Facebook's newest partnership is pushing an innovative approach to learning in 120 Silicon Valley schools


Mark Zuckerberg

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Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the 2013 TechCrunch Disrupt conference on September 11, 2013 in San Francisco, California. The TechCruch Disrupt Conference runs through September 11.

Facebook is partnering with a charter school network to push out an innovative concept in 120 Silicon Valley schools: student-directed learning.


Announced Tuesday, the Facebook-Summit Public Schools partnership centers on a learning system co-created by the social media behemoth and charter network through an undisclosed amount of money, The New York Times reported.

Called the "Summit Personalized Learning Platform," the software enables students to create their own timelines for completing projects and lessons for the year, supplemented with one-on-one mentorship by teachers.

In return, the system gives students wide berth to develop creative problem solving skills and learn time management on their own, the creators of the platform say. The software will be free of charge to schools.

The partnership is Zuckerberg's latest influence on public education in the US.


In 2010, he donated $100 million to fix the failing school system in Newark, New Jersey with the goal of turning around the schools in five years.

Multiple sources called the investment a failure and tore into Newark Public Schools for squandering his money and not delivering on any of the goals it set out to achieve.

For all the criticism of the Newark project, however, Zuckerberg doesn't appear any less committed to public school reform, although he seems to be employing a different strategy recently. Last year, he committed $120 million to school districts around the San Francisco Bay Area, focusing on reform at the community level, rather than a heavy-handed, top-down approach, as the Newark reform plan has been described.

His attempts to benefit schools with the Facebook-Summit partnership seem similarly guided.

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