Marisa Hammond Olivares

Educator - English Language Arts/ESL,

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Is Salman Khan's idea of incorporating video in education the key to solving existing budget cuts? Is it learner friendly? Differentiated?

Many states are dealing with budget cuts in education. What would the cost be to incorporate video education or online course work? What would the teacher-student ratios be in the classroom? What about student mastery and assistance? What about struggling students? Is it time to change our curriculum format? What grade levels could we target?

Perhaps a healthy blend of video, live lecture and modeling followed by hands on activities would be best.

Also, in business we can return bad products due to our own quality assurance standards. In public education you cannot. Students are diverse in their own prior knowledge and abilities.

  • Apr 13 2011: I watched Salman's TED talk before work this morning. I had some free time during the day and I started watching his series on statistics and was blown away. I think he has created a remarkable educational resource and the ultimate value of a resource is how it's used. I come from South Africa where many schools don't have access to the necessary bandwidth to be able to access the Khan Academy. But if we did, this would help drastically improve education in the country. The success of video as a tool would also depend on who's teaching and who's learning. Everyone is different and there is no one-size-fits all but that doesn't mean that video doesn't have a place in the classroom.
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    Apr 12 2011: I'm a believer in the idea that we learn by teaching. There is no better way to check/strengthen your own understanding than to teach someone else.

    So imagine if we had students themselves make the online coursework, possibly as homework - the best lectures/lessons could be shared with everyone else while in school, and the students would actually be engaged in productive homework, while learning what they needed to know. The teacher would still be necessary as a curator/mentor/guide, but given the budget cuts we might as well have the students take a bigger part in the dissemination of knowledge/ideas. They could even vote on the best videos to be used by the next class (with a teacher veto, of course). A course website could serve as a repository for past lessons.
  • Apr 12 2011: I can't answer all of your questions but I do know quite a bit about costing for production of videos for classrooms.

    What would the cost be to incorporate video education or online course work?
    The costs depend on several factors:
    1. Production Quality. Are you going to just have a teacher in their classroom speaking into a camera or do you plan on incorporating animation/actors into the course.
    2. Are you creating a new curriculum? If so the costs can be quite high because you are essentially creating an online textbook.
    3. Is the video course intended to replace a teacher completely or to complement the teacher? If it is just going to complement the teacher then the costs are obviously lower.

    From my experience video is never free because it takes time and skill to put them together. That said it can be very cost effective because they can be used again and again for most subjects.

    What grade levels could we target?

    In my opinion, and from experience, the ideal grades to target are junior high/high schools.

    I personally think that video could be an ideal way for schools to expand what courses they offer. (i.e. AP courses)
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    Apr 12 2011: The Khan Academy works mainly because Sal Khan is so engaged in his subject matter that the student becomes interested too. Sal drags you into it; His enthusiasm and interest is infectious. The videos could be improved immensely with professional production values, but of course Sal's little one camera backroom operation is not set up for that, but it could be.

    It works because Sal is non judgmental and his voice and pace is soothing. In short, Sal Khan he's a great teacher. Some version of the Khan Academy can work. The proof is in the puddin. If students learn more from Sal than they do in the classroom, that's proof enough for me.
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    Mar 23 2011: This talk was amazing. I was actually a recipient of Khan's viral lessons while I was taking my Calculus course (For the second time) in college. Calculus, the ever so challenging course, seemed so much easier once I could pause/rewind/repeat the steps, and it certainly proved effective
    Taking the cost of online/video learning sessions into account, it would definitely prove a more cost effective measure than the current structure of the typical classroom. It's definitely a progressive step in education reform. The problems with the current state education budgets are mainly due to the differences among state-state testing standards. Budgets are differentiated between State and Federal and while the Federal remains approximately the same across the board, most states have their own idea of what education costs look like, so they divide the funds accordingly, hence poor education in poorer communities and vise/versa.
    One way to fix budget cuts is to raise all states' standards of education, regardless of the economic condition of their particular region. That's one problem worth discussing, involving education reform.
  • Mar 18 2011: For more perspective; and higher expectations... watch this -> http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_shows_how_kids_teach_themselves.html
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      Mar 23 2011: Yes, Pat I've seen Mitra's work. However, we still need some sort of structure, timeline and/or curriculum. I love what his experiment shows. Students do seek out answers, but I still believe "Perhaps a healthy blend of video, live lecture and modeling followed by hands on activities would be best." I'm a fan of concept based learning and I enjoy making my lessons "student centered" as opposed to "teacher centered". My students know I have high expectations. They are welcome to develop conclusions, but they must be defended and based on fact. I love to challenge them with the standard who, what, when,where, how, and why questions. They in turn LOVE to "try to prove me wrong". Every session ends with praise and analysis of the outcomes. Learning how to genuinely self critique is very important. Every student MUST feel like they have a voice and an opportunity to explain their point of view. I should also mention that I make videos as well. These are faily similar to what Khan has done, but in the area of literature, language and grammar. Fortunately, I have the liberty to select various texts. I especially enjoy using text from other subject areas. Students then realize the true importance of reading comprehension.

