TED Conversations

Cheong Eung Ahn

Highschool Student, Gyeonggi Science Highschool

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What is the difference between education done by computer videos and the real life version, and which is better?

Nowadays, education can be done everywhere with either a internet connection, or a real person. So education is now readily available. However, which type of education is better? Remember that even though person to person may alow more indepth conversation, online is cheeper and easier to access.

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  • Mar 11 2011: About 7 years, I started using video in my music classroom. This was pre-YouTube, so I was making VHS and showing it on a VCR and TV in my classroom. I had a piano lab and I found that it was better to pre-tape a lesson and have students watch me on video, while I walked around and helped them make minor adjustments to hand position, etc.

    Next, I started making videos for YouTube for my students who were learning soprano recorder, a wind instrument. Many students benefited and I've also received global comments about how helpful the videos have been.

    Khan's ideas are fantastic. The question posed here: Which is better, computer videos or a live teacher is not the one to ask, in my opinion. The better question is how can they be used in conjuction with each other? Khan touches on this. The teacher becomes a crucial evaluator and facilitator or work done in the classroom once the students have seen the video lecture the previous night. If you are familiar with Bloom's Levels of Taxonomy, learning takes place on many levels, starting with just gaining knowledge (information) and going up to higher levels that involve applying that knowledge. Computers and/or video learning can assist in this. But, a live teacher is a crucial factor. The right line of questioning can help bring a student to a higher level of understanding. The right analogy at just the right time, provided by an experienced educator, can illuminate for a student an are that was previously covered in darkness.
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      Mar 12 2011: Agreed. Presentations in any form (lecture, video, book, etc.) are ideal for transmitting facts (the "Knowledge" level on Bloom's Taxonomy) to the learner. But you never build the higher-level cognitive abilities (Analysis, Synthesis, Evaluation) without active effort, trials, failures, and not a small amount of frustration. The genius of an inverted classroom is that it frees teacher and student alike to focus on those upper-level skills by relegating the simple fact-transmission to time outside of class.

      If anyone watches Khan's presentation and thinks he is promoting a computer-driven education system, they've missed his point. His use of instructional videos simply unburdens the classroom of the low-level tasks so that it can become more "humanized" with teachers working closer to students on the higher-level stuff that's so difficult to master.

      In fact, the inverted classroom structure can and does work quite well without any computers at all. "Great Books" curricula stand as a classic example -- students spend lots of time outside of class reading and contemplating the great literary works, then come to class to discuss, share, debate, and reason through the meaning of those texts. Once again, the recipe is to place low-level cognitive tasks (e.g. gathering information) outside of class time so that time with the teacher may be spent doing things of greater value and complexity.
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    Mar 13 2011: I don't think there is a "better" type because different ways of learning work best for different people. Both offer unique elements that can enhance learning. I have found that I learned best when having a variety of resources available, and if possible, think that is the best way to learn. However, in the absence of variety, either can be equally effective (or ineffective for that matter).
  • Mar 13 2011: I can see how this approach is helpful to students who are learning procedures, manipulations and facts. Where is the critical thinking? The creative problem solving? That part of the learning equation is a function of the dialog that takes place between and among students and teacher and results from probing questions from a skilled teacher that drives the thinking deeper and makes connections with other key concepts. It's a very dynamic process and it's about the questioning aimed at uncovering students thinking about a procedure or concept.
  • Mar 11 2011: This is much like how many teachers of today teach. Atleast from my experience as a current high school student. Teachers are now taught how to get information from a text to the students head. Which isn't bad but that is all they know how to do, they cannot help the child explore a specific field because the teacher does not know enough about what they are teaching to discuss, they are only focused on getting the information from the book into the childs head so they can pass a test and meet the staes requirments to graduate. A child needs to have a teacher that is excited about what they are teaching and are able to motivate the child to be excited about learning so they can ask questions and think for themselves.
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      Mar 11 2011: Totally agree, besides, it depends a lot on what you learn. If you learn a foreign language, for instance, and you do it from scratch, you'll probably need a teacher, at first. The best is probably a mixture of a teacher-technology approach in such a case. When a learner achieves at least intermediate level he can do without an inspirer since there are a lot of brilliant teachers online who help to learn, and do it for free. No more expensive tutors and books, etc. But there arises a tickling question, if education is changing its form in such a vast speed, what will happen to schools and universities? There is a wide concern that school is no more a source of information. Does it mean that classic education is doomed to lose its value in the long run?
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    Mar 10 2011: When teaching social sciences a computer video course could become a "Digital Napoleon" teaching only one linear point of view.
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      Mar 12 2011: This is an excellent point Ziska but that danger can exist in a classroom too. It is easily overcome by having multiple lessons by different instructors on the topic.
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      Mar 12 2011: Ziska, this is a very valid concern, but fortunately one I think is easy to guard against. In fact, Khan's inverted classroom model lends itself better to a diversity of instructional perspectives: with lessons in video form, it becomes that much easier to have students view presentations by multiple instructors instead of just one. For example, I fondly recall taking a course in Physics where I wanted to have another perspective, and so I used Walter Lewin's excellent lecture series from MIT's OpenCourseWare site. It was great having two instructors for that class!

