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How Khan Academy Is Changing the Rules of Education

I wish I'd learned math this way.

Quote:
 “This,” says Matthew Carpenter, “is my favorite exercise.” I peer over his shoulder at his laptop screen to see the math problem the fifth grader is pondering. It’s an inverse trigonometric function: cos-1(1) = ? Carpenter, a serious-faced 10-year-old wearing a gray T-shirt and an impressive black digital watch, pauses for a second, fidgets, then clicks on “0 degrees.” Presto: The computer tells him that he’s correct. The software then generates another problem, followed by another, and yet another, until he’s nailed 10 in a row in just a few minutes. All told, he’s done an insane 642 inverse trig problems. “It took a while for me to get it,” he admits sheepishly. Carpenter, who attends Santa Rita Elementary, a public school in Los Altos, California, shouldn’t be doing work anywhere near this advanced. In fact, when I visited his class this spring—in a sun-drenched room festooned with a papercraft X-wing fighter and student paintings of trees—the kids were supposed to be learning basic fractions, decimals, and percentages. As his teacher, Kami Thordarson, explains, students don’t normally tackle inverse trig until high school, and sometimes not even then.
How Khan Academy Is Changing the Rules of Education | Magazine

 07-17-2011, 08:11 PM #2 (permalink) Family Member   Join Date: Mar 2010 Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida Posts: 3,302 When I lived in Russia, kids were learning algebra in 1st grade, and so on. America is just teh dum
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by russianrocket When I lived in Russia, kids were learning algebra in 1st grade, and so on. America is just teh dum
In Soviet Russia, equation solves YOU!

 07-17-2011, 08:25 PM #4 (permalink) Senior Member   Join Date: Jun 2011 Posts: 124 The only surprising thing about this is that noone has done it (mainstream) sooner. Well maybe now "education" can start to claw it's way out of the stone ages and catch up to the rest of society.
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by Focus Driblet The only surprising thing about this is that noone has done it (mainstream) sooner. Well maybe now "education" can start to claw it's way out of the stone ages and catch up to the rest of society.
Well, the article describes a lot of paid efforts to produce just this kind of product. But they all suck. Kahn's is the only one that doesn't.

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Quote:
 Originally Posted by VinceG Well, the article describes a lot of paid efforts to produce just this kind of product. But they all suck. Kahn's is the only one that doesn't.
If countries have the funds to teach kids with the current model of live lecturing, they also have the funds to develop websites with videos of lectures - especially if that means that they can slightly cut back on live lecturing, thus requiring less fees for teachers etc. Quizes are harder, but can also save teacher-time long term by giving students automated feedback where that is sufficient.

 07-17-2011, 09:44 PM #7 (permalink) Banned   Join Date: Apr 2009 Posts: 12,690 I like khan academy, but my classroom is way more engaging than that. Its time that we, as a society, stop and understand that lecture based teaching is just lazy teaching.
 07-18-2011, 03:25 AM #8 (permalink) Banned   Join Date: Nov 2006 Posts: 9,613 A bit surprised that this is considered new. Where I come from, we have different variations of the same thing. Most commonly, students get a userid and a PIN, they can login from home, and access a system that shows pretty much the syllabus for many years ahead. Comes with interactive questions etc and you are free to explore at your own pace. I don't see this as so much a "change to the rules of education", as a straightforward application of technology to the traditional classroom format.
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by Focus Driblet If countries have the funds to teach kids with the current model of live lecturing, they also have the funds to develop websites with videos of lectures
This is also done in some universities.

Even if they don't, they would at least upload the lecture notes or the slides.

Last edited by Acting Like Godot; 07-18-2011 at 03:54 AM.

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Quote:
 Originally Posted by Acting Like Godot A bit surprised that this is considered new.
You would think, but education in the US is so Neolithic that this is what's considered a revolution these days. I'm hoping this kick-starts our country's lagging scientific output.

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Quote:
 Originally Posted by Acting Like Godot I don't see this as so much a "change to the rules of education", as a straightforward application of technology to the traditional classroom format.
Pretty much

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Acting Like Godot This is also done in some universities. Even if they don't, they would at least upload the lecture notes or the slides.
They do this at my university. But what Khan is doing is a whole other level than that. Of course educational institutions utilize some IT, it's just that the potential that lies in it is so obvious that the essence of what Khan is doing should have been realized by anyone who has vaguely contemplated organized learning.

 07-19-2011, 01:21 AM #13 (permalink) Junior Member   Join Date: May 2009 Location: Portugal Posts: 16 I also like and have used the Khan Academy, it does well what it intends to do, but I've read an interesting criticism aimed at it that really made me think about its benefits and problems. Then later I read this and it gave me hope than Sal Khan continues to improve upon his system and create an amazing educational system in the years to come and achieve his goals. Last edited by Rui; 07-19-2011 at 01:23 AM.
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Quote:
 I've read an interesting criticism aimed at it that really made me think about its benefits and problems. [...]They either tackle problems that are too hard (college level) or they don’t use a lot of the multiple representations that are so fundamental to my teaching (kinematic graphs, interaction diagrams, energy pie graphs, momentum bar charts, color-coded circuit diagrams showing pressure and flow, etc.)
Rant: Anyone for whom pie graphs are a central element of his teaching shouldn't be trusted. Pie graphs obfuscate data to look pretty.

To the point yes Khan Academy probably shouldn't be the only source for education. Good education means that you educate yourself through multiple approaches.

 07-19-2011, 05:45 PM #15 (permalink) Family Member   Join Date: Dec 2008 Location: Nationality: British Soul: Otherworldly Current Location: Barcelona, Spain Posts: 5,960 As explained in John Taylor Gatto's work, schools were invented to make us dumber. He mentions an account which an 8 year old mine worker wrote about 200 years ago, before schooling. It was erudite and very intelligently written; it not only looked good and read well, but had a point. These days the kid would have been seen as some kind of prodigy. Back then, advanced literacy from a young age was normal. I think people are going to laugh at me for this but all I can say is read the book. You can't argue with the statistics; in America literacy rates - an example which I think highlights education as a whole - have continued falling for decades and decades, while more and more money has been poured into the school system all the while. There's a good reason for that

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