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Where can I find science project ideas? Where can I take grammar quizzes? Where can I get blank maps? Where can I practice fractions? Where can I download math worksheets? What are the 50 state capitals? Some students may well be at level of understanding and application far beyond their teacher. As such, student abilities are going to be even more widely distributed than they are now.
It would merely be another tool for rote learning. Will, perhaps you have not seen creative math teachers with special needs students mixed with ELL students using Khan Academy. Here is a specific example. Imagine Khan academy, a paint program, and graph paper all being available to students to explore why that formula works. To my colleague, Tina Powell, the math department head, it was obvious that kids had acquired the knowledge in that scenario. Telling a creative teacher, who can bring multiple resources to a variety of learning styles, not to use Khan academy would be folly.
It would be easy to point out the limit of any resource in isolation. It is the symphony of resources under the direction of a creative teacher that make Khan a valuable resource. I am truly confused on how Khan and his use of videos can make the education system better.
Is this not just an example of using technology to work within a bad system that is based on fact memorization and information? Why not work to change the system so students are not just receivers of information? Today, our students live in a world of information overload. I am not a fan of awards and I do not believe a Nobel Prize for education would help us in creating a better system… especially if the winner is someone who has taken key pieces from a bad system and emphasized them through technology.
If we think that a problem set that, when the student gets the answer wrong, directs them back to the video is educating our kid, I fear we are not developing the thinkers the world needs? You and I agree that school-based awards do not enhance our learning communities, but we may differ on the value of external awards. I support my students when they seek outside awards, and a Nobel Prize for Education would put a spotlight on amazing educational innovators. Think of what the list would look like: We want students to create ideas, test ideas, share ideas, and do things with them.
But I continue to think there are basic fundamental skills students still need to develop, and things they need to learn and master, and that sometimes we need to teach them this with direct instruction. Too many teachers then take that to mean they should spend whole, or nearly whole, class periods to give these lectures, and this has to stop.
For both these sets of teachers, if we can offload these elements of teaching to KA, our classrooms can then return to being the laboratories and studios we seek for inquiry, application, constructivism, testing, and mastery. I perceive that there is a spectrum of educational philosophies on display in this discussion, and I perceive myself to be something of a center-left thinker, but obviously not a progressive or constructivist purist.
I send to be a middle-path seeking thinker. Now, I think far, far too many classrooms operate in a center-right or far right mode, and so I spend much of my time blogging to call educators leftwards. Indeed, the main point of this post is to call center right and far-right educational practitioners leftwards by using KA to get the core skills teaching out of the way, and make their classrooms places of PBL experimentation.
Thanks again Chris; you are helping me immensely to keep on learning, which is the point of all this. I agree with you and believe that Sal Khan is presenting an innovative, progressive way for teachers to better work and serve in their classrooms. Being five years removed from high school, I still remember sitting in class, wondering if the teacher had any idea how well anyone grasped the key concepts of the course.
However, when a classmate struggles, and the teacher is unable to identify what areas of the course that student has had difficulties with, then the problem will compound until it reaches a boiling point requiring serious intervention. It is true that information overload can occur — but to completely ignore all information developments is an even more fatal move.
Using this technology in moderation will benefit the total learning experience for each student. Having seen the Khan material used in a class recently to highlight a concept, I was actually quite taken aback at how rudimentary the lesson was in terms of pedagogy.
Really and truly, I found myself bored really quickly, and looked around the room and saw that the students were too. I know that you are not suggesting that this is a replacement for good teaching, but rather something to augment the understanding of certain specific ideas. I actually discussed the use of Khan in the class with a teacher at school a while ago: In my estimation, it was just watching a virtual, didactic instructor writing on a modern form of a chalkboard.
I was there with you. It had the same Rock Star feeling. What it can provide is the opportunity for kids who need or want a more traditional lecture to get that.
Last week I had my class unlearn the short-cut for dividing fractions multiplying by the inverse. I think KA will be an amazing resource, it is free, and very valuable. Would I use it to teach my curriculum? Will it help me support my students in the future? Will I use it during class time? Will it help me see where kids might have wholes in their comprehension that I am not catching? I wrote a post of my own in response to this. If this is what is done it is certainly far from transformative for education.
Then that child utilized that knowledge to teach some of his peers or even used it to create something derivative that taught how to do something he was passionate about. Good teaching requires us to provide for various learning styles and preferences in our delivery. A study has just been released in New South Wales Australia showing that 2 of the top 12 schools were adamantly against the use of technology. Now I love technology and am right into using it in the classroom but I am not fixated on it and actually love seeing others schools excel using a philosophy of teaching which on the surface is at the other extreme for mine.
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