Before we can implement “anytime, anywhere” digital learning we must normalize the idea that education can be removed entirely from school buildings. Many states have laws that require a specific amount of instruction take place in a school or link funding to “seat time.” Our aim is to eliminate the concept of “seat time” and replace it with mastery or competency based learning.

“Seat time” is the term used for spending time in a classroom with a teacher for a certain duration (year or semester) during which you complete assignments, are given grades and earn credit for a course. With a competency model you simply need to demonstrate you have met a standard through some sort of performance-based task. Theoretically a student with prior knowledge could demonstrate mastery in a subject without ever participating in coursework at all.

Implementation of a competency model enables the removal of all age-based grade cohorts and even the idea of school progression (elementary, middle, high school). Once we move to this model and have credit-flexibility legislation in place, students can earn credit for exclusively online courses or credit-bearing Extended Learning Opportunities (ELOs) run by out-of-school partners. Eventually this “hackable” education model whereby students put together various online and offline learning experiences will make neighborhood schools obsolete.