Problem: The iZone project was created in 2010 by the New York City Education Department, in collaboration with the Innovation Unit, after finding that students were leaving school unprepared for life. The program changed schools into innovation laboratories to test new teaching methods focused on the individual needs of students and to allow them to develop a capacity for analysis and problem solving, with strong technological support.
Solutions: Schools that become part of the community of innovative schools in New York receive financial aid, and technical, educational and technological support to design the personalized education system that best suits their needs.
The iZone works on several fronts, each targeted at a specific group within the learning process, such as teachers, students and technology companies. The Innovate NYC Schools project, for example, brings together educators and startups to develop technological solutions for lessons. The Blended Learning Institute is a preparatory center for of mathematics, science and computing teachers, which provides training on how to customize classes and apply hybrid teaching, which combines online content and digital tools with traditional teaching practices.
The School of One platform integrates different math teaching approaches to create an individualized learning experience appropriate for the academic level of each student 11-13 years. A number of other projects are known as challenges, such as the Personalized Pathways Challenge, in which educators work collaboratively to design and test new ideas for the organization of time, materials and study programs to maximize learning opportunities for each student.
The projects with the best results are replicated in other schools.
Outcomes: Teachers and students appear more motivated, while students achieved better academic results and showed greater ability to formulate ideas, research, read texts and communicate. The project began in 81 schools and is now in place in at least 300 of the 1,700 schools in Nova York.