Personalized Learning

What do we mean when we say, "Personalized Learning?"

For the past 150 years, schools haven't changed much. We put 20-40 kids in a room and deliver one-size-fits-all lessons. We sometimes form small groups to provide extra support or an extra challenge. We try to alter our lessons so that we connect with different types of learners. But our efforts fall short. Most students fit into one of two categories: they're overwhelmed and they give up or they're bored and they cause trouble. The teacher then becomes a police officer trying to force kids to cooperate.

At Apex Innovation Academy we leverage the power of new educational technology to individualize instruction. It's the 2020's and students no longer need teachers to deliver knowledge and skills. They still need a guide, a coach, and someone to expose them to exciting new worlds. They need caring adults to help them when they're stuck, to hold them accountable, to motivate them when they're lagging, and to pay attention to them as a person. So students at Apex engage fully with their guide (teacher) and learn content primarily through the Internet. Apex students employ such tools as Khan Academy, Artificial Intelligence, YouTube, and Zearn.

Each quarter, the student, parent(s), and Apex guide hold a brief meeting to set goals and plan curriculum. Every student is on a path that is just right for her. Every student is allowed to pursue his passions and interests. No two students are treated the same because, well, no two students are the same.

The guide then works to pair the students up with other students who have similar interests and goals for meaningful collaboration and accountability. Students sometimes work alone and sometimes work in pairs or small teams.

All students need to learn basic reading, writing, and math skills to function well in this world. However, not everyone needs to learn algebra or high-level academic vocabulary. Some students need to learn these things because they will go to a challenging university. Others will attend trade school and still others will start their own business. At Apex, we ground all students in strong basic skills and then allow divergent paths for each student from there.

Personalized education results in joyful students who learn faster and deeper. No student is made to feel like a failure. No student is bored learning something beneath her current level of competence. A community of respectful learners is fostered where everyone benefits from the help of others and everyone develops character by helping others.