Facebook platform lets students set the pace

Summit Public Schools, a charter school network based in Silicon Valley, California, announced a partnership with Facebook yesterday to deploy its “Personalized Learning Platform” in more than 100 schools across the country, the New York Times reports.


Screenshot of the Summit Personalized Learning Platform, student view

The schools are in 27 states and will be able to use the platform for free. It is said to put students in charge of the direction and pace of their own learning and to promote college preparatory skills like time management and resourcefulness.

“As parents and kids and teachers get access to this type of learning, I think more and more will want it,” the paper quoted Diane Tavenner, co-founder and chief executive of Summit Public Schools, as saying in a telephone interview.

From the looks of the screenshot provided, students get a one-screen view of their syllabus in each of their classes for the term and can decide for themselves which projects they tackle in which order.

This will be great, I think, for kids who can direct their own learning, which, I regret, isn’t most kids. But at least teachers will be loading the syllabus in each class.

With the venture, Facebook enters a crowded marketplace for education dollars. Google, for instance, says about 60 million people are using Google apps for education worldwide. The company offers a suite of free tools for managing an online learning ecosystem.

Other schools use Microsoft productivity tools in their classrooms, including Office 365 and Skype. Amazon has even come out with a platform called Inspire, which allows teachers to share free instructional materials with each other.

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Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.