Problem: Created in 2009 in Beijing, this school has moved away from traditional methods of teaching classes: lecture-style, where one teacher talks to many students and technology is rarely used. Conversely, this institution’s mission is to develop 21st century abilities among students, including critical thought, communication, collaboration and creativity, based on the adoption of personalized learning. The lack of adequate training for teachers in the modern world led to the participation of the school in a network of institutions whose aim is to promote the development of teachers with the skills required to teach one-on-one.
Solutions: The school integrates learning based on projects that are conducted through collaboration and hands-on learning. The program is based on three main aspects for the innovative teacher: understanding learning as a personal individual experience that is personalized for each student; that students must be guided by professors who develop challenging and complex activities, working in groups on important issues and developing effective solutions for significant problems; using technology to improve the students’ results.
Each student has access to a laptop, tablet and smartphone in a completely wireless environment. The students are encouraged to seek interactive ways of learning. They use an educational platform developed by Apple, as well as other applications and digital tools. There is a special emphasis on learning about the construction of data, media and technology.
Since 2012, the school has been linked with nine other educational institutions in Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, the United States, England and Australia, forming the Strategic Alliance of Global Educators (SAGE). These schools share experiences and exchange knowledge and resources through an international platform, which was created to promote the professional training of teachers in one-on-one teaching methods and holistic approaches to learning assessments. Since 2012, it also organizes and hosts an annual international summit on education and personalized learning, bringing together educators from all over the world to explore the subject. The institution also has a partnership with the Beijing Normal University (BNU), which helps in the training of teachers, conducts workshops and makes observations on the classes. This higher level educational institution also measures the abilities of these 21st century students and analyzes the viability and success of the individualized learning program. The university generates regular reports for the school, who can then assess their teaching and learning results periodically.
Outcomes: The students become more active in the entire learning process. They have achieved noteworthy grades in contests and state and national examinations. The school is the only public educational institution in China that has been certified by Apple as an Apple Distinguished School. The institution intends to become a center of excellence in China for one-to-one learning, particularly in subjects such as Chinese, English, Mathematics, Geography and Human Sciences. The School has 950 current students and 750 others have graduated since 2009.