The Fire Behind Microschools and Personalized Learning Begins with Innovative Sparks

July 5, 2023
Michael Horn


When the pandemic happened, people had no choice but to look hard at education and how children learn in challenging environments and situations. The rapidly evolving education landscape, before, during, and since COVID-19,  generated a relevant conversation around microschools and personalized learning.

Remote and hybrid learning challenges the traditional education model, leading to innovative solutions catering to individual learning styles and needs. Today, 49% of students worldwide have completed some form of online learning, and 70% prefer online learning to traditional classroom education. And while a relatively small number of students, roughly 1.5 million, attend microschools, the concept is gaining national momentum as parents seek those small, innovative learning environments.

How can educators harness the power of personalized learning to create more engaging and effective educational experiences?

Welcome to The Future of Education, hosted by Michael B. Horn. In this episode, Kelly Smith, the founder of Prenda, and author of the new book, “A Fire to be Kindled,” joins Horn. Together, they delve into the transformative power of personalized learning, the concept of microschools, and how these approaches can revolutionize how we educate our children.

In this episode, they discuss:

  • The concept of microschools and how they differ from traditional schooling models
  • The role of personalized learning in fostering a love for learning and academic success
  • The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the education landscape and the rise of remote learning

Kelly Smith is a pioneer in education with a physics and nuclear science background. He founded Prenda Learning, an innovative education platform that empowers learners by providing personalized, flexible learning experiences. Smith is also the author of “A Fire to be Kindled,” a book that explores the transformative power of learning and its potential to shape the future of education.

Smith’s journey in education began as a father of four and a volunteer at a local library, teaching kids computer programming. This experience sparked a passion for education and led him to establish a micro-school around his kitchen table in 2018. Today, Prenda Learning serves approximately 2,000 students across the United States, offering a unique blend of personalized learning and community-based education.

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