Microschools: Networks

The current schools seem to contain the following components:

The area of land on which the school stands
The classrooms, labs, library etc., the academic infrastructure
The playground, swimming pool etc., the sports infrastructure
The office and other administrative infrastructure, the engine that runs the school

Except for sitting in the classrooms for most of their school day, the children get to use this infrastructure only minimally. However, the parents are willing to pay high fees for this real-estate package deal. Strange!

Let us try a thought experiment…

The classrooms inside a school are insular and don’t interact with each other too much. If we took the classrooms and physically moved them far from each other and still managed to run the administrative engine, it may be possible to have a fully functional school.

Many microschools with a common name who identify themselves as part of the same networked school
They function independently but meet at regular intervals in a rented or public space
They are managed by an online administrative engine that allows things like co-ordination, scheduling and monitoring
The children create and manage their own independent time-tables and record/ monitor their academic progress using this online tool
The parents and facilitators have admin access and can see the progress of their children
The children learn on their own and the facilitator understands and encourages this process

The networked microschools can be thought of as a distributed version of the current schools with the focus shifted from infrastructure and regimentation to relaxed learning. The saving in fees and the reduction in travel-time, stress etc. will be substantial. I think it is an exciting vision. What do you think?

Microschools: The future of education?

I wrote a blog post titled ‘The educational institution of the future: A fantasy’ in January 2009. Some days ago I discovered that the idea put forward in this post became what are now being called microschools. And Wikipedia tells me that the name microschools was put forward for the first time in February 2010. A full year after my blogpost! 🙂

The wikipedia article defines microschooling as:
“Micro-schooling is the reinvention of the one-room school house, where class size is typically smaller than that in most schools (15 students or less in a classroom) and there are mixed-age level groupings. Generally, micro-schools do not meet all 5 days of the school week, and their schedules look different than a traditional public or private school.”

My blog post talking about a very similar idea is reproduced below:

—– My 2009 blog post —–

Add another adult facilitator or so and add not more than a couple of children and there you have the prototype for the school of the future.

What fun!

It is foolish from our fast changing perspective today to predict the contours of a future even a few years ahead in time. But we have to begin the discussion somewhere. So listed out below is a random, incomplete look at the practical details of a school of the future.

No school has more than 10 students.
There are no teachers (Only facilitators who speak when they are spoken to 🙂 ).
The facilitators direct the efforts of the students when they can or pass them on to other facilitators who can guide them.
Anybody above the age of 14/15 and who has been a student of this type of school from their first school days is considered qualified to become a facilitator (Till we get the first batch of such facilitators any industrial era trained person who has a high school certificate can become a facilitator).
All schools run in their local communities in a house or community area not more than a ten minute walk for any child.
The minimum infrastructure in a school is an internet ready computer.
The thousands of school buildings and their administrators that mushroomed across the world for the industrial era become sports and other similar educational infrastructure providers.
The education of the future focuses on body, mind and spirit development (Includes things like sports, yoga, CBSE text books, meditation etc).
The education of the future also focuses on social and cultural development (Includes interpersonal growth, music, social service activities etc).

—– End of my 2009 blog post —–

My blog with the above and other education related posts is available here.

I think that after last year’s Covid-impacted school experience, many parents and children will be ready to shift to microschools. What do you think?