Skip to comments.Los Altos district pilots technology-based math program, Khan Academy
Posted on 03/27/2011 10:33:50 PM PDT by Cool Guy
The Khan Academy has its roots in a series of educational YouTube videos that founder Sal Khan began making several years ago to tutor his cousin. The videos struck a chord among those who came across them, Sinha said. As the videos became increasingly popular, the organization got a big break last fall, when it received a total of about $3.5 million in grants from Google and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The nonprofit Advertisement
now has a Mountain View office and a half-dozen staff members. It's still attracting attention -- NBC Nightly News recently featured the program and its pilot in Los Altos, and Bill Gates continues to support it, calling Khan an educational "pioneer" in one video on his website, The Gates Notes. "What Sal Khan has done is amazing," Gates says in the video. "He's taken all this material and broken them down into little 12-minute lectures. I use it myself to remind myself of things."
(Excerpt) Read more at mercurynews.com ...
This is a very worthy cause and if anyone is interested in helping create more content or translating existing content, please apply. http://www.khanacademy.org/contribute
Run away from anything will Gates fingerprints on it.
I am surprised that you did not see this as a big breakthrough for homeschooling.
I think the series is a positive thing for homeschooling. It is one more resource that parents can use... and you can’t have too much learning. I’ve watched some of Kahn’s videos and the ones I’ve seen are good.
I discovered Khan last summer and introduced it to my nine year old daughter. She’s enjoyed the challenges and sometimes new perspectives on various math skills. I think it’s a great resource.
I think it is a wonderful tool for education in general.
What will move American education forward most is that government schooled children will turn to it to learn. That’s the real breakthrough moment.
When millions of parents realize that there’s another way, you don’t have to be trapped in the government school system, then we will see a massive move to vouchers and real change.
The Khan academy covers math from the most basic through every thing.
There are plans to cover physics and chemistry in the next phase.
I found the Kahn Academy online and I have used it to help explain things to my daughters for their homework. On more than one occasion, they have said, “That’s not at all the way our teacher at school did it.” Or, “This is much easier to understand NOW!” Or, “I didn’t understand what the teacher was saying, but I got it now!”
I think it is a GREAT tool! Before I used ALL the subjects as my ONLY homeschooling studies, I would want to go through EACH video and make sure I agree with the content. But, I do that with everything I provide to my kids.
We homeschooled for two years, when my job had me traveling extensively, and I used SOS (Switched on Schoolhouse) - ABSOLUTELY love that software! My kids have actually discussed (at school) the INACCURACIES/VAGUENESS of the school books compared to what they learned on SOS! Love it!
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The School Lunch Program is obviously a success.
The stuff they serve will sure ‘nuff knock your pride aside.
I’m just not excited about “new” tools for teaching.
Smart kids can be just left alone with books and will progress far faster than in a lecture setting. But the education will be greatly enhanced if from time to time there is discussion with a teacher. This was the traditional “reading” of a course of study.
The “average” student can learn in the same manner, they just will not progress as fast.
All students will learn faster with more interaction with a teacher for explanations and clarifications; the faster students will just be on a faster pace. The teacher just has to resist student efforts to manipulate the teacher into being a substitute for their own reading and work.
Teaching the unmotivated is a fool’s errand, the student has to be motivated to learn. Lack of motiviation is one of the largest problems with public schools.
I see math textbooks today crowded with color pictures. Textbook designers are borrowing from the marketer’s knowledge that color and movement fascinate small children; the boneheads therefore try to make courses “exciting” and “fun”. Which leads the attention away the actual subject and towards the pretty pictures.
Math is math. I had a geometry teacher who used pencils and rulers with his hands to demonstrate concepts; it was an engaging lecture style and the students enjoyed the class and learned. But other than that, the underlying course was taught the old-fashioned way since that’s all there was.
Video, photographs and color all seek to convey ideas to the minds eye. But this all blocks what is desired: for the student, after working with numbers and symbols and advancing to higher math, at some point begins to get images from what is represented by those textual characters in their minds eye on their own. That is the point when they start to understand that math is simply a representation of reality, i.e., the number of chickens in a coop or the efficiency of an engine at different rpm settings. Finally, they start to understand that the concepts represented are not limited to what is physically possible, that they can be abstract concepts that may even be impossible in physical reality. Photographs and video, used at an early stage in math education, I believe actually dull the mind in giving it ready made images, where it will be forced to conjure up it’s own without them, and the effort will be beneficial.
We always try to make education easier for the student. That is a very wrong approach, the word is a bad word to use for those purposes. A certain amount of practice is needed, sometimes repitition, sometimes making mistakes, often struggling. That struggling is what builds a person up so that they are not mentally lazy. The more a student has to imagine in their own mind, the more exercise their mind is getting. I had an excellent professor of European history in college who simply droned out a lecture every class like Ben Stein. You know that everyone was on time for his class and sat with rapt attention through the entire lecture; they were actually interested in what he had to say. I remember him describing the breakup of Yugoslavia before it happened; it was a great example to students of how studying history had practical relevance. Everyone knew that his professor was giving out words of wisdom that they would be wise to take hold of. No pictures, no video, no questions and answers. Just read and prepare for the class, then settle in for a fascinating talk, delivered in a droning bass voice.
Today one can see the marketing concepts of color and movement being taken to an extreme today (since corporate America’s idea of innovation is that incrementally more of the same of a good thing makes a better thing). Commercials and movies move faster and faster, the lights are brighter, the action more violent and perverse. All the while the ideas being conveyed are more base and banal, like a simple drum beating the viewer into a frenzy of primal instincts.
Charts and graphs are always used in presentations to the point where they become the presentation. Without a good knowlegde of math and logic, of course, they can be the greatest lie instead of an aid to understanding truth.
It’s when we stop looking for a simple solution and start looking for a true, correct solution that we stopped being “dumbed down” and get back on the path to truth.
Tough audience, Martin.
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