bunch of smart people in a room somewhere.
You have to learn what that model looks like.
For us, that meant immediately, almost from starting the company, opening a school.
And then we opened three more schools, and then we opened three more schools,
and now we're opening two more schools that are focused on personalized education.
Each child defines their own experience to learn in a way that feels natural,
takes advantage of their curiosity
and that doesn't try and corral them to learn this thing right now, in this way.
And that's where technology plays a foundational role versus a superficial role.
There are two tools that fundamentally enable personalization in our schools.
One tool is called the Portrait.
So this is a representation of all of the things that are important about each child
that different people can add to for curating a day-to-day education experience
that's going meet them where they are.
That maps to a second tool, which we call the playlist,
which is the, the kind of scaffold for each child's day.
It's a to do list, and a calendar.
It allows each child to decide what order they do things,
or they can decide what's on that playlist as they get older.
It’s allowing a child to have agency.
None of us like being told what we need to do, when, where, how, with whom.
There's nothing that's more demotivating than that.
And if you're not motivated, you don't actually learn.
There's no way to force a kid to learn.
They have to actually go along with a certain experience, they have to actually think.
What we see is incredibly promising out of the gates in the first two years.
We're seeing much more than a year's worth of progress on kind of nationally norm tests.
But, as importantly, they’re making progress on the social, emotional pillars.
Things like grit, ability to work with others, ability to manage your time,
to set goals that are going to serve those kids critically
when they enter a world that's going to demand those kind of characteristics from them.
I mean my daughter is going to have a different life
because this is the kind of school that she went to.
I love this Bill Gates quote, that,
humans tend to overestimate what we can accomplish in a year,
and underestimate what we can accomplish in ten.
First year, it probably costs us $100,000 per student.
The next year it's like 60,000, the next year it's like 35,000, this coming year it's like 25,000.
I think that when you get down to about $15,000 per student,
now you're in the realm of the kind of median experience in lots of parts of America.
There are lots of public school districts that spend way more than that on average.
We're starting to say okay,
how do we take the platform that we use to support our own schools,
And how do we expand that platform with partners?
We're just starting to work with the first set of partners
who would open schools which aren't run by us.
It's on that path that eventually you get to what you want.
A new ecosystem where all schools, existing schools and new schools,
are able to take advantage of a new way to educate kids for their future.
There's literally a technology company behind their school working tirelessly.
That's the kind of ten-year future that we believe is possible.
In general a startup is hard. In general a startup takes a long time.
One that's trying to do something this ambitious in this space,
that's twice as true, ten times as true.
This is mile three of a marathon, and I feel good.
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What Will Schools Look Like in the Future?

11974 Folder Collection
Quincy published on April 16, 2017    Gloria Ting translated    Sabrina Hsu reviewed
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