By Carl Dorvil, Chief Executive Officer of Group Excellence Ltd. And Chairman of The Board of Prime Prep Academy
In a recent blog post titled “A Hope for Future Irrelevance,” Michael Horn reflects on a book which discusses the tenets of American teaching technique – including ensuring every student answers the critical questions of a lesson plan, answering the question of “What exactly do I want my students to master?” and choosing challenging curriculum. He posits the challenges a blended-learning environment, particularly infused with technology, will cause for these traditional techniques. His conclusion?
“The underpinnings behind these techniques will remain important in the future—blended learning environments ought to embed them. But as techniques that every teacher will need to master, I hope that they, like our current factory-model monolithic education system, will be relics of the past.”
In late June, the Communities Foundation of Texas (Dallas, TX) hosted Michael Horn to discuss his groundbreaking book, Disrupting Class, which describes transformational work happening in education — specifically through the use of technology. In his talk, he referenced the examples of Lexus and Apple, how they have changed the car and computer industries, respectively. Then, he made the case that technology has the same ability to revolutionize the classroom.
His conclusion left the audience to wonder, “What if?” What if learning in school was the only necessary constant of education? What if time, teachers, and location were variable components of the American educational experience? What if?
This fall in Texas a disruptive charter school, Prime Prep Academy, will be opening for its inaugural academic school year. With a 1:1 laptop to student ratio, each child enrolled in the school will be exposed to a cutting edge education experience. Students will be able to complete homework and class assignments online. In addition, access to video tutorials, test results, and report cards will be available online for all students. Prime Prep Academy will also be the first school in Texas powered by Vschoolz, the world’s first blended-learning management system.
Deion Sanders, co-visionary for the school and Hall of Fame sports figure, wondered what if intercity kids had the opportunity to go to a school that truly prepared them for a job in the 21st century? Contrary to the general public, the communities the schools will serve are not asking Sanders why he’s starting a charter school. They are exhaling, “Finally.” Finally, an icon athlete is telling the students in the inner city that education is important.
Sanders is committed to making sure that every Prime Prep Academy student knows they may not become a professional athlete but they will learn the skills to become a 21st century professional. The favor of the community was clearly seen this spring when over 300 people attended each of the two school town hall meetings.
One thing is certain – Prime Prep Academy has an opportunity to be very disruptive.