"During summer 2009, the New York City school system conducted a two-month pilot test of a radically new education concept, the School of One. Conducted at Middle School 131 in New York’s Chinatown, the pilot program focused on a single subject, mathematics, and a single grade level (sixth grade). The New York City Department of Education views it as demonstration of a concept that is equally applicable in other subjects and grades.
Instead of organizing the 80 participating students into classes with one of the school’s four teachers assigned to each class, the School of One used flexible arrangements of students and teachers and a large collection of alternative ways for students to learn the 77 mathematics skills that were the objectives for the program. The School of One lesson bank included more than 1,000 lessons covering those 77 mathematics skills. Rather than giving every student the same content, the School of One used data from prior assessments to identify which skills each student should work on during the summer. Inputs from teachers and from students provided information about how each student learned best (for example, “likes to learn through games” or “likes to learn alone”). A computer algorithm used information about each student’s demonstrated mathematics skills and his or her learning preferences to generate individual “playlists” of appropriate learning activities.
Staff for the summer pilot included teachers whose efforts focused on large-group instruction, college students studying to be teachers who provided small-group instruction and support for online learning, and high school students who focused on tutoring and the grading of assessments.
School of One uses technology to develop a unique learning path for each student and to provide a significant portion of the instruction that is both individualized and differentiated. The New York City Department of Education now operates the School of One program in three middle schools and plans to expand the program to serve over 5,000 students by 2012."