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The flex model

Created by Silicon Schools Fund and Clayton Christensen Institute.

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Video transcript

For our third model, we've got the flex model of blended learning. And for this one, take a look at the definition and then we'll come back and talk about it as well. So in this picture of a flex school, we're just showing a generic flex model because lots of flex schools are doing very different setups within their actual physical space. In this particular model, what you see is that there's a central learning space, where students have their individual "offices," and you can see that each student has their computer, which is where they learn online. Now, around the perimeter of this central space, where there's lots of breakout rooms -- you see those breakout rooms where students can work in small groups, you see a breakout room where students can go for their science instruction and actually do their lab work, you see a social area down at the bottom, and this is where students can jump in -- sort of like a café and actually learn with other peers when it suits their purpose, and the big idea, right, is that students are moving flexibly through these different modalities based on what they need when they need it. So in a flex model, the big idea is that it differs from a rotation because students aren't constrained to spend a certain amount of time in any given learning activity. Instead, every student, in essence, has a customized playlist for what they need when they need it. We have a great protagonist to showcase the flex model that both of us were really excited about called Summit Public Schools. So, Summit was founded in 2003 by Diane Tavenner, and we're going to be visiting their Denali Campus in Sunnyvale, California. Now, this is a little hard to explain, but the big idea here is kids go as fast as they need as fast as they can, and in different pathways depending on what they're ready for. So think of it as a long playlist that's cultivated by the teachers for the students. At the beginning of the unit, a student takes a mastery quiz to see what they need to know. And if they already know this material, they can go right over into the testing room, take the assessment, and show mastery. But assuming they don't, they work through this playlist, and maybe this playlist has a Khan Academy video or a lecture that the teachers recorded or maybe it's a hands-on project with the teacher and the other students. The key here is it's truly proficiency based and it's mastery based, and by doing a large potion of the day under this flex model, they free up some time to different things and go after some of that deeper learning concept, so they're starting to put project-based learning into their school, and really try some different approaches to get agency into the hands of their students. And something I think you'll see is we actually visit Summit on the ground, is that student agency is really palpable and a big part of that model. But, why don't you tell us about who they're actually serving in these schools and how they've done? Great, so Summit has 6 campuses throughout the Bay Area currently, and is expanding. They have a really nice mix across income levels with some low income, middle income, and some higher income students as well. And the results have just been very strong. Their founding school, which has the most experience, is perennially on the US news and world report news on top high schools in America.