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Brooklyn teens are protesting their high school’s adoption of an online program spawned by Facebook, saying it forces them to stare at computers for hours and “teach ourselves.”
Nearly 100 students walked out of classes at the Secondary School for Journalism in Park Slope last week in revolt against “Summit Learning,” a web-based curriculum designed by Facebook engineers, and bankrolled by CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan.
It’s annoying to just sit there staring at one screen for so long,” said freshman Mitchel Storman, 14, who spends close to five hours a day on Summit classes in algebra, biology, English, world history, and physics. “You have to teach yourself.”
Listen to the students. They make more sense than the adults. Not always
Summit stresses “personalized learning” and “self-direction.” Students work at their own pace. Teachers “facilitate.” Each kid is supposed to get 10 to 15 minutes of one-on-one “mentoring” each week.
Mitchel said his teachers sometimes give brief lessons, but then students have to work on laptops connected to the Internet.
“The distractions are very tempting,” he said. “I have seen lots of students playing games instead of working.”
Kids can re-take tests until they pass — and look up the answers, he added: “Students can easily cheat on quizzes since they can just copy and paste the question into Google.”