Chris Ke-Sihai

Speculative Thinker, Enspyre


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Sal Khan's talk at TED2011

Marvellous. I have the livestream archive and have been showing this one to all my friends in education over and over. I feel like this is the future, and in many ways it's the answer to Ken Robinson's call for change.

At the same time, this approach does have limitations. I'd love to know what others think.

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    Mar 13 2011: But how do we really SELL it? I believe Sal Khan has hit on the best way to deliver content to students and, for those who need it, a coach can easily assist to give some individual or personalized help and encouragement, but can someone essentially graduate from high school or college using this method? Until Bill Gates (or someone who actually does the hiring at places like Microsoft) the Khan Academy is really just an add-on to a crappy system. If we really want to change the system, we need to come up with two things: 1) enough material to cover the "graduation requirements" and 2) people who believe it. It's great that Bill Gates gets up and endorses the fantastic beginnings of the Khan Academy, but would he invest his own children's entire future in that model? Is there even a way to do it? That's what I'd like to explore. Building it to the point that the content is equivalent and then "selling" those who really determine value -- employers and institutions requiring the existing graduation certificate.
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    Mar 10 2011: I agree that this method will be the future (and apparently Bill Gates agrees). It is so right for all of the problems that we have in education- individually reaching each child, opening up opportunities for child teacher interaction and support, keeping track of mastery. This was the most encouraging thing I have seen in a very long time!
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    Mar 9 2011: In this presentation he expands in more depth on his ideas about extensions of the current Khan Academy.
    I don't have the time to summarize them at this moment, maybe somebody else can?
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    Mar 7 2011: One problem is I think is this: Salman suggests that teachers will track the students, see in which topics they have problems and then go and explain the topic to the student. Do you think normal course hours will be adequate for this kind of teaching?
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      Mar 8 2011: Well, apparently it's happening already.

      The point was that the boring lecture stuff happened at home, via video, leaving the teacher free to devote all the class time to the students. Stuff that used to be homework gets done in class, and the teacher's job is to intervene where required.

      I'm a teacher. I like it a lot.
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        Mar 9 2011: Yes, you intervene in class, but my question remains. Will class hours you have be adequate for fulfulling needs of every student. Maybe you will teach X to student 1, and 1 week later you will have to spend precious hours teaching X to student 2. Also everybody can study whatever they want at any time. Suppose that over the semester you taught same topic X in different times to half of your students. Supoose this happens in 2-3 topics Will you have enough time? Reason why we have this centralized curriculum right now is because we wanted to eliminate this redundant teaching.
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          Mar 10 2011: In that case, the problem lies with the curriculum rather than the method used to teach it. (Although khan did say the method is only suitable for certain subjects too.)

          What I like about it is that everyone starts at the basics, and the students go forward at their own speed. At the end of the available time, each student will be at a different point in the course. but nobody will be being held back and nobody is being pushed past the point of mastery.

          If the material is designed properly, you shouldn't be overwhelmed by students who are stuck on something. It should happen at a fairly steady rate. In fact, the beauty of this system is that with large-scale testing like we're seeing now, you will be aware if any particular module creates a lot of problems, and figure out a way to redesign it. Maybe it needs to be broken into two modules, or maybe the teachers who are solving the problem in the classroom can advise on a better way to present it.

          In effect, you're crowd-sourcing feedback on how to be the perfect lecturer.
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    Mar 7 2011: gah! is there anyway I can see it? Funny thing is a couple of months ago I was on Khan Academy and I sent an email to Sal and told him about TED and that somehow he should give a talk. I'm sure he knew about TED and TED contacted him a long time ago but it was a pleasure to hear that he was speaking. I didn't get to see the talk because we were unable to acquire a venue to hold a viewing of TED2011. I wish I could see it.