Education is one of the last industries that is still going through massive change and disruption with the introduction of technology. In particular, we’ve seen the rise of iPads, the introduction of learning technologies and educational games enter the classroom, but we haven’t actually seen the physical classroom change for children. AltSchool, a new startup aiming to transform K-8 education and schools, is hoping to change that.
Founded by Max Ventilla, AltSchool is a new school that focuses on child-centered education supported by a technology platform. The school is also predicated on the belief that most students vary in skill level in subjects like math, reading, science, art, physical education and social studies, and “grades” are confining. Enter highly customized “playlists” that serve as a personalized curriculum for each child.
As you can see from the video above, AltSchool’s first classroom is in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco, and currently has around 20 students between the ages of five and 10. They are split into two main learning groups, 5-7 year-olds and the 8-10 year-olds. There are generally eight students to one teacher but for some activities the entire group learns together. The actual building has one large room sectioned off into areas for play and learning.
“If a time traveler came back from the early 1900s, and looked at schools, they would look relatively the same. And there’s something wrong with that, because children and our world have changed,” Ventilla has said.
Check out our video above to get an inside look into the classroom, teachers, and students at AltSchool. And we also talked with Ventilla about his vision, and what’s next for the startup.
And we’re super excited that Ventilla and CEO of Amplify, and former Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education Joel Klein will be on stage with us at Disrupt NY next week.