While +Khan Academy has been getting plenty of praise over the past couple of years,… 5

While +Khan Academy has been getting plenty of praise over the past couple of years, some backlash has also been growing from certain quarters. As in so many things, I think the truth lies somewhere in between the two extremes.

Khan Academy is not the silver bullet to solving America's educational woes, nor is it necessarily the enemy of teachers. It's a tool within the arsenal of educating the populace in math and science. We need good teachers to provide the foundations of understanding and thinking about how to solve problems. But the reality is that for a variety of reasons, the message doesn't get absorbed by every student in every classroom.

While many teachers try to work one-on-one with students to reinforce the lessons through tutoring and drills, constraints of time and resources limit what they can do. A tool like Khan Academy provides students with another resource that lets them review the material at their own pace (perhaps the single most important benefit of online learning) and then practice the skills they are being taught.

When doing the math practice, students have the opportunity to work it out for themselves, and then if they have difficulty, the system can walk them through solutions step-by-step.

Combine this technological capability, with hands-on instructors that teach students how to think and our students have the opportunity to truly advance in math and science. Just don't expect things to advance unless we utilize all of the resources at our disposal.

Reshared post from +Esther Wojcicki

One of education historian Diane Ravitch's oft-uttered complaints is that we now have a bunch of billionaires like Gates dictating education policy and education reform, without ever having been classroom teachers themselves (or without having attended public school). But the skepticism about Khan Academy isn't just a matter of wealth or credentials of Khan or his backers. It's a matter of pedagogy.

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The Wrath Against Khan: Why Some Educators Are Questioning Khan Academy
An Explainer Post There's an article in this month's Wired Magazine about Khan Academy. The headline speaks volumes — "How Khan Academy Is Changing the Rules of Education" — as do …

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5 thoughts on “While +Khan Academy has been getting plenty of praise over the past couple of years,…

  • Gary Richmond

    For autodidacts like me, online learning is a boon but I do agree that it does have its limitations. Paradoxically, I think it best suits people of the older generation like me.

    I grew up before the era of computers, when log tables and slide rules were still commonplace in schools. Learning was more formal, teachers did not teach to the test in order to impress the school league tables. As a result I was taught to think more for myself and read around subjects, in depth too. That meant, unlike so many British students starting university today I managed the transition with relative ease and could cope with the demand to think and work alone.

    So, Kahn Academy, and other online learning resources give me the best of both worlds. A little smug perhaps but I think it's true – at least for me.

  • Melina M

    It never even occurred to me that anyone might view the Khan Academy as a threat to traditional education. I don't think anybody intends for it as a replacement, but rather as a supplement. And like +Gary Richmond, I still believe it is the role of classroom education to teach critical thinking skills, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with gaining additional knowledge from other sources. That is the perfect point for the Khan Academy to come in.

  • Mark Holmes

    The power really lies in the underlying analytics, that allow the teachers to tune their attention to where it is most needed, when it is needed. Helps that constrained time be better utilised to the benefit of the pupils. Sounds like an effective addition to the tool set to me.