Giving Compass’ Take:
· Writing for The 74, Robin Lake talks about her experience visiting Workspace Education and what it taught her about individualized education pathways and designing a system of learning.
· How can educators support individualized learning? What benefits come from individualized learning methods?
When I arrived at Workspace Education in Bethel, Connecticut, founder and executive director Cath Fraise said she needed to go get her class started. She was back in five minutes and then spent the next hour with me. The students, she said, didn’t need much from her. They knew what they were supposed to be working on and had access to the resources they needed.
As we toured the beautifully renovated barn, I saw a number of spaces that looked a lot like Google’s offices, but nothing that looked like a traditional classroom. In addition to the increasingly predictable “makerspace,” they have a lunchroom/library, a performance theater and DJ room, a sewing and craft room, a science lab, a virtual reality room, a working wood shop, small tutoring spaces, workspaces for parents and teachers, a beanbag-filled viewing room for watching video-based instruction and movies, and many other multi-use spaces. Kids were coming and going throughout the day. I saw a band practicing, two students working together with two adults in the lab doing a science experiment, kids working independently online, a martial arts class, and a group of four students and an adult working on a humanities project.
I was here because a friend had recommended I go see what he called the “WeWork of education” — a space for students to learn, but not a school. Workspace opened a little more than a year ago, at first serving a small number of homeschool families but now serving more than 70 students (spanning K-12 age ranges), at least half of whom came from public schools. Families purchase a membership at Workspace (just under $5,000 per student per year and $1,000 for each additional child). The membership buys them access to the learning spaces, community events like dances and musicals (social opportunities homeschool families can’t otherwise get), and access to a trove of curricula, assessments, a Dream Director who helps students plan and develop their ideas and helps them manage social and emotional dynamics, a curriculum specialist who helps families sort through the array of options available and manage and prepare their college transcripts, and a technology wizard.
Read the full article about designing a system of learning by Robin Lake at The 74.
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