      Regardless, we still need a timeline of skills and expectations. Although I am not a huge fan of standardized testing we still need to evaluate growth and knowledge. Besides, you cannot get into a university without the SAT or ACT.

      I am very curious to see how our schools systems evolve over the next few years. I'm all for change, but it must be effective and valuable. I personally love the idea of incorporating videos. It is becoming very common practice at our campuse to sign up for the computer lab. We see this in all subject areas. I should note that these sessions are structured with expected outcomes. I can easily see how one would think a "lazy" teacher just throws the kids in front of a bunch of computers. This won't do.

      enough ranting
  • Mar 16 2011: At the NYC iSchool, a public high school in Manhattan, NY, we overcome budget constraints by allowing students to video conference into classrooms all over the city.

    New York 1 covered the story here:
    http://www.ny1.com/content/news_beats/education/135531/city-students-take-part-in-virtual-lessons/

    I'm really excited by the concept of flipping mini-lesson and out of class work. Lately, in my own class (www.tinyurl.com/ischool-gapminder), I've used screencasts in lieu of an introduction lesson. I found several key benefits over the last two weeks of this experiment. First, the screencasts constrain the timing of my mini lesson. That means that more of my class time is spent one-on-one with students in a workshop instead of in front of the room. Second, I no longer have to stand in the front of the room to deliver whole-class instruction. Since I just play the screencast of the skill, I don't have to write on the board. I can position myself strategically throughout the classroom. Finally, and Kahn talks about this in his presentation, students can watch the videos on their own and multiple times. They can pause and rewind.

    I'm so excited by Kahn's talk. I am on board with the vision of leveraging technology in every classroom to individualize learning for all students.
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      Mar 23 2011: Jesse, I'm right there with you. Although, the actual production of videos and power points are time consuming I GAIN ten fold in the classroom. My students know that they can log in and watch the videos again and again at their own leasure. Many would be surprised to find that they actually do log back in and review and/or comment. Students are eagerly begging to help me create video lessons - I LOVE it!! I'm going to go ahead and allow them to create a lesson. I'll provide the potential "skills" that they can choose from. I have a large MAC in my classroom as well as access to a mobile cart of 30 mac laptops. Imovie and photo booth are VERY user friendly. I can't wait to see what they come up with.

      Also, our district is very supportive of technology in the classrooms. Aside from the general campus based "Teacher of the Year" they have now added "Technology Teacher of the Year". The winner of course gets the usual honors and recognition, but is also awarded the new IPad - how cool is that?

      I join you in the excitement of Kahn's talk. I look forward to the continued development of technology in the classroom. HOWEVER, it must be a healthy combination of curriculum based timelines and expectations. The goal should not be "to save money" but to develop the growth of our students in the competitive world of academia and technology. Videos alone will not suffice. Best wishes to you, Marisa
  • Mar 15 2011: First, “Is Salman Khan’s idea of incorporating video in education the key to solving existing budget cuts?”
    I assume that you are placing the idea of “cost efficiency” high up on the list of priorities with the phrasing of that question. “Doing more with less”. A better way to phrase it might be, “s Salman Khan’s idea of incorporating video in education the key to achieving better results as shown in measurable outcomes?” I think that an argument (like the one that Mr. Khan makes) can persuasively made.

    The asynchronous mode of the video learning he describes,the stop/go/rewind/pause functionality of learning from the lecture in video, and the way the students, going prepared into the classroom for one-on-one time with the teacher (and working in small groups of students in problem-based learning?) offers tremendous opportunity to shift the learning paradigm. The business model of education is well established and may be hard to change or adapt to this model.

