Food trucks have upended the idea of what it means to launch and operate a restaurant. The Tiny Schools Project from 4.0 Schools aims to take a similar approach—supporting prototypes on the way to creating full-scale schools.
But what if creating “full-scale schools” isn’t the goal? What would it take to incubate and sustain an ecosystem of tiny schools to meet the specific needs of students and families?
Tiny School Ecosystems would build on the growing confluence of home schooling, co-op and low-cost private schools, and anytime-anywhere learning. They would be fueled by digital resources, badging and micro-credentialing, funding portability, and the need for greater attention to parent and student satisfaction. Traditional schools could also create tiny schools, just as brick-and-mortar restaurants host “pop-ups” and launch their own food trucks.
With the right supports (see A Backpack, a GPS, and a Sherpa for Learning) students and families could take an “Education Dim Sum” approach to learning – hopscotching across tiny schools to assemble custom pathways to college and careers.
There are certainly significant challenges to overcome, and we’d need intensive investments to mitigate the education equity problems this evolution could exacerbate. Considering the number of people and organizations that could establish tiny schools, and the pent-up demand for customized learning options, Tiny School Ecosystems could be the next wave of education entrepreneurship.