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What would be the best way to make Khan Academy go International?

Khan Academy is great for English speaking kids, but what about the other 5-6 billions? How to translate these videos with biggest bang for our buck? Each method has pros and cons.

Subtitles only:
+ fast & easy, consistent across many translators, many videos at once
- focus split between text and method, conflict between written and spoken

Voice-over only:
+ no conflict between languages, no split in focus
- Khan's writing in English, 1 tutor is slow - many break consistency

Voice-over + subtitles for writing
+ no conflict between languages, no split in focus, writing translated also
- speed of translation vs consistency of tutors

Remake in new language
+ all the benefits of Khan's original in the native language
- everything from scratch, slow and difficult, speed vs consistency (again)

Opinions, suggestions, corrections...?

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    Mar 10 2011: Or maybe we could reframe the question like this: how can we find ways to inspire people to take on what Salman Khan has done in the English language, and do similar video courses for their mother tongue? Or to put it in another way, how can we opensource the Khan Academy, not just the content, but also the methodology, the tools and the platform?
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      Mar 10 2011: Hey Tony, yes, this is what Khan Academy can reach us in a more profound way, not confined by the scope of itself. And I can vision the learning mechanism be a great motivator at least to individual students in China, if not the whole system at the moment.

      As for the Khan Academy mandarin translation, do you have any interest in give it a try? If so you'd make a very good team leader. Or you know anyone who'd be capable of this role? I feel very passionate to contribute to the project. Hope to hear from you soon.
    • Mar 11 2011: I dont think we will need a lot of convincing, I'm already inspired and I guess a lot of people are too!

      I'm just trying to figure out where / who / how can I help basically!
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      Mar 15 2011: There are similar video lectures in Serbia. They are recent and for now they are only concentrated on explaining math problems and questions that kids need to know in order to pass the final exam in elementary schools. It's done by one teacher, and he is posting it on Youtube. He explains problems step by step.
      The response has been huge - kids say they learn things easier, they understand it better, parents are happy.. Some of the kids even say they would like other subjects explained in this way.
      The teacher said he wanted to bring math to where the kids are, and that is internet, youtube.

      I believe opensource would be better than just translating, because same things are taught differently in different languages and cultures and school systems. And I'm sure there are other inspired people, like everyone here or like that teacher in Serbia, who would be willing to do it. I'm inspired to look for other people and inspire them to get involved.
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    Mar 14 2011: Thank you everyone for the kind comments. Anyone interested in helping us localize/translate videos should email translations@khanacdemy.org (we are working with volunteers to both redub and redo the videos).
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    Mar 15 2011: New videos for each language need to be done. Even the International language of math is not so International.

    For example (In Spain where I am teaching now):
    Commas and periods are swapped in math eg.
    -- Three thousand is written 3.000
    -- Three point one four is written 3,14

    There are also many slight differences in symbols and logic that would not translate...even with a good translation and "dubbing"

    There is also the fact that each country has different educational laws and standards.

    On the other hand, English as a Second Language (ESL) could be International if done correctly.
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    Mar 11 2011: Let's quicky nuance the word "international". Would a non-computerised, light version of this principle even be thinkable? I'm thinking of the 5 billion people without computers and internet access.

    Perhaps they will just have to wait for a while. But the good thing may be: this educational system may have them "catch up" very quickly from the moment computers and internet suddenly become available to them.

    So it might indeed be useful to already prepare versions in even the most non-connected languages - so that we're ready to offer the system to people who just enter the computer age. With this, real "leapfrogging" in education may become a reality.
    • Mar 14 2011: I don't think KA can be completely de-computerized. Even if we ditch student progress tracking, virtual peer-to-peer tutoring and take the content off the web, we'd still need some kind of player and a machine to run it on, or we're back to traditional lessons.

      But as Sugata Mitra showed, it need only be one old, solar powered machine with a free OS and player, for all the kids in any remote, under-developed town:

      www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/sugata_mitra_the_child_driven_education.html
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    Mar 11 2011: For children under the age of 16, native spoken voices are a must. We should not expect children to master one difficult "craft"(reading or translating) to learn another. Thus the material needs to be voiced over or in some cases tranlated to local languages.

    I think TED could make a differece here, they already have a open translation system in place, the goal to spread ideas and knowledge. What if they added voice translation into that scheme, and then helped picking relevant educational (not only Khan) videos from the web, deal with the copyrights and corrdinated the translation process, to ensure teh usual high TED standard?
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    Mar 10 2011: Subtitles all the way.

    As for the issue about writing in English, there's a solution to that: It's called "Captions" or "Overlays". A semi-transparent (or fully opaque) box positioned over the english word.

    The only problem is someone needs to make a caption system that lets each translator position the overlay appropriately. YouTube has a caption system, but it doesn't allow for switches between multiple languages, and doesn't really have subtitles in a TED like sence. DotSub and TED don't have any sort of captions.
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    Mar 10 2011: I think children will have difficulty with subtitles. Voice-over is best.
  • Mar 16 2011: Troy Roach - yes, this is not simply a matter of voice-over but really 'internationalizing' much of the graphic content- the effort underway by the http://areebs.com team involves very much using Sal's lessons as a template. The interesting thing is that it is important to have the transcript and translation as a tool for the 'internationalization' done with voiceover and recreation of the drawings. Plus, having the the source (english) transcription and translated transcription(s) makes the content nicely indexable.

    Interesting that the scenario above supports/requires Tony's excellent suggestion to open up the platform AND the tools/etc needed to create (and translate) open education resources (OER) at KA and beyond.

    Disclaimer- Sal's great team is thinking about these things I know.
    Disclosure- We are doing research on translated OER with support from QFI
  • Mar 15 2011: My question is about availability and the platform used to bring Khan academy to a global audience. Unfortunately YouTube/Internet access is not universal.
    I have been reading about two similar mobile platforms being developed in India (iProf India and the recently announced Wipro McGrawHil partnership). Surely there are others being developed but in addition to the discussion on developing the content for the international market should there also be a discussion on how that content can best be delivered?
  • Mar 11 2011: Ok, 300+ videos on KA have English closed captions for the deaf, hard of hearing or simply when Khan's speech is not perfectly clear. This kinda makes subtitles a must. Which automatically makes voice-over optional.

    K.A. suggests first adding foreign language captions for videos that already have english ones.

    This doesn't matter voice-over should be abandoned, just that they're an extra.
  • Mar 11 2011: It took Sal 6 years to do 2000 videos (approx. one 10 minute video per day) , I guess we can translate it pretty quickly if enough people volunteer.

    Let's say 100 people for each language, 2 videos a week for each person = done in 10 weeks...
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    Mar 10 2011: Great question!! Khan lovers out there, let's really get going!

    I think the best way would be: Voice-over + subtitles for writing when necessary, especially for the K12 subjects.

    However, certain advanced courses such as calculus, banking & finance can be made available for subtitles first (consider the learning ability of target audience, and many of them may need to improve on English as well) . Voice-over could be implemented over time.

    Something I'd like us to take note. There are a lot of teaching videos available online. But what made Khan Academy a big success has a lot to do with his unique teaching style. So there's already a lot of good effort put in there to establish it (remake everything seems a bit wasteful in that sense). And the consistency and complete structure of each course is also of paramount importance.

    My two-cents:

    People for each language get into teams. Test water and start from a particular course. Have the script translated by a few translators working simultaneously thus speed the process. Make the style consistent and relevant to the particular culture. Do the voice-over, and with great personality. Then get snowballing.

    Compare to TED open translation, this project is measured at least on the scale of a whole course instead of just one talk. So I imagine great leadership, teamwork and organization would be very important.

    Cheers.
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    Mar 10 2011: In the long term, I think it would be best each country to have translators, similar to TED. I don't think it's necessary to make new videos.
  • Mar 10 2011: I am the person wiling to help translate Khan Academy - into Croatian.
    They're approaching it from 3 different ways and I'm trying to figure out which would be best before jumping in.
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      Mar 10 2011: Ah, okay... :)

      I wouldn't do it with subs, because it would be too difficult for children, kind of an extra challenge... Voice-over is definitely better. The best way, I think, would be to redo it in Croatian, in case there are texts written in the video. Maybe it really depends on the subject of each video.
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    Mar 10 2011: The Khan Academy is already working on an open translation project. What we can do is spreading the idea and encourage people to help.