Facebook is getting into the education business. The company has partnered with Summit Public Schools, a nonprofit organization that operates charter schools in California and Washington, to develop an online education tool that allows K-12 students to schedule and track their coursework and assignments.
Facebook dedicated eight employees to work with students and teachers to improve the software, known as the Personalized Learning Plan. More than 2,000 students and 100 teachers used the Facebook software in 2014, prompting Summit to launch a pilot program this fall. The ultimate goal is to make the software available for free to all schools.
“It’s really driven by this idea that we want to put learning in the hands of kids and the control back in the hands of kids,” Dianne Tavenner, chief executive of the Summit system, told The New York Times.
Using the software, students and their instructors work together on lessons and projects. Teachers can give individualized tests that the software will then grade and track.
“We’ve seen that there’s an opportunity to help apply our skills to the future of education, and we all wanted to find a way to help make an impact by doing what we do best—building software,” Chris Cox, chief product officer for Facebook, wrote in a blog announcing the initiative.