Personalized learning is the future of education and Mark Zuckerberg knows it
Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan continue to use their platform for philanthropic good, this time throwing their money behind personalized learning in a bid to modernize the American education system.
In a recent personal essay, Zuckerberg reiterated his belief in personalized learning, in which curriculums are designed for an individual student based on their own learning patterns. As American public schools fall further into disrepair, the debate over school choice and charter schools has intensified.
Zuckerberg wrote that he thinks this dynamic misses the mark.
“A lot of today’s debates pit district schools against charter schools, or reformers against unions. But over the long term, we need to build tools to empower every teacher at every school to provide personalized instruction and mentorship to every student. Instead of engaging in zero-sum debates, we think we’ll help more by building tools to help all teachers everywhere.”
Now, Zuckerberg is obviously a proponent of technology and the Facebook founder sees tech as the answer to improved personalized education:
“The magic of technology is that it can help social change scale faster. And because of Mark’s experience building a world-class engineering organization at Facebook, we are in a unique position to build a philanthropy with a great engineering team to help our partners scale their social change faster as well.”
While Zuck acknowledged that there are plenty of instances of individual teachers using personalized education, the problem is scaling the curriculum to a larger student body:
“One challenge we’ve seen in education is that there are many brilliant teachers and school leaders who create new kinds of schools based on new models of learning — but those schools usually only serve hundreds of students, while most children still do not have access to them. There are very few examples of new school models that expand to thousands of schools today.”
And, again, Zuckerberg thinks emerging technologies can help bridge this gap:
“Our hope is that technology can help with this scaling challenge. We’re seeing promising signs of early success, where our partnership with Summit Public Schools has helped encode their teaching philosophy in tools that will be used in more than 300 district, charter, and private schools this fall.”
Zuckerberg has put his money where his mouth is when it comes to a variety of philanthropic endeavors, including personalized education. Personalized education is a truly exciting possibility for the future, especially as far too many American students get archaic and impractical educations.
There are issues with implementation, but with Zuckerberg’s money and technology, personalized education might just be the next big thing.