School of One is an instructional program that personalizes learning through an innovative combination of teachers, physical space, and technology in the classroom.
By integrating multiple “modalities” of instruction – live teacher‐led lessons, software‐based lessons, collaborative activities, virtual tutors, and individual practice – into the same learning space, School of One can effectively differentiate instruction based on each student’s unique academic needs.
The program operates in open, 2000‐square‐foot spaces, each subdivided into smaller stations and organized by the various modalities. This design sets the stage for a significant breakthrough: multiple skills can be taught at the same time in different parts of the room, freeing students to learn at their own speed and according to their preferred modalities. But this complex process is not left to chance; instead, School of One’s pioneering learning algorithm generates a daily plan for each student, drawn from thousands of lessons from more than fifty providers across the modalities. These daily plans are projected on large monitors distributed around the space, showing students where to go and teachers who to expect in which areas at all times.
During class, teachers deliver instruction to groups of students who are all working on the same skill; before and after class, teachers analyze data and can adjust the daily student plans recommended by School of One’s learning algorithm. All in all, School of One’s technology streamlines numerous administrative tasks related to grading, assessments, and planning, allowing teachers to spend significantly more time preparing high‐quality lessons, helping students to synthesize the material, and diagnosing individual misconceptions.
Students take daily online quizzes that generate instant progress reports for students, parents, and teachers to access. Students who struggle repeatedly are flagged for intensive intervention, and those who demonstrate mastery are moved forward to new material. At the same time, curricular materials are evaluated on the basis of their effectiveness. As School of One grows to serve more students, the data gets richer, the trends become more robust, and the daily scheduling algorithm gets smarter. Effective material is scheduled more frequently, and ineffective material is phased out.
Launched as an 80‐student pilot program in the summer of 2009, School of One is currently the full‐time mathematics curriculum in three New York City public middle schools, serving approximately 1,500 students. Articles on School of One have appeared in the New York Times, Huffington Post, Atlantic Monthly, Education Next, eSchool News, and Time, where it was named one of the top fifty inventions of 2009. It was also designated a top‐rated applicant to US Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation (i3) grant competition.