    Second: "Is it learner friendly?" Anything that engages kids, gets them inspired and motivated about the subjects presented, and offers them the chance to have the “aha” moment by pursuing learning by choice, is certainly learner friendly. These digital natives are quite at home with “video in education”. They are already using it as part of their daily lives. Why wouldn’t this use of video be “learner friendly?” Again, Khan offers a way-in. Dashboard-available reporting and metrics. Wow. Accountability cubed.

    "Differentiated?"
    "At the core of true differentiated instruction is the creation of multiple paths to learning for students so that they all have equal and, more important, appropriate access to the course curriculum. Educators can develop these multiple paths by varying classroom instruction through content, processes, and product." (King-Shaver & Hunter, 2003). ~ Quoted from “What Differentiated Instruction Is, and What It Most Certainly Is Not”, by Sarah Sacco, ASCD Express
  • Mar 15 2011: (cont)
    In my college, we've argued long and hard to get the title 'lecturer', since it implies a lot more professional standing than 'instructor'. Teachers work in school, tutors help you cram for exams. None of the titles really describe what I do. (I used to put Learning Facilitator on my business card until I realised that few people understood what I meant.)

    Unfortunately, if one describes oneself as a lecturer, what do managers assume that one does if one 'sub-contracts' the actual lecturing to a video? The answer to what I spend my time doing is 'actually being able to give the individual the help he needs' but the idea of actually tailoring learning to students frightens many managers, because its less easy to control, and hence less easy to cost.
    The benefit of one size fits all learning is presumed to be the Mcdonalds paradigm - it might not totally be what you wanted, but you know what you are getting. Each students gets (say) exactly 4 minutes of my time, regardless of whether he needs more or less today. That's easy to cost. 4 mins * 10 students = my wages for the hour.

    It _never_ works out like that in reality, but it looks good on a plan. Unfortunately the college is now a business, and the plan is more important than the reality. The plan determines how many students make an acceptable class size (those eight students who wanted to do physics a-level this year?. They can't. Minimum viable class size is ten. Means they can't get into Uni? Tough.) It is important for this business model that we think of students as consumers. and grades as product. Why are there a lot more Mcdonalds than Mitchelin restaurants, who will tailor your menu to your preferences? Because it's cheaper and easier to mass produce.

    We need to decide if we want our education to be Mitchelin or McDonalds.
  • Mar 15 2011: NB Veiwpoint is UK, and Further Ed

    Costing this kind of thing falls into three parts. Appropriate level hardware is already featured in many classrooms. Software; Youtube use requires that your college doesn't block it wholesale (to prevent students spending class time watching dogs on skateboards). Logistics and support; here's where the problem is likely to lie.

    Problem 1: How many teachers are sufficiently comfortable with technology to allow 'it' to radically redefine their job role? (especially in Higher and Further Ed, as Mr Khan indicates this model would be most valued to self-aware learners)

    Example: a recent teacher training course I was part of had computers in the classroom, at a ratio of 6 to 14 students. The 3 hour class began at four, and the Tech Support team (four for 700 students!) went home at 5. If your computer crashed, tough cheddar. If your password failed, you couldn't ask why. The teacher was a highly experienced educator, and had been for forty or so years. But he was not a support technician. Colleges would have to buck up their concept of computer as essential item of equipment, and not just nice bonus.

    Problem 2: Ownership. How can the college make money out of something freely avalable on the Web? I've used similar 'stock footage' to make best use of my time (it makes possible the 'GCSE-equivalent in 36 hrs of contact time') and got in minor trouble for incorporating outside materials. One might argue that the student is paying for the teachers time, but that means society has to agree about what the job of a lecturer is.
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    Mar 14 2011: Yes its indeed very effective!

    Its time to digitize life a bit because in traditional education system there is a lot of wastage involved which is the last burden you would like to put over crumbling mother earth!

    Google tools are one of the greatest example which twist our common sense to a large extent!
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    Mar 14 2011: Please consider viewing the "Salman Khan: Let's use video to reinvent education" video before posting. There are also other interesting "conversations" started on that page. The link is under "related talks" (see my initial question box)

    Thank you, Marisa