In the wake of the Atlanta Public School scandal, here’s a refreshing story about students actually learning (rather than faking their test results). The Khan Academy posts free ‘lectures’ online so students can watch them any time. Students can re-watch, pause, and even skip ahead when they’re ready. Then when they get to the classroom, they work problems. If they get stuck or need help, the teacher can work one-on-one with them to guide them through their questions. This allows for self-paced learning so all the kids in the classroom don’t have to be working on the same problems. Kinda addresses the “teaching to the middle” conundrum.
I’m not a teacher; I really don’t have the patience. Hell, I’m not even a parent- but I know how important kids are for the future of our society. An I have real respect for teachers; I think our society should value them more than baseball stars. (If I were dictator…) But the public school system is not the best solution for connecting with every kind of learner. So when a new system appears that gets great results, like the Kahn Academy, it gets people’s attention. Like me. Oh, and Bill Gates, who just invested money into the Kahn Academy.
If you’re interested in the details, head on over to Wired Magazine for a great write-up. Or watch the video of Slaman Khan speaking at the TED conference: