AltSchool personalized teaching training school in San Francisco recently received a $100 million investment, investors including the Facebook CEO mark zuckerberg, Anderson Horowitz fund (Andreessen Horowitz) and other investments.
maybe you have heard something about AltSchool, by former Google executive Max Wendy (Max Ventilla) was founded in 2013. Before this, Wendy had started a search startups Aardvark, bought by Google in 2010 and joined together the latter. After leaving Google, Wendy pull to the American education system failure developed an interest, starting a business.
simple view, AltSchool is by developing custom software and hardware products, help teachers to create more personalized teaching plan. AltSchool will not provide the same to all the children in the whole school year course, all the teaching plans will be tailored according to each student’s situation. AltSchool tuition fee of about $21000 a year, and plans to sell its technology to other schools step by step.
in March 2014, the agency also received Andreessen Horowitz and raised Fund brought $33 million series A investment.
Max Wendy pull (Max Ventilla)
here is the first financial weekly recently has a more detailed introduction to the AltSchool, hope to provide reference for the vast number of entrepreneurs:
by Google employees before start-up, and want to overthrow existing education model school, what will?
if any of you to be called Altschool chain elementary school visit, perhaps will be disappointed: it has no obvious schoolhouse, just on the transformed local small residences in San Francisco. Near Fort Mason from the San Francisco, for example, the classroom space is long and narrow, no desk, only the most simple bookcase, in the walls, and post-it notes.
people feel familiar with American education, it’s more like a family nurseries or small, simple facilities more (if not humble).
but it in March 2014, obtained Andreessen Horowitz and raised Fund brought $33 million series A investment.
and, more and more families with children began to interest in it. The company, established in January 2013, that year starts in September when only one class of 20 students; But after 1 year, it has 140 students, as well as across nine regions site in San Francisco. Starts in September 2015, Altschool will not extend to the San Francisco bay area Plao Alto such a place, will also be extended to the east coast of New York.
Altschool message is very clear: it wants to give students the most fit their personality and demand of study way, and scale.
founder Altschool Max Ventilla no more education industry background. He looks like a typical think that technology can change the world of silicon valley engineers, twice, the second creation of social search company acquired by Google in 2010 and has since become one of Google Plus start-up team members. Before leaving the Google, he is responsible for Google users personalized department.
he wanted to overthrow the power of education from his own children. When the children to the kindergarten, he as a father is very satisfied: that is a “child as the center” the school, children learn through play and exploration, atmosphere of freedom, the children are happy.
“once in the elementary school, you will find that parents have only two choices, and either/or.” Ventilla said. He said, referring to the two choices, one is the school adhere to the “children as the center” concept, let kids continue to play in high school, but these schools are usually private schools, few in number, and an expensive tuition; And another is the children into the same classroom, with standardized test scores to measure them, and this is usually a public school, most people can afford. “Why not both?” Ventilla said.
this has been the plight of education. Many educators and school goals, is the personalized approach to learning to let each student’s potential to the maximum. But how to scale has always been a problem.
“education has always been the dilemma is that to achieve quality education, will inevitably increase the cost, can obtain such education students must be just a few.” MIT opencourseware platform of foreign relations director Stephen Carson said. And the Massachusetts institute of technology, as well as the Coursera, edX the emergence of online learning platform over the past two years, the method to solve this problem is to good teach on the Internet, people all over the world can connect to the Internet can be reached by the higher education resources.
Ventilla also believe that technology can solve the problem, but he felt that the interaction between teachers and students can not be replaced, so he didn’t want to will be moved to the online classroom.
his ideal classroom is still a small class teaching, the teacher can understand every student well, and fully interactive. Just, technology can make the teacher into “superman”, even in the face of a dozen students at the same time, the teacher should still can know each student’s different characteristic, the new progress and challenges. Of course, more importantly, technology also need to let the teacher to give students different education resources and feedback ability.
that sounds and Ventilla in Google’s work content has some similar: according to customer’s different information, such as history, geographical location and search for each user to provide personalized search results.
Ventilla team of engineers to students from kindergarten through eighth grade (equivalent to China’s reception to junior high school) to learn down into a small part, in order to form a database. The database also refer to a series of existing education Standards or the advice of the education institutions, such as the Common Core Standards (Common Core), the national association of teachers of mathematics (NCTM), the Next Generation of scientific standard (Next Generation Science Standards), as well as CASEL agencies in social emotion in study suggest.
before Altschool formal school, the teacher will chat with students, in order to give the child a detailed Learner profile (Learner Portriat), including the students’ interests, learning styles, strengths and weaknesses, and so on.
