These schools break the rules


Toggle the tabs… and discover the schools where learning makes you happy!

The list isn’t exhaustive and is being updated on a regular basis.

Feel free to share your school suggestions to feed this page and leave a comment.

Arts / Design / Humanities

The Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (also known informally as the ““) is a design school based in Stanford University. The school has become one of the most highly sought destinations at Stanford. This really is a hub since students and faculty in engineering, medicine, business, law, the humanities, sciences,…, find their way here to take on approaching problems in a creative way. The pedagogy is at the heart of a collaborative approach and focuses on creating spectacularly transformative learning experiences. Along the way, students develop a process for finding creative solutions to the most complex challenges they tackle.

San Francisco

Business / Entrepreneurship

Knowmads  is a school without teachers and without courses shaping young people who want to change the world! Open to creative minds and entrepreneurs, this business school focuses its teachings on imaginary games: it allows students to put their imagination and creativity into business  study cases while asking themselves: ” how do I want to work? “,” how can I have a positive impact? ” … Entrepreneurship, professional behavior, leadership, business model generation, design, marketing, creativity, … Knowmads workshops teach the basics, but students can also get involved in the management of their own school as a real company. This school-company opens the perspectives for its students and guide them on the path to professional growth and happy life.


Created by the accelerator “The Family “, Koudetat Fundraising is an inspiring program (creative, concrete and without jargon) taught throughout 8 weeks (every Saturday) to learn how to raise funds. Koudetat teaches the best legal and financial practices. Along the way, participants get the keys and get ready to launch their startups. Business plan, memorandum, pitch, valuation techniques … the participants of the program are prepared for all the basics. They also have a great opportunity: meet with international investors one-to-one!


Code / Sciences / Technologies

42 is a French non-profit association teaching programming in a very unusual way. The model is inspired by the changes the Internet offers: there is no teacher, no class, no schedule … Students (from 18 up to 30 years old) learn via a “problem-solving” oriented-pedagogy through projects. They work in groups, help, teach and assess each other (peer-to-peer). 42 builds on extensive programming skills and the ability to innovate, see and think differently. The school’s name is a reference to the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams: 42 is the amazingly accurate answer to life, the universe, and everything.


Barefoot College is an Indian NGO founded by Bunker Roy in 1972 which is open exclusively to the poor and needy. The school teaches villagers (often illiterate or barely literate who have no way to access any form of education) to become doctors, architects, solar or hydraulic engineers in order to help them improve facilities and equipment within their village and so give them some autonomy greatly sought in rural regions of India (including the issue of water and electricity). Watch the TED talk!

 Tilona (Inde)

Codecademy is not strictly speaking a “school”. It is a company in the education sector, but not in the traditional sense. Its ambition is to teach the world to code … by offering free online learning experience via an intuitive, playful and ideal platform for learning. Codecademy helps you learn to code in HTML & CSS, Javascript, jQuery, Python, Ruby and PHP.


Viking Code School is an immersive online software engineering and job placement program. This school trains the best students for the software engineering jobs that need them today. What’s innovative with Viking Code School is that it doesn’t charge tuition until students get a job! This makes the program as low-risk for students as possible so anyone who is sufficiently motivated and capable has the opportunity to change their life. The available courses are mainly web-oriented.

San Francisco


Schools of life / Vocational schools

How to find a fulfilling job? how to improve your relationships? how to understand your past? how to change the world? … The School of Life promotes emotional intelligence via culture education. Founded in London, this school of life is now located all around the world. It offers courses, therapies, publishes books, organizes events, also has a consulting and training services dedicated to companies. It’s the perfect school to have a change of scenery, to learn how to think intelligently addressing philosophy, literature, psychology and fine arts.


Founded by Dale J. Stephens in 2011, UnCollege aims to change the paradigm claiming that university is the only road to success. On the basis of workshops, projects and coaching (individual and collective), Uncollege provides resources for students who wish to find their way and passion, and define their own educational pathways to acquire key skills to address the 21st century. Students are encouraged to collaborate and learn outside of the classroom. The one-year program starts with a journey abroad… Only one condition: go to a country never visited before, preferably in which you do not speak the language and to do there something you’ve never done before.

 San Francisco / Sao Paulo

Unreasonable at Sea, is a mobile school (a school on a boat): a radical experiment to develop its capacity to undertake, to be creative, to learn quickly and to meet the greatest challenges of our century. It is a real acceleration program for entrepreneurs who want to take their businesses to new international markets. 11 start-ups are selected by promotion to participate in the trip. Accompanied, guided and coached by 20 mentors, start- uppers will travel by boat 13 countries (USA, Japan, China, Vietnam, Singapore, Burma, India, Mauritius, South Africa, Ghana, Morocco, Spain) in 100 days to meet innovators and entrepreneurs from around the world… This “school” is driven by one motto: entrepreneurship will change the world.

Global (13 countries tour)

Lower schools / Middle schools / High schools

AltSchool is a collaborative community of micro-schools that uses outstanding teachers and innovative tools to offer a personalized learning experience for the next generation of children. This school believes “that every child should have access to an exceptional, personalized education that enables them to be happy and successful in an ever-changing world”. Also, parents are partners with Alt School in their child’s education. The concept of micro-school means small learning communities with approximately 80-150 pupils. Ages are mixed in classrooms.

 Brooklyn, Palo Alto, San Francisco

The Montessori pedagogy, established by Maria Montessori, is characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological, physical, and social development. This pedagogy is based on a method called “open” (as opposed to traditional methods) that is part of a kinesthetic and sensory education of the child. Montessori’s method is meant to facilitate, motivate learning and to encourage personal development. This method is so popular that nowadays thousands of schools (mainly elementary) have been rising around the world to teach according to this educational approach. Founders of Google and Amazon, for instance, are Montessori alumni…


Designed from scratch by a team of educators and game designers, Quest to Learn is the result of 30 years of research on gamified learning. Since 2009, the school enrolls lower school students and is currently replicating its model to embrace middle and high school. The principle: learn through play. Students encounter a series of increasingly complex games, quests, narrative challenges where learning, knowledge sharing, and reflection emerge freely. In addition, the school opens to its students a game design studio and a virtual reality lab. The school also offers evening courses teaching programming, has provided students with a social network for educating them to digital citizenship. Finally, it throws a summer camp each year.

 New York

  • YH

    I’d recommend to include CodeCademy in the “Code” section. Several millions people are pursuing courses through it.

  • I would recommend Outliers School throughout Latin America in the business/entrepreneurship and arts/design/humanities areas:

  • The Kaos Pilots have been innovating since 1991 ( In Paris, the National School of Advanced Studies in Design, l’E.N.S.C.I. (, is based on the innovative idea that each student should “invent the type of designer he wants to be”.