“There are things we hold near and dear about what school is, but we’re asking people to reimainge it,” said Christopher Rush, co-founder of a revolutionary new learning system called School of One.

So imagine this: A student arrives in school in the morning and answers five questions that will be calculated in a customized algorithm to figure out what she’ll be doing that day. That algorithm will decide which teacher she’ll work with, her level of learning based on what she learned the previous day, and her specific activities.

The system completely subverts the traditional classroom model of one teacher for 25- 30 students per classroom. And each student learns in different modalities throughout the day: individually with computer software, with groups, with a virtual tutor, with a live tutor, and so on.

“There are so many ways that kids can learn,” Rush said. “It could be the best way is with a teacher, but that’s not the only way. There have to be choices.”

Based in three public schools in New York, the School of One system is ripe for scaling — but only when the algorithm is as smart as it could possibly be, Rush says.

“We have to build in time to try new things,” he said. “Some will work and some won’t, and that’s okay.”

When it comes to creating a models of schools for the future, this could very well be it. It combines much of what forward-thinking education reformers say is key: individualized learning, the best of technology, and a flexible learning system that adapts to what students learn day by day.

Check out the video to see more of how it works.

School of One Revolutionizes Traditional Classroom Model 10 February,2011Tina Barseghian

  • WOW this is so cool. I hope School of One is able to expand.

  • CC Wan

    This is great. Is this affordable for an individual learner, like a third age learner who missed the opportunity when they were younger?

    • Anonymous

      At the moment, it’s only being used in the K-12 setting. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it was adapted as a broader learning tool.

  • We need more unique programs out there that address what children need instead of accepting the old ways of most large school systems. We are in the 21st century but schools mainly function in the 20th. Let’s change as our children have already to meet them where they are and help them achieve what they deserve- a complete education.
    Erika Burton, Ph.D.
    Stepping Stones Together, Founder
    Empowering Parent Involvement in Early Literacy

  • This is amazing! What a great way to remove the unnecessary learning stress that the traidtional schooling system causes.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor