Thursday, June 16, 2011

Learning from California: Improving Efficiency of Classroom Time and Instruction

Seattle, WA - Hybrid schools and individualized instruction can help bridge the achievement gap, according to Rocketship Education Founder John Danner and Khan Academy President Shantanu Sinha. The two education entrepreneurs shared their experiences with a group of prominent Washington education and private sector leaders Thursday, June 9th.

"Kids who are most at risk, kids who are most behind, actually don't get a lot out of their classroom time," Danner explained at the Washington Education Innovation Forum. "If a student is two years behind their grade level, the average lesson that a teacher is doing in that classroom is probably not suited to that student. Rocketship attempts to employ the best available technology to cover basic skills so that teachers can specialize in critical thinking skills and personal growth."

With a mission to deliver a world-class education to anyone anywhere, the Khan Academy online lessons provide self-paced exercises to students, and real time assessments to teachers, so as to optimize student and teacher time. With free online lessons, students can stop, pause, rewind, or skip forward as needed until they have a full mastery of the lesson.

A summary of the Forum highlights two core components of innovative education that Washington State can learn from:

  • Efficient use of teacher time and skill
  • Individualized instruction

The June 9th discussion, moderated by Marguerite Roza of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was the second in a series of Washington Education Innovation Forums. Started by Robin Lake, Associate Director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington Bothell, the Forums are intended to help spark more innovation in Washington's public schools.

The Washington Education Innovation Forum is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Follow us on Twitter @crpe_uw. The Washington Education Innovation Forum hashtag is #innovateWAed.