School of One: new technologies + new school model = more learning, faster

July 21, 2010 •

The School of One is a new and growing school in New York City that merges direct instruction, group work, and individual computer-based learning—at the same time, in the same open classroom—to greatly improve the amount of learning that takes place during a school day.

Multiple kinds of learning are taking place in one classroom. The School of One either presently employs or plans to employ five ways of teaching and learning in one room:

  • Teacher-instruction (Seminars take place in corners of the large open room)
  • Technology-mediated (Students work in pods, on computer-based learning programs)
  • Virtual large-group (Traditional online learning will be used to present information and assess students)
  • Personal tutoring via peers (To come: They plan to stage-in a peer tutoring program)

Five to ten students at a time receive tutorials during short 30-35 minute seminars, in the corner of a large, open room. Meanwhile others work in small groups, and on computers. The software run by the computers has been designed by the school, Wireless Generation, Microsoft, and other partners for this program.

The learning program judges a student’s performance and identifies content areas that are lacking—takes the student back through the material—then reviews again. At any time during the day the teacher is able to see a diagnostics of that student’s performance, understanding and then re-teaching only those areas that need work.

For a report on the program click here.

Time Magazine called School of One one of the 50 best innovations of 2009, and it was discussed in a

Podcast for the New York Times in May by Stephen Dubner, author of Freakonomics.

After successfully running a 7-week after-school program within three NYC middle schools, they began offering an in-school math program in May of 2010 at Brooklyn middle school IS 228.

The School of One uses technology on both ends of the learning experience, from preparing and personalizing the content and style of lessons to carrying them out. It is remaking both lesson-preparation and the teaching and learning processes around technology.