Adaptive, Interactive & Integrative
We use a multi-age classroom, the latest in game based adaptive computer programs, interactive socratic discussions, and quest-like group projects for deeper integrative learning, in a studio increasingly run by our young learners.
The driving force for the learning experience is the narrative of the Hero’s Journey, where each student is a hero on a journey passionately discovering his or her gifts in order to find a calling that will change the world.
Motivate and Inspire
Our Number One Job
Job number one is to make it fun to be part of the school. If being a part of the community is enjoyable and the kids feel safe, then the children will be more motivated to work hard and take risks. One of our major tenets is that it is never acceptable to intentionally shame anyone. We will try to always respond in a manner that will ensure the child feels safe, cared for, and capable.
Focus on Mastery
Our Students Progress at Their Best Ability
Putting the emphasis on Mastery ensures that a student has a complete understanding of a concept before moving on to a more complex one. An incomplete understanding early on can cause significant issues later, particularly in math. In the traditional classroom, the model is time, where the class moves on after a set period regardless if all students have mastered the topic of not.
In the Infinity learning model, the use of technology, self-directed goal setting, and peer support, allows a student to master a concept at their own pace. By achieving a complete understanding, students will feel good about themselves and progress at their best and most complete ability.
“People learn at different rates… Quicker isn’t necessarily smarter and slower definitely isn’t dumber.”
“…Whether there are ten or twenty or fifty kids in a class, there will be disparities in their grasp of a topic at any given time. Even a one-to-one ratio is not ideal if the teacher feels forced to march the student along at a state-mandated pace, regardless of how well the concepts are understood.”
“Lessons should be paced to the individual student’s needs, not some arbitrary calendar.”
Salman Khan, creator of KhanAcademy.org – quotes from his book The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined.
Use Socratic Discussions
Developing Critical Thinking
In a Socratic discussion, there is not a specific “correct” answer. Instead, the young heroes are presented a scenario and asked to make a choice, such as “You are in X situation. Do you do A, B, or C?” or “Which is more important: A or B?”
As they struggle with questions and come to their own conclusions, the heroes are forced to really think about what they believe and why, and to seek evidence to back up their answers. The goal is for heroes to learn how to evaluate all sides of a topic, take a stance, back it up with a solid argument, and look for flaws in their opponents’ claims.
Through discussions and actively making arguments for their answers and opinions, heroes gain a better understanding of a topic than they would by sitting back and taking notes during a lecture. It is about giving students questions, not answers.
Emphasize a Hero’s Journey
The Tools, Skills & Courage to Change the World
The Hero’s Journey is the overarching story we use to equip and inspire the young heroes with the tools, skills, and courage to change the world. This is done while realizing that learning to fail early, cheaply, and often is an important part of the journey; and experiencing that perseverance, character and grit are far more important that raw talent.
The primary purpose of the Hero’s Journey is to inspire students to search for their calling in life. A calling is where a deep burning need intersects with a hero’s talents and joy. Eventually heroes will ask themselves, “How could I provide value to the world in a way that I find personally meaningful, and what skills, knowledge, and tools must I master to fulfill this goal?”
Celebrate Mastery and Milestones with Badges
Progression with Mastery
The heroes progress as they master each concept rather than at fixed time intervals; in this way “grades” are no longer a relevant way of representing what a student knows. Instead, progress is measured by badges that celebrate those mastered concepts and important milestones.
The badge system helps heroes and families set goals and track progress and milestones in their learning. Creating and accomplishing a badge plan is a key part of a Personal Learning Plan. Badges are awarded upon demonstrating comprehension for set topics and achievement of defined goals.
Adults act as role models, but the most powerful learning happens peer-to-peer. For this reason, our Elementary Studio will house up to thirty-six children aged four to thirteen (and eventually through high school age), all working together.
Salman Khan, founder of KhanAcademy.com from his book, One World Schoolhouse
“There is nothing natural about segregating kids by age. That isn’t how families work; isn’t what the world looks like; and it runs counter to the way that kids have learned and socialized for most of human history.
Even the Mickey Mouse Club included kids of different ages, and as anyone who’s ever spent time around children can tell you, both younger and older kids benefit when different ages mix. The older ones take responsibility for the younger ones. The younger ones look up to and emulate the older ones. Everyone seems to act more mature. Both younger and older rise to the occasion.
Take away this mix of ages and everybody loses something. Younger kids lose heroes and idols and mentors. Perhaps even more damagingly, older kids are deprived of a chance to be leaders, to exercise responsibility, and are thereby infantilized.”