Facebook has worked with a charter operator, Summit Public Schools, to develop what looks like a very extensive “personalized learning” platform. The charter network piloted it last year and they have now – like, I mean, literally “now” – made it available free to any teacher who wants to use it. The article says it had a “steep learning curve,” but one would hope they’ve made adjustments since that time.
In order to register, you have to have a Google Apps for Education account. When you register, you need to be able to upload proof that you’re a teacher, like a pay stub or a letter on school letterhead. They seem to be pretty picky about it — I had to upload an image of my pay stub three times before they accepted it. It was initially rejected because either the date or the entire image wasn’t big or clear enough. They do get back to you within minutes of your upload.
The curriculum itself looks quite ambitious. And the instructions appear fairly clear on how to set-up classes. If you’ve got a one-on-one device program, it would seem to me that fully exploring this new tool could really be worth your time. For those of us without that kind of access to technology, however, I suspect we’ll generally pass – and it’s clearly not directed towards us, anyway.
This new platform will certainly be the talk of ed tech folks for awhile. Perhaps I’m completely out of the loop, but I don’t think a lot of people saw this new tool coming…
Access is way up through mobile devices, but there hasn’t been a change in access to broadband over the past five years:
I’ve certainly seen this in my classroom, and it presents a big challenge to students. There’s a whole lot you can do on a computer that you can’t do easily on a iphone, including writing an essay. Not to mention recent research showing that lack of experience with laptops and computers impacts student performance on state assessments (see Study: Do Tests On Computers Assess Academic or Technological Abilities?).
I spent a little time exploring it and, overall, it obviously has a lot of potential, but there is a long way to go…
He previously funded the Khan Academy to create Spanish-language versions of their videos, and those are on this new site, too. I didn’t spend time, though, trying to figure out if there is any difference between what he has on App-prende and what Khan has on their Spanish-language site. Those videos can be very helpful to English Language Learners, especially in the context of the Preview, View, Review instructional strategy.
I think the health videos could be useful to parents of our students.
I found the section on history surprising disappointing, with only images of historical documents. The table of contents for the culture section appeared much more interesting, but none of the links worked.
I’m assuming the site will be considerably beefed-up in the future. It will be interesting to watch its development.