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Are Rocketship's Learning Labs "Not Really Working?"


A TRAJECTORY CHANGE? In a recent PBS interview with Rocketship CEO John Danner and educators at the touted charter schools in San Jose, John Merrow finds that "the learning lab saves schools a lot of money, but there's just one problem: They're not really working." He mentions a dearth of actionable data for teachers along with bored students, and surmises that a "big change," which may include scraping the learning labs, may be on the way.

We reached out to the Rocketship fellas to clarify Merrow' statement. Says Danner: "That part of the report was just wrong. Lots to do of course, but it's more a matter of getting teachers an interface they like than a data problem." Charlie Bufalino, National Development Associate, elaborates more:

Online learning is integral to our model...The Learning Lab is not going away, rather we are working to integrate its key components directly into our classrooms under the guidance of our incredible teachers and staff...I think Merrow probably just happened to focus on an isolated incident and wanted to bring it up as it is always a valid concern with online learning. We continue to work on the data integration piece and this pilot doesn't change the importance of that. Our teachers continue to get more robust data from the Learning Lab and are eager for us to work towards a fully integrated and real-time system.

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