Network Effect: Why School Networks Are the Future of Education

January 31, 2017

by Tom Vander Ark

Dan Leeser enjoys the creative work of designing his own projects. In the fall, his students at Franklin Cougar New Tech in El Paso created graphic novels that combined Greek myths with Asian culture–an interesting thought experiment that encouraged students to consider the role of myth in society in the past and the present. Interesting projects keep student and teacher engagement high.

“This environment is vastly different from my last school,” said Dan. He said it required some comfort with risk and ambiguity. He appreciates that campus and district administration are comfortable with lesson experimentation.

Dan’s colleague Sarah Dominguez teaches math. Like many teachers in the New Tech Network, she uses a hybrid of existing, adapted and self-created lessons. She appreciates the quick tutorials that keep project teams moving. New Tech teachers like Dan and Sarah benefit from startup support, on-site coaching, online resources and an annual conference.

Sarah and Dan are co-founders of a new academy that is part of a platform network: a group of schools that share learning goals, an approach to learning, common tools and systems, and an adult learning community where improvement thrives.

New Tech Network is one of the largest and best examples of a platform network. It is a network of voluntary associations including partnerships with 118 public school districts in 29 states. With its focus on project-based learning, it is one of the best examples of co-creation on a common platform. Read more…


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