Mar 1, 2022 • 36M

Tara Baumgarten of Sora Schools on how the online school started, organising self-directed learning, how to develop new skills, pupil motivation, and why the future of learning looks like work.

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Appears in this episode

Jonathan Lloyd
The Class Futures podcast series explores the future of digital learning. Featuring interview Q&As with people from education, business and technology.
Episode details

Tara Baumgarten is the product manager at Sora Schools, an online school setup by the trio of Garrett Smiley, Indra Sofian and Wesley Samples. Instead of running a traditional school timetable, Sora is a project-based learning environment where students can start their own projects, choose their own timeline, and set their own ways of evaluating their work.

It has a timetable different to a traditional school too, with ‘stand ups’ instead of assemblies, and ‘check points’ instead of class form time. Lessons are self-directed and called ‘learning expeditions’. It really is an exciting new model which has emerged out of the global Covid-19 pandemic and it is enabling pupils to follow their interests and develop the skills which better prepare them for the future.

If you’re interested in the model you can read a bit more about it here.

Summary - In this episode with Tara Baumgarten you will learn:

  1. How she joined Sora Schools and why she got in to it. She talks about how the school started and her own experiences at school.

  2. Her favourite subject and teacher at school!

  3. What a typical day looks like at Sora Schools.

  4. How Sora Schools has grown from 12-150 students and how they organise their learning. How it started in Starbucks and grew to include pupils from all over America. The role of hybrid, colearning and maker spaces.

  5. Tracking student progress using a six week pace schedule. How pupils can follow their interests and how they are part of interest based houses.

  6. The role of self-directed learning and learning by doing. How students choose sequences and how progress is tracked. Why it accelerates learning!

  7. Why the future of learning looks like work and how the lines between schools and work will blur.

  8. Technologies being used in the online school such as Zoom and Discord.

Free analysis of the conversation at 32 minutes 20.

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