Top 100 Tools for Learning 2013 - 16 views
Nik's Learning Technology Blog: What are the qualities of a good educational technology... - 2 views
While "technology will replace teachers" seems like a silly argument to make, one need only look at the state of most school budgets and know that something's got to give. And lately, that something looks like teachers' jobs, particularly to those on the receiving end of pink slips. Granted, we haven't implemented a robot army of teachers to replace those expensive human salaries yet (South Korea is working on the robot teacher technology. I'll keep you posted.). But we are laying off teachers in mass numbers. Teachers know their jobs are on the line, something that's incredibly demoralizing for a profession already struggles mightily to retain qualified people.
it's hard not to see that wealth as having political not just economic impact. Indeed, the same week that Bill Gates spoke to the Council of Chief State School Officers about ending pay increases for graduate degrees in teaching, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan issued almost the very same statement.
What does all of this have to do with Sal Khan? Well, nothing... and everything.
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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No doubt, Khan has done something incredible by creating thousands of videos, distributing them online for free, and now designing an analytics dashboard for people to monitor and guide students' movements through the Khan Academy material. And no doubt, lots of people say they've learned a lot by watching the videos. The ability pause, rewind, and replay is often cited as the difference between "getting" the subject matter through classroom instruction and "getting it" via Khan Academy's lecture-demonstrations.
Although there's a tech component here that makes this appear innovative, that's really a matter of form, not content, that's new. There's actually very little in the videos that distinguishes Khan from "traditional" teaching. A teacher talks. Students listen. And