The New York Times article The Silicon Valley Billionaires Remaking America’s Schools by
And in more than 100 schools nationwide, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief, is testing one of his latest big ideas: software that puts children in charge of their own learning, recasting their teachers as facilitators and mentors.
Zuckerberg is backing student-directed learning software from Summit Learning.
Teachers use the software to track students’ work and may intervene when a child is struggling. One-on-one mentoring helps students make choices and evaluate their progress. In a Facebook post in 2015, Mr. Zuckerberg said that this learning approach “frees up time for teachers to do what they do best — mentor students.”
Turning teachers from lecturers to mentors is a major paradigm shift in education and this is the most powerful statement I’ve seen promoting this tectonic shift in the role of classroom teachers.
It’s clear that that the lecture method is ineffective, as studies by the likes of Stanford physics and education professor Carl Wieman, who won a Nobel Prize for his innovative, break-through work in quantum mechanics have shown. As he says:
Sitting there listening to someone — where it’s just flowing past you — you’re not doing that mental processing. You’re not exercising the brain and you walk out without really learning anything.
Facebook is putting its engineers where its mouth is by providing engineering resources to help Summit build it’s educational platform.
This is my second post this week about how Mark Zuckerberg is promoting mentoring! While the focus of Mentorphile.com is on mentoring entrepreneurs, I spent many years of my career working in higher education, providing new types of learning materials for students. So I will be very interested to track the success of Summit and to see if more schools can start changing teachers from “the sage on the stage to guide on the side.”