Voices of eLearning: Modern Classrooms Project

A teacher’s job can be a hard one, and that is especially true when the tools at their disposal are not improving the classroom. The struggle of keeping students engaged and having them actually learn something is on-going, but various solutions exist. And one non-profit—Modern Classrooms Project—has found a unique solution to improving the work of educators and the education of students everywhere.

On this episode of Voices of eLearning, hosts JW Marshall and Leena Saleh talk with Kareem Farah, Founder and CEO of the Modern Classrooms Project, a non-profit with a scaling approach to classroom instruction. As Farah puts it, the Modern Classrooms Project exists to “help empower educators with an instructional approach that actually works.” This is because the tools educators have been using for so many years is ultimately not the most useful or helpful to all students.

“I was in my fourth year in the classroom teaching in DC public schools, and at that stage of my career I was starting to experience the burnout that I think a lot of educators actually feel at that phase,” said Farah. “I was sort of always shocked with how ineffective I was at differentiating to students’ needs.”

This episode also covers:

  1. The intricacies of running a non-profit on this scale while still being a teacher.
  2. How technology helps enhance the learning experience for educators and students.
  3. How differentiation can actually be implemented in the classroom.

“I was teaching in school environments with huge amounts of truancy, unbelievably broad diversity of learning levels, and social/emotional needs,” said Farah. “And I’m at the front of the room, like, delivering live lectures, talking at students; vast majority are not following along or not even there, and thinking like ‘This is really bizarre, and this is a broken product that we’re delivering at scale.’” From here, Farah explored, “What’s out there,” in terms of solutions, and while he found plenty of buzzwords and good curriculums, he found no blueprint for redesigning classrooms. He then gave himself a choice: “Leave the profession or redesign my classroom.” Voting on the latter, Farah removed live lectures, made instructional videos, and let students work at their own pace, leading to self-paced learning.

Kareem Farah is Founder and CEO of the Modern Classrooms Project. Receiving his Bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis and later his Master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University, Farah spent years as a mathematics teacher before starting the Modern Classrooms Project in 2018.

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