“we will give students some math problems, for example, but they do right and wrong is not important. We want to see is that these math problems they chose what to do, why, how they think.” Jamie, Stewart Altschool one teacher said. Of course, her most like to ask the question is: if you can literally design school, the school is what you want. Child educators see strange think of clever want to let their preferences, and interesting imagination.
these files become Altschool make personalized study plan for students. Rely on software to help, the teacher will according to the situation of the students to set learning goals throughout the year. These goals are ultimately refined into weekly update list of the game (Playlist), students on the list pick the project learning every day. The completion of these listings, means they are master pieces of learning goals.
this let Altschool and traditional class look different in the form of the class. Students of different age in a classroom, some students do some projects alone, while others sat beside the teacher. An eight-year-old student would have started learning usually 10 years old began to learn math, and language and reading course is still eight years old, and other students’ progress.
“in this form, every child can find themselves there is inferior to others, also have good place than anyone, have their own strengths and weaknesses, they can help others also can study as others.” Ventilla said.
“people always ask me what my a typical daily teaching. But I really can’t say what is “typical”. Projects for them in every day is different, but I need to do is to support their different learning every day.” Paul said France, he was in San Francisco Fort Mason region that is long and narrow simple class to students in the classroom.
even sat reading training together, things looked is very complex, these students age is different, have different reading level, so they use when reading have different learning styles. “Is an example, I have a class the students’ reading level is already high, far more than others, so sit reading together, I’ll ask her to text adapted into a play.” France said.
in addition, compared to traditional school, the teacher also endowed with more space to create.
when preparing for school, France, and his colleagues did not buy furniture for the teaching, but keep the classroom blank state. Their expectations are part of the students can participate in the classroom design. After school, France teach them “design thinking”, will also take them to the school to visit, to look for the design inspiration of the classroom.
“for me, there is no students thoughts and to participate in, you can’t can’t decorate give a real learning environment for students.” France said. School after two months, the gap of the classroom has become a simple and fun environment.
a few technical equipment in the classroom is a set of camera, the camera continuously recorded in the classroom. Teachers, in the case of can review after class, and giving more analysis and adjustment.
of course, the situation looks to be more complex than traditional step-by-step in the classroom. Teachers will find that some students progress faster, or slower. Teachers have to cope with new situation, and generate a new listing, well into the database. According to Ventilla, when after another teacher when you meet the similar situation database matching list can be pushed to the teacher. This makes the teacher’s experience can be Shared in the network.
for teachers, they have created more opportunities, also can get more learning opportunities from other teachers. And looks attractive for young teachers, according to Ventilla, when they are trying to recruit 25 new teacher, they received thousands of resumes. When Altschool open to the public to visit, in addition to those at the school for children of parents, you can usually see some other teachers of the school.
Altschool hope parents can be involved in the education of children in school again. It provides application for parents, let parents see children on computers and mobile phones. Parents also can participate in and teachers together to develop the game list.
Altschool also USES the national general examination system MAP (Measures of Academic Progress, the Academic Progress assessment), three times a year the examination. These standardized Numbers can be used to measure the child learn to what degree. With these Numbers, how much it can let the parents feel comfortable about the child’s academic progress.
“for family, we can actually help achieve more flexible. Probably you will be on vacation, the children so absent; Or some families had just moved to this community, after learning something is different. But it doesn’t matter, because you don’t need to adapt to the rhythm of the school, we are on pace to promote their children’s learning.” Ventilla said.
Ventilla ambition is not only can create a personalized teaching school, but scattered in different locations of personalized Network teaching school, he called the “Micro – school Network”. Based on his software, can each school because students need to different teaching progress and teaching way to each other; But each other’s experience in teaching can be continuously to join the database, and use them for other schools.
this allows before investors worried about the scale of problem to solve. 1 years, Altschool has 9 from 1 of the classroom into the classroom. In the school may prove, brooklyn, New York and the expansion of the region for Altschool is not a problem.
Ventilla will technology startups fast iterative method into Altschool. Every week, the school will not only give students and parents feedback, will also seek their feedback, the feedback including understand students feel interesting, ease, and so on. And Altschool 17 programmers will like other technology companies programmers to respond to the feedback. Ventilla hope Altschool like Google technology companies, 10% of their income in the research and development.
“in 2030 is not far away, now kindergarten children in 2030 adult too. We need to think about what kind of education can prepare our children for the 2030.” Ventilla said. As before Google engineer, he knows better than most people see technology iteration is making many occupations and industries are disappearing, and create a more professional and industry unheard of.