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Kate Pok

The trouble with Khan Academy - Casting Out Nines - The Chronicle of Higher Education - 2 views

  • Let’s start with what Khan Academy is. Khan Academy is a collection of video lectures that give demonstrations of mechanical processes. When it comes to this purpose, KA videos are, on the average, pretty good. Sal Khan is the main reason; he is approachable and has a knack for making mechanical processes seem understandable. Of course, his videos are not perfect. He tends to ramble a lot and get sidetracked; he doesn’t use visuals as effectively as he could; he’s often sloppy and sometimes downright wrong with his math; and he sometimes omits topics from his subjects that really need to be there (LU decomposition in linear algebra, for example). But on balance, KA is a great resource for the niche in which it was designed to work: giving demonstrations of mechanical processes.
  • But let’s also be honest about what Khan Academy is not. Khan Academy is not a substitute for an actual course of study in mathematics. It is not a substitute for a live teacher. And it is not a coherent curriculum of study that engages students at all the cognitive levels at which they need to be engaged. It’s OK that it’s not these things. We don’t walk into a Mexican restaurant and fault it for not serving spaghetti. I don’t fault Khan Academy for not being a complete educational resource, because it wasn’t designed for that purpose. Again, Khan Academy is a great resource for the niche in which it was designed to work. But when you try to extend it out of that niche — as Bill Gates and others would very much like to do — all kinds of things go wrong.
  • When we say that someone has “learned” a subject, we typically mean that they have shown evidence of mastery not only of basic cognitive processes like factual recall and working mechanical exercises but also higher-level tasks like applying concepts to new problems and judging between two equivalent concepts. A student learning calculus, for instance, needs to demonstrate that s/he can do things like take derivatives of polynomials and use the Chain Rule. But if this is all they can demonstrate, then it’s stretching it to say that the student has “learned calculus”, because calculus is a lot more than just executing mechanical processes correctly and quickly. To say that it is not — that knowledge of calculus consists in the ability to perform algorithmic processes quickly and accurately — is to adopt an impoverished definition of the subject that renders a great intellectual pursuit into a collection of party tricks.
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  • Even if the student can solve optimization or related rates problems just like the ones in the book and in the lecture — but doesn’t know how to start if the optimization or related rates problem does not match their template — then the student hasn’t really learned calculus. At that point, those “applied” problems are just more mechanical processes.
  • Khan Academy is great for learning about lots of different subjects. But it’s not really adequate for learning those subjects on a level that really makes a difference in the world. Learning at these levels requires more than watching videos (or lectures) and doing exercises. It takes hard work (by both the learner and the instructor), difficult assignments that get students to work at these higher levels, open channels of communication that do not just go one way, and above all a relationship between learner and instructor that engenders trust.
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    All the reasons I like and don't like Khan Academy videos....
Tracy Tuten

Khan Academy: The future of education? - CBS News - 1 views

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    Discussion of Khan Academy with links to Khan's videos
Tom Hinrichs

Khan Academy launches iPad app with complete library of over 2,700 educational videos | 9to5Mac | Apple Intelligence - 3 views

    • Tom Hinrichs
       
      This is an extensive website
  • 2,700-and up educational videos.
  • Khan Academy account; get credit for watching videos, and track goals and achievements
Steve Ransom

Is Khan Academy a real 'education solution'? - The Answer Sheet - The Washington Post - 89 views

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    Great conclusions here!!
BalancEd Tech

Khan Academy: It's Different This Time « Mathalicious - 4 views

  • This works well when you want a new way to distribute coupons, but it’s problematic when we try to impose technological solutions on problems that aren’t technological in nature.
  • For all the talk about turning students into creative problem solvers and 21st century critical thinkers, the truth is that our current system still very much revolves around the institutionalized mediocrity of standardized testing.
  • We can talk all we want about moving beyond testing, but it’s still the only thing that people are immediately incentivized to care about.
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  • What we want isn’t necessarily what we need.
  • Someone can tell you about a wonderful new operating system that just works, but you really need to see it to understand.
Celia Emmelhainz

» Napster, Udacity, and the Academy Clay Shirky - 1 views

    • Celia Emmelhainz
       
      And we've done all of that with education!
  • An organization with cost disease can use lower paid workers, increase the number of consumers per worker, subsidize production, or increase price
  • Cheap graduate students let a college lower the cost of teaching the sections while continuing to produce lectures as an artisanal product, from scratch, on site, real time
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  • We ask students to read the best works we can find, whoever produced them and where, but we only ask them to listen to the best lecture a local employee can produce that morning.
    • Celia Emmelhainz
       
      Which is why I think amazing lectures and lecture-notes followed by in person discussion could be powerful. Like a reading group (aka english class) but for video.
  • he very things the US News list of top colleges prizes—low average class size, ratio of staff to students—mean that any institution that tries to create a cost-effective education will move down the list.
  • hese are where most students are, and their experience is what college education is mostly like.
  • a good chunk of the four thousand institutions you haven’t heard of provide an expensive but mediocre education
  • That’s because the fight over MOOCs is really about the story we tell ourselves about higher education: what it is, who it’s for, how it’s delivered, who delivers it.
  • OOCs expand the audience for education to people ill-served or completely shut out from the current system, in the same way phonographs expanded the audience for symphonies to people who couldn’t get to a concert hall, and PCs expanded the users of computing power to people who didn’t work in big companies. Those earlier inventions systems started out markedly inferior to the high-cost alternative: records were scratchy, PCs were crashy. But first they got better, then they got better than that, and finally, they got so good, for so cheap, that they changed people’s sense of what was possible
  • n the US, an undergraduate education used to be an option, one way to get into the middle class. Now it’s a hostage situation, required to avoid falling out of it.
  • Open systems are open. For people used to dealing with institutions that go out of their way to hide their flaws, this makes these systems look terrible at first. But anyone who has watched a piece of open source software improve, or remembers the Britannica people throwing tantrums about Wikipedia, has seen how blistering public criticism makes open systems better.
Mark Gleeson

Don't Use Khan Academy without Watching this First - EdTech Researcher - Education Week - 101 views

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    Food for thought on the answer to all Maths prayers! Procedure does not teach understanding
Jon Dorbolo

The World's Richest College Dropout Urges Colleges to Stop Dropouts - Jordan Weissmann - The Atlantic - 22 views

  • Gates sees this problem largely as a matter of incentives. Publications such as U.S. News and World Report reward colleges for the resources they spend on students and their exclusivity, but not necessarily for their results. High SAT scores will move a colleges up in the rankings (and so, it should be noted, will having a high graduation rate). Making sure your alums have a well-paid job, or a job at all, will not. To begin fixing this problem, we need need flip U.S. News' logic, Gates said, and reward schools that "take people with the low SAT and actually educate them well."  
    • Jon Dorbolo
       
      Taking in less qualified students in order to bring them up to speed is part of the the Land Grant University mission. Sal Khan (Khan Academy) recently observed that for students who take longer to master fundamental math skills, once they do so they accelerate faster such that they catch up to those who are ahead. Ubiquitous learning is species survival.
Randolph Hollingsworth

2012-13 Humanities Departmental Survey - American 2012 of Arts & Sciences - 12 views

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    art history, English, history, history of science, languages and literatures other than English (LLE)
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