Thursday, March 12, 2015

Innovation in K-12 Education

Silicon valley is home to some of the richest and most innovative companies on the planet. Yet, the benefit of having them in our neck of the woods hasn't really helped the school system around these parts.  I heard through the grapevine that Microsoft has done a phenomenal job  helping schools in Seattle -- the quality of teachers and the facilities at the schools there are way ahead of Bay Area schools.

I am not suggesting that these major companies pour funds into schools (though that makes a lot of sense!). Even on the education innovation front, there has been very little, apart from Khan Academy, Coursera and others similar services.  

I was pleasantly surprised to read about AltSchool which is exploring a new, fundamentally different approach to K-12 education. This appears to be a refreshing change from the routine run of the mill education that is being served at the public schools and the more affordable "assembly line" style private schools in the area. 

I don't mean to say that there aren't good schools here. I just think the big bucks, the great technologists,  and everything else that this region has at its disposal have not come together to take a serious, fresh look at what can be key to the future of this country and perhaps the world at large. The folks at AltSchool deserve special kudos for taking on this long overdue challenge.

With the growth of the Internet, computers, online video, online meetings, mobile technology, etc., there simply should be a lot more happening on the education front in the world's innovation capital. Let's hope Altschool is the first of many more such efforts.