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Be You Innovation Lab: Crazy Enough to Work? Using Mobile to Hack Education

Be You Innovation Lab

Sierra Goldstein was a straight-A high school student, but she was bored, “even lazy,” she said. So Goldstein dropped out — or perhaps more accurately, went mobile. Goldstein, 15, is part of Colorado-based Be You Innovation Lab. The lab, started in 2011, is another sign that growing mobile and blended self-directed learning trend, though small, is still gaining momentum and will inevitably have snow-balling repercussions for high education soon.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • +Policy wise, Be You Innovation Lab works outside the present system as a quasi-homeschool mashup, pursing their interests and educational resources from anywhere.
  • +Students are encouraged to follow whatever they are interested in and seek out mentors in those areas.
  • +Kids don’t come out with high school diplomas, which means presently they need to seek alternative certification if they want to return to the current construct. Otherwise, they’ll need to find other ways to prove competency. New badge systems like Mozilla’s Open Badgescould be an option.
  • +Be You wants to develop an app to help facilitate the self-directed learning.
  • +Unclear how many students have gone through, or if there are any metrics (quantitative or qualitative) for success.
  • +Their business plan calls for $20 million investment to expand city-wide, with no mention of revenue.
  • +The move towards blended learning and self-directed intrinsic based motivated paths is gaining momentum, from Khan Academy’s positive results in California, to Quest to Learn, and School of One in New York City.

Key section from FastCo:

The philosophy behind Be You Lab is based on research which indicates that giving students a greater sense of authority could bring more self-discipline in learning and encourage them to think outside of the box. Be You Lab students are encouraged to build their own curriculum and schedules. They have to pick mentors who provide them guidance and advise them on better ways to learn about their passions. Students use social networks to accomplish this goal and take control of their own education from anywhere.

Here’s a recent deck from Be You by Monika Hardy, a founder and 20-year public school math teacher, that explains their journey from one algebra class of self-guided experimentation to their grand vision of what a city as a school would look like:

a people experiment from monika hardy

[Fast Company]

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