NPR featured an article about Sal Khan–the founder of the online Khan Academy–and his Silicon Valley school’s innovative work with personalized learning. At this elite, $25,000 per-year school, students are grouped by “independence level” rather than age, craft attainable daily and long-term goals, and have a voice in what goes on in the school.
In the article, Khan wonders if it can be applied to brick-and-mortar schools.
The answer? It already is.
New Hampshire schools are infusing their classrooms with personalized learning tenets like competency-based learning, where students move on to the next concept, chapter, or class when they’ve mastered the previous one rather than when the teacher is finished teaching it. Curriculum reflects students’ interests and passions. Teaching uses students’ strengths to support learning and offers help to build on their weaknesses.
Khan’s students and teachers love the personalized learning approach, like 10-year old Gurshan:
“We get to take responsibility of what we want to do and where we wanna dive deeper… That’s an opportunity we didn’t really have at other schools. Here we’re free to discover what we like. So I spend at least half an hour every day coding. I do Java script. And I’m just starting to learn Python.”
Like Gurshan, Granite State students get to follow their passions. Some, like students at Pittsfield Middle High School, learn through real-world experience at Extended Learning Opportunities (ELOs)–experiences range from working as a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Interpreter, to working at a radio station, to interning at a local police department.
Districts like Pittsfield Middle High School have transformed their schools to student-centered learning environments. Check out this video on how they made it work for their community, and the similarities between a school in our own state and Khan’s prestigious lab school:
Read the full NPR article here.