Monday, September 10, 2012

Somebody Should Remind Rick Hess That Deborah Meier is Still Alive

Rick Hess:

Basically, the idea (of School of One) is to take the kind of customized school model that Ted Sizer and Deborah Meier were talking about in the 1980s, and use new assessment, organizational, and instructional tools to make it more workable.

I think that would be more like this. Happily, we can find out without getting out the Ouiji board.

Anyhow, the question really is are we supposed to think of School of One as a cool idea (it is, actually) or an existing product? As a brand new idea that may rapidly improve, or an sustaining innovation in about 50 years of work on programmed instruction, and thus not likely to suddenly get much better? As a concept to be judged by data, or a product whose measure is whether or not its customers keep paying for it?

1 comment:

Jason said...

School of One might be more of a part of the 50 year progression of learning online/distance learning.

But some of the most interesting parts are heavily dependent on CATs and ML algos for serving the right content, innovations that are considerably younger (at least in application). These elements of the School of One model still have significant room for improvement and have seen pretty cool innovations over the last few years.

Also, it's hard to believe that they didn't cheap out on the actual content of their courses. Most of these companies/services tend to spend so much money on the tech (because that's what the founders and pushers know) and don't engage with the best of the online/distance learning community from a pedagogy standpoint. See this post about Udacity's crappy stats class. So while there is reason to believe we're not likely to see massive improvement on the best of what online courses have to offer, that's not the same as saying that School of One has done this part of the work right.

Ultimately, it's a really cool idea. I don't know if it's "working". I'm not sure what the right measure of success here is anyway, because I see the hybrid model as a "solution" with many possible problems.