      As a teacher who uses the "inverted classroom" approach, I have my students regularly research multiple sources on the same subject(s) in order that they "see" more than one perspective, and learn in more than one way. Then, we discuss those different sources in class. Whether the source material is text or video, "flipping" the classroom so that students first contact new subjects on their own means that the initial presentation never has to come from one person.
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        Mar 12 2011: Tony and Debra.

        You're absolutely right. However, the first reaction I've gotten from School Administrators watching the Khan talk is to see it as a way to downsize the teaching staff and *replace* them with the digital lectures.

        In my local school district alone 31 teaching jobs will be cut this school year to "balance the budget" I'm in a rural part of the US so that's a significant percentage of teachers (equal to an entire school system for one town in the valley).
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          Mar 12 2011: Interesting that this was their initial response to Khan's presentation. No video, no book, no other form of static communication, of course, can ever replace a real teacher. Seems like they entirely missed his point of "humanizing the classroom."

          On the other hand, any teacher that actually *can* be replaced by a video, probably *should* be replaced by a video.
  • Mar 14 2011: I think this is a surprisingly obvious way to help increase overall mastery of subjects, and am amazed it's taken this long to figure out.

    I teach a car control clinic for new drivers (15-16 y/o) and our whole mantra is that you can learn about car control as much as you want, but there is no way you will ever be able to confidently perform the task without actually doing it. There is no substitute for the real thing. I can lecture all day, but until those kids get out in the parking lot and start doing the exercises, they won't actually learn a thing.

    I don't see why basic education shouldn't function the same way, you can listen to the teacher talk and draw diagrams, but they wont make actual sense until you put in the time to do the work. When you do that work at home and you get stuck, you don't really have the network to help you get unstuck and move forward. But with this program, you're doing the work with the network at your side, greatly increasing your chances of figuring out the problem and moving ahead.

    Now if I could only figure out a way to incorporate this into my clinic.
  • Mar 14 2011: The Education has to be real life version only supported by the Tools such as Computers or other means.
  • Mar 11 2011: Both are needed. Computer videos are better for knowledge (just because you can rewatch the video makes a big difference), but there is no way you can learn some skills such as presentation and communication skills, and most importantly - talking. Real life learning should be aiming for that.
  • Mar 11 2011: It's not which is better. It's generally agreed that face to face is ideal; however, there are situations where potential students may not have access to this type of learning, so this is an ideal opportunity to provide to those - whether it be geographic restrictions, time restriction, economic restrictions - whatever!. Anyplace anytime, at your own pace perhaps and your own learning style - an excellent way to educate the world at large. I got involved with web-based learning in the early 2000's and the technical educators at the time were very afraid of losing their jobs! Today's world is technologically hooked in and receptive to this style. I am now involved, once again, with web based training, and marvel at how far this methodology has advanced. Don't get left behind on this one folks.
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    Mar 10 2011: If I compare the information in the talks by Salman Khan and the one by Patricia Kuhl, I would suggest that videos are not the best form of education for very small children in that they appear to absorb information best from human beings (at least in terms of langauge acquisition.) Salman Kahn, however, demonstrates that after kids pass a certain stage they are fully able to grasp information from a video or computer and this will enable societies to do a far better job of reaching each student and of nurturing that individual's brain endowments.
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    Mar 10 2011: Basic stuff can be learned through standard videos. But you have to have conversations with a teacher for specific details you did not understand. Conversation may be physical or over Internet.