Yes Virginia There is a Khan - A Blog for Principals and Teachers - School Matters | A Blog for Principals and Teachers – School Matters

 
 

Yes Virginia There is a Khan

 
 

 

 

iStock 000017700197XSmall 150x150 Yes Virginia There is a KhanWell, now the secret – if something millions of people already know could be called a secret – is out. And many in the education community are getting nervous, very nervous. Yes, Virginia, the Khan Academy really does exist. Yes, forget about pencils, forget about books, and certainly forget about teachers’ dirty looks. Sol Khan will teach you all you need to know.

This past Sunday evening 60 Minutes, the popular news show, gave the American people a good look at what many, including Bill Gates, see as the future of education. And America, if not the entire world, took notice. Yahoo news reports that:

Ever since CBS aired its profile, Yahoo! searches on “khan academy” have roared to life. Online lookups for “khan academy” are up 3,382% in 24 hours. Related searches for “khan academy tutorials” jumped 9,575%, and “khan academy math” spiked 8,100%.

I’m not really sure what all those statistics mean (I’m just getting started on the Khan Academy statistics videos) but they seem pretty impressive. Add to those numbers the fact that millions across the globe watch and learn from his roughly 3,000 tutorial videos daily, and impressive begins to sound downright silly; staggering seems more appropriate. The educational community would be foolish not to stand up and take notice. Change, real change, is not only in the air, it’s on the ground.

Many, including myself, are hesitant to embrace video-based learning, and for good reasons . (See my blog post Virtual Learning). Yes, the conventional classroom has its flaws, serious flaws. I will be the first to admit that as soon as the second student walked into the classroom, learning suffered. But, it was always not only learning about math, or about science, or even about people; it was also about learning with people. And, about learning how to learn with people. Yes, it was terribly boring for the advanced student to wait for the teacher to explain the concept yet one more time to the slower learner, but maybe that taught patience. Perhaps traits such as empathy, cooperation, consideration and sensitivity are best learned when working with groups very different from ourselves.

That said, the millions who have turned to Sol Kahn have spoken. Khan Academy, and other on-line learning opportunities, are simply too effective to be ignored. Parents and students alike want to learn and Sol seems to be doing a better job that we. Those are the facts. This is an idea whose time has come. And it will not go away.

Nor should it. I am very fond of telling teachers who are struggling with a particularly lively and rambunctious class: “Don’t use the brakes use the steering wheel.” If you attempt to stand in the way of all that student energy it will simply flatten you. Rather, hop on, grab the steering wheel and steer their enthusiasm towards greater achievement. The message here is the same. Educators would be best served investing their efforts not by trying to stop the current trend but by learning from it and helping to shape its future course. Instead of wondering how the hell a hedge fund analyst, with no teacher training, has become the most popular teacher in the world (maybe unbridled passion and subject mastery do make a difference), we should embrace this new educational tool and find ways to use it to enhance that which we do best, care deeply about our students and shape them into educated and caring adults.

Share and Enjoy:
  • twitter Yes Virginia There is a Khan
  • linkedin Yes Virginia There is a Khan
  • facebook Yes Virginia There is a Khan
  • googlebookmark Yes Virginia There is a Khan
 

4 Comments

  1. Lori Carlson says:

    My son loves Khan academy! It is an invaluable tool added to our home school curriculum.

  2. Ellen says:

    Taking an online teacher PD course through http://K12TeacherStaffDevelopment.com/tlb is a low-cost starting point for educators to understand virtual education.

Post a Comment


 

Educators Calendar Events

Featured Posts

Charter Schools – Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained?

Charter Schools – Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained?

Charter schools are publicly funded institutions which operate independently thus giving the freedom to experiment with educating students in any way which they...

 
Student Wins Gold Medal Using Hertz Furniture Products in Design Plan!

Student Wins Gold Medal Using Hertz Furniture Products in Design Plan!

In an outstanding display of innovative and inspired teaching, Kay-Lynne Schaller guided her student to win a Gold medal in the National Leadership Conference in...

 
Video: Wellness and Health Education

Video: Wellness and Health Education

  Is there a place in our schools for teaching our students wellness and fitness? While physical education classes have always been a part of our education system,...

 
Top 15 Things Teachers Hate Infographic

Top 15 Things Teachers Hate Infographic

  Hertz Furniture presents the Top 15 things Teachers Hate Infographic.  Paperwork, Meetings, Uncomfortable Teacher Chairs and more. The infograhic was compiled...

 
K-12 Class Size And Student Success Infographic

K-12 Class Size And Student Success Infographic

  Hertz Furniture is proud to present the Correlation Between K-12 Class Size And Student Success Infographic.  Are smaller classes more effective?  Does the...

 
Student Data Sharing: Is this “Big Brother Watching”?

Student Data Sharing: Is this “Big Brother Watching”?

Readers be forewarned; I am about to age myself. When I was in school, George Orwell’s “1984” was required reading. We couldn’t imagine then that much of...

 
Infographic: What Makes An Effective Teacher?  Part II

Infographic: What Makes An Effective Teacher? Part II

Hertz Furniture is proud to present the What Makes An Effective Teacher? infographic series!  Environmental influences such as classroom resources, appropriate...

 
Does Class Size Really Matter?

Does Class Size Really Matter?

As educators, I believe that most of us would prefer fewer students to teach than a larger amount. We might feel that we can give more personal student attention,...

 
Infographic: What Makes An Effective Teacher?

Infographic: What Makes An Effective Teacher?

  Hertz Furniture is proud to present the What Makes An Effective Teacher? Infographic!  Teacher Influences such as pedagogical knowledge, content knowledge and...

 
Let’s Improve Reading… Again

Let’s Improve Reading… Again

When I was in first grade, I was taught to read using a system called, “I.T.A.-The Initial Teaching Alphabet”. Never heard of it? No wonder. I.T.A. used a fake,...