Free and low cost programs in schools are a great way for kids to explore new interests, get extra support, and supplement what is being taught during the school day.
While we all know that Facebook helped transform communication with its awesome online social network, the company now wants to make a similar impact on education.
Last week, Facebook announced a partnership with a nonprofit charter-school network, Summit Public Schools, to build educational software that will be offered to public schools for free. As an effort to develop and offer students a “personalized learning plan”, the program is used to help students learn at their own pace.
Facebook’s founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg says the partnership with Summer is “an example of how educators and engineers can team up to unlock more potential than we could have otherwise.”
This isn’t the first time Mark Zuckerberg expressed interest in school transformation; education is a passion of his. Four years ago, he gave $100 million to turn the Newark’s failing public schools into a “symbol of educational excellence for the whole nation.” In addition, Mark and his wife committed to giving $120 million over five years to school districts in the San Francisco Bay Area.
According to mock up screenshots offered by Facebook, the software appears to allow teachers to craft curriculums for students and for students to track their learning progress. The technology also gives teachers more time to work one-on-one with students in each classroom.
This year, Facebook will support Summit as it partners with various public schools that want to explore personalized learning through a small pilot program. Feedback from the program will be used for improvements with the goal of eventually offering it for free to any school in the United States.