News

When the internet is the teacher

By Michael Godsey, Los Angeles Times
June 12th, 2015

A push for a more digital education leads to questions about where, exactly, the teaching profession is heading

teachers-computersThere’s a new network of K-8 private schools called AltSchool, based in San Francisco and soon expanding to Brooklyn, N.Y., and Palo Alto, Calif. From that tiny amount of information — the name, the locations — you can probably guess that AltSchool is trying to modernize education for the digital age. At AltSchool, according to NPR, every student “has a laptop or a tablet, and they spend about 30 percent of their day on their devices, completing what are called playlists.”

AltSchool, which announced recently that it was hiring executives from Google, Uber and Zynga, is also a software developer. While AltSchool expands its network into what one investor hopes will become “the world’s biggest private school system,” it is simultaneously planning to license technology to other academic institutions.

Silicon Valley has taken notice: In May, AltSchool announced $100 million in funding from various investors, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. It would seem the company has tapped into the zeitgeist.

Next page: How will teachers, computers, and the internet co-exist?