How Elon Musk Redesigned School for His Children
James Murphy is a tech guru and a blogger from New York. James mostly writes about new technologies.
The mindset for the industrial age for education is to treat kids as a learning factory and just churn things into theirs. So the kids only know what they are taught and there is little or no room to build creativity in the kids. It is therefore sad to see that many schools, and the educational system as a whole still largely follows this pattern of education that does not bring the best out of the students. This system rather kills the creativity in the children, stiffens their curiosity and affects their overall growth.
However, there are indications to show that the future is bright in education and there already is a deviation from the norm. A typical example of this is Elon Musk’s school. Elon Musk, an inventor, pioneer, and owner of SpaceX in California is one of those setting deviating from what is the norm in education and are setting the pace for the future with ideas such as introducing artificial intelligence (AI)
For a long time, education has been about teaching kids things that are already well-known and are in the past without really impacting them with anything that will help them to hold their ground in the future as they grow up and times continue to change. But that is changing now. The future of education is such that the kids will be empowered to thrive in their work and life, irrespective of future advancements in technology.
This is one of the things that Elon Musk is looking to create with his school, Ad Astra
. The future of education is such the students are prepared to live and thrive 50 years from now.
Elon Musk once said:
“I did not think the traditional schools were doing enough as they should be doing.”
Ad Astra (meaning "to the stars" in Latin) has not exactly been a secret since its launch in 2014, but details about what goes on at the school have been scant. Its website is enigmatic, containing only a logo
, a contact email, and a portal for parents.
When he co-founded Ad Astra and pulled all his 5 sons out of one of the best private schools, he stated that the aim was to exceed the metrics of the traditional school on subject matter that are relevant, through learning experiences that are unique and based on the project.
Although Elon Musk’s school is for children that are considered gifted or highly gifted, it does things in many ways that are different from traditional schools and can help to define the future of education. Some of these differences are below.
The admission process for Ad Astra
is a lot different and radical in comparison to traditional schools. Unlike the normal processes that require the prospective students to undergo an interview, the school assumes that the student has a fundamental level of literacy and provides a plethora of futuristic projects which the prospective student will be undertaking. Examples of these are having to think about interplanetary design and ethics. The initial admission usually has over 100 children, then about 70 applications are made and the students that are accepted are usually not more than 10-12.
Acceleration in this school is on a whole different level, and it follows a hundred years old research by Hollingsworth which stated that acceleration is important for gifted children. Ad Astra does not use the grade-level concept (such as grade 1, grade 5, etc.) that has dominated our education system for decades now. Instead of having to meet the requirements of a curriculum, the children are left alone to work based on the level of their ability. At different times of a day in school, the different age groups in the school are mixed up. All these are done to bake in acceleration.
The students at Ad Astra
do not use homework worksheets. It does not matter what the discussion is all about. The point of homework is for the students to take the discussion home to their parents and family, discuss it with them, then go back to school with the information they have gathered from the family meeting. Doing this will foster communications with their parent and help them also to build up the right conversations and do meaningful things not only in school but at home as well.
A child-driven system
The school has a system that is run based on the students. About half of the plan is driven by the students. This includes an option for the student to opt-out of subjects if it does not interest them and also being able to trade in their currency.
According to assignment help
, students love different things. Some of them love English, some others love maths and other people might prefer music. They also have different abilities, so they cater to the education of each one in line with their abilities and aptitudes.
Handwriting can be quite messy and they take a lot of time. So, instead of spending the majority of the time writing, the spend it typing instead. The students are more in touch with computers and are much slower when they handwrite.
The curriculum is different from traditional schools. The emphasis of the curriculum is on ethics, science, engineering, and maths. The school does not teach music or sport at all. The focus is on the use of artificial intelligence (AI).
Ad Astra does not teach second languages at all. Although researches have shown that second languages are beneficial in developing the brain of a child and their understanding of other people’s culture. It is not something that Elon Musk fancies as he believes there will soon be computer-aided translations
that will eradicate the need to learn second languages.
The future of education is bright. With someone like Elon Musk already taking a keen interest and looking to break the status quo. Although we are yet to ascertain how these changes will be implemented in the mainstream education sector,
it is a great start that we have someone looking to the future and changing things now.
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