Facebook is working to give public school students an education that’s more tailored to their needs.
In a blog post today from Facebook’s Chief Product Officer Chris Cox, the company announced that over the past school year it has partnered with Summit Public Schools, an innovative school system in the Bay Area to improve and test their new learning technologies.
We started by working together to rebuild their tool, called the Personalized Learning Plan (“PLP”), for Summit’s use in the 2014 school year. Last year, more than 2,000 students and 100 teachers spent the school year using it.
Looking forward, Summit Public Schools is planning to open up the PLP it has built with Facebook to other public schools across the country.
For 2015, we’re supporting Summit as it partners with public schools who want to explore personalized learning through a small pilot program. We’ll use feedback from this program to improve the PLP so we can eventually offer it, for free, to any school in the U.S. that wants it.
Don’t worry, kids at these schools won’t be getting targeted ads popping up while they are trying to do their readings. The PLP is completely separate from Facebook’s main service and you don’t need a Facebook account to sign in. The entire team at Facebook that’s working on PLP is subject to some pretty strict rules to protect student data.
Summit subscribes to the White House-endorsed Student Privacy Pledge<http://studentprivacypledge.org/>, which means that the Facebook employees working on this project are required to handle Summit students’ data in accordance with the Pledge.
This definitely appears to be a pet project Facebook executives, looking to use their company’s technological talent to help improve public education, rather than some massive plan to break into EdTech. Mark Zuckerberg has donated millions of dollars to tackling these problems, but here it looks like the company felt the best way they could help was to look at improving the technologies directly themselves.