Mom of 2, MacKenzie Price, is a Stanford-educated, tech-savvy entrepreneur who set out to reimagine education. She co-founded the Alpha School in Austin to redefine what “school” looks like, and enrolled her two daughters. At Alpha, students learn core curriculum in just 2 hours a day. That frees up the rest of the day to learn life skills like financial literacy, leadership, teamwork, public speaking, grit and entrepreneurship. MacKenzie spoke with Studio 512 about 2 Hour Learning, and how it can help kids.
Is it really possible for kids to learn everything they need to know, in just two hours a day?
“Yes, it’s absolutely possible! Not only can they learn in two hours what they would learn all day in a traditional classroom, the payoffs are unbelievable! My students master their core curriculum through personalized learning in two hours. That opens up the rest of their day to focus on life skills and finding where their passions meet purpose. Students love it because it takes them away from the all-day lecture-based classroom model. Instead, my students are following their passions.
“One Alpha student is building a mountain bike park outside Austin after successfully raising $400k. A group of middle schooler students are publishing a mental health self-help book, by kids, for kids. Three high school girls at Alpha are delivering learning tools to Ukrainian refugee children living in shelters (they haven’t gone to school since war broke out). These students would never have had the time to do any of these projects, never imagined they were even possible, if they came home exhausted every day after a long day of learning core curriculum at school. My mission is to show parents that their kids only need to spend 2hrs per day on academics.”
How does 2-Hour Learning work? Can every school or education system implement it?
“It’s possible! For two-hour learning to work you need two things.
- 1. You need student motivation.
- 2. You need the coursework to be at the right level of difficulty, and move at your child’s pace.
“Number 1 is easy: imagine telling your kid you only have to study for two hours a day – then the rest of the day you can work on things you’re passionate about!? I know my kids were like: ‘Tell us how, we’re in!’
“Number 2 is trickier and it comes back to what I’ve created. How can you make coursework move at a students unique pace and meet them exactly where they’re at in their learning? With tech-based and AI-assisted learning, we build on 50 years of educational research and incorporate tech into creating a personalized learning experience. The way it works now, students are in class with 25 other kids. When students understand something and are ready to move on, they have to wait until the whole class gets it, too. Or if a student struggles with a concept (which happens to all of us at some point) you’re left feeling embarrassed and judged. The teacher will eventually have to move on, if you don’t catch up. Not with this system. Our lessons move with the student. They master it before moving on. So subjects like math, which build, never leave a single student behind.
AI, artificial intelligence, can help kids who fell behind during the pandemic. According to the Nation’s Report Card (the government’s long-standing test of student knowledge, NAEP), Texas children have fallen way behind during the pandemic and haven’t caught up after 2 years of in-person learning. Only 38% of our 4th graders are proficient in math and only 30% (1 in 3) are proficient in reading. For Texas 8th graders, only 1 in 4 students can do grade-level math (24%) one 1 in 4 can read at grade level (23%). Some of the lowest scores we’ve seen in Texas, in almost 20 years. This is where technology can step in. There aren’t enough resources (even with billions of Federal COVID funds) to get individualized tutors for every student who’s behind. But there are enough resources to give them a 24/7 around the clock tech-driven tutors. We’ve seen remarkable results with students of diverse backgrounds and abilities who use these apps to learn. Kids who thought they were stuck as C students forever and started to hate math, started to hate school are now high achievers because the apps work only with them and figure out exactly where the gaps in their learning are.
“Our system is proven. School district leaders from across the country have been coming to Austin, they’re touring Alpha to figure out how they can go back and integrate this type of learning in their schools. We want to help everyone do that.”
MacKenzie encourages parents to learn more about ways to shake up the traditional learning model. Explore more at 2HourLearning.com and Alpha.School.
This segment is paid for by 2 HOUR LEARNING and is intended as an advertisement. Opinions expressed by the guest(s) on this program are solely those of the guest(s) and are not endorsed by this television station.