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Can a school that's part tech startup transform education?A new school that hopes to change the way kids are taught had its first graduate in June. The AltSchool is part tech startup and part school, with students working off of personalized playlists, and engineers working with teachers to create lessons. CNET's...
At the [UNKNOWN] School in San Francisco, kids sign in with a swipe and alongside crayons and books are tablets and laptops. But it's how the devices are used that make the new school unique. At my old school, I was in classes of 35 to 40 kids and they were really trying to get through their curriculum, but here you're allowed to kind of make you're own curriculum per say. Zev Curiel-Friedman is the first student to graduate from Alt School, which was founded in 2013 by an ex Google employee. The experience is intensely personalized for each child and that the learning is taking place not through a screen. But through a physical classroom. The $20,000 a year private school uses technology to create a personalized lesson plan or playlist for each student. If you're interested in something, they'll push you to get there. And playlist allows you to do that. Teachers create instruction cards for assignments that can be for one person or the whole class. Then, teachers build a playlist for an individual student. They can start the card and then go through and check off steps as they complete them. With students from different grades sharing a class room the personalization allows students to learn at their own pace and follow their interests. The system also lets teachers easily monitor and assess students work.>> We don't have. Tests or quizzes or letter grades. I grade them on an ongoing basis. The feedback loop is really quick. Anytime they submit a card to me, I can assess it right there on the card. And when technology doesn't meet the teacher's needs, they can work with an engineer that they've been paired with. We have about forty five engineers, park managers, and designers who build products for our schools. When alt school started in 2013, it looked more like a start up with twenty students in one room. and engineers in the other. For the upcoming school year Alt School expects to have about 350 students attending eight schools. In San Francisco, I'm Kara Tsuboi, cnet.com for CBS news.