Summit Public Schools, a network of California charter schools, first teamed up with Facebook engineers in order to custom-build technology solutions for its teachers in early 2014. Together, the educators and volunteer developers created a platform capable of recommending learning “playlists” for each student. Soon, other schools were asking for access to the platform, a central component of the charter network’s success in preparing 96% of its students for four-year colleges. Last school year 19 partner schools experimented with the software, as part of a pilot program.
Now Summit is taking its Personalized Learning Platform to over 100 additional schools across 27 states and the District of Columbia. “When we embarked on this journey back in September, teachers told us they were interested in personalized learning, but didn’t have the resources to bring it to their classrooms,” Diane Tavenner, Summit’s CEO, said in a Facebook post. Early results have been promising, she said: “Students reported that personalized learning empowered them, and made them realize they could drive their own learning and success.”
The expanding program is further evidence of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s interest in personalized learning. In announcing the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, his $45 philanthropic project, he highlighted plans to invest in technology “that understands how you learn best and where you need to focus.”