Sunday, March 24, 2013


One non-profit doing interesting work is Matchbook Learning. The reason they stick out to me is simple. Throughout my life, I have seen people and programmes reward students who perform the best, like merit-based scholarships. I’ve seen programmes for students who are not in the top15% but quite close. I’ve even seen programmes for B and C students. But I don’t know of any regional or national programmes designed to take care and help and fund the education of the students who are performing the worst. (Incidentally, I see the same problem within my company as we decide in which countries we want to do outreach.)

But what I love is that Matchbook Learning works with the bottom 5% of schools (turnaround schools) in the U.S. using government funding for turnaround schools. You should watch the TEDxUNC talk: The Future of Education. Matchbook Learning Founder and CEO Sajan George tells how he uses technology-infused, mastery-based, data-driven blended learning founded in excellent teachers to turn schools around. I love how he left his job turning around failing companies and, wanting to have a bigger impact, decided to work on turning around failing schools.

His talk reminds me a bit of what some schools and school districts are doing with Khan Academy. Khan Academy now has an entire state using them for middle school math support. A 4-member, schools-implementation team from Khan Academy led a 2-day Khan Academy workshop for Idaho educators in October 2012 funded by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation, an Idaho-based foundation that focuses on the expansion of excellent and limitless education for all Idahoans. The Albertson Foundation initiated a request-for-proposals to all types of Idaho schools (private, traditional, charter, alternative, after-school) to receive funding to pilot Khan Academy in the 2013-2014 school year. The grant winners were announced the 28th of February 2013 and the pilots will start in this autumn. You can watch a video about how Khan Academy was a saving grace for the educational work of the Albertson Foundation and check out the reaction of teachers at an education conference with Sal Khan in Boise in May 2012.

No comments: