Students Helping Each Other
At it's heart Upside Down Academy is about making it easier for students to help each other learn. We believe that the more students help each other, the more they take control of their own futures, and the more they learn to work with each other in a collaborative rather than competitive environment, the more everyone will benefit.
When students help each other, they develop better social skills, learn to think empathetically, improve their communication skills, and create a community environment that can reduce bullying. The more students help each other, the more the teacher is freed up to spend time improving the overall environment, rather than just keeping certain students inline or just helping students that are struggling with the material.
Learning By Teaching
The Protégé Effect has been shown to be an effective way to learn. With Upside Down Academy students leverage the Protégé Effect by creating lessons to help their fellow students learn new material. In doing so they have the opportunity to recognize the gaps in their own understanding and further reinforce their own learning.
Project Based Learning
Upside Down Academy is designed to make it easy to turn any lesson in to a project where the students can demonstrate their own creativity by figuring how they would teach the lesson to someone else.
Of course, while they try to figure out how best to teach the material, they're also increasing their own understanding of the material.
Purpose Based Learning
Even the best project sometimes falter because they're not lasting. They will likely be thrown out or put in the back of a closet somewhere once the project is complete. With Upside Down Academy students are trying to make it easier for future students to learn the same material.
This responsibility changes the dynamic of learning, transforming it in to something that has impact, a potent motivator.
Over time Upside Down Academy will be building up a wealth of student-created lessons. Lessons that students designed to try and make it easier for their fellow students to learn. This will provide great supplemental materials for any student to try and learn from.
Real World Skills
One of the main reasons I built Upside Down Academy was to encourage the development of empathy, creativity, and communication. After years in the Internet startup world, those skills are some of the most valued in my observation. I would love to see more student developing those schools during their education. I hope that Upside Down Academy can help with that.