From The New York Times
American model of education is “fundamentally the same as it was a 100 years ago,” according to Joel I. Klein, New York’s chancellor of public schools.
High student-teacher ratio of about 25:1 makes effective teaching difficult.
Supported by Cisco Systems, Google and Michael Dell, the New York City Department of Education is running a pilot program called School of One focuses on middle school math (due to the variety of computer programs available). The program allows teachers to effectively measure mastery of content, skill and achievement and individualize learning plans for each student.
The program features:
In the morning every student receives an individualized schedule (or “playlist”) with lessons for the day. Overhead monitors display these playlists much like flight schedules in airports.
“Multiple Instructional Modalities”
Students benefit from several teaching styles including:
- Teacher led instruction (traditional instruction with one teacher to several students),
- One on one tutoring (with an adult),
- Independent learning (which may take place on a computer or in small groups), and
- Virtual tutors.
Students take a quiz at the end of the day, allowing a computer program to measure “mastery” and whether the child will move onto a new subject the next day.
Students who participated in a trial run last year scored 42% to 70% higher on math tests.
While the program is still in pilot mode, if it continues to be successful in educating students effectively, the model can be easily expanded as “all the analytics can be done centrally with cloud computing,” says Joel Rose, who runs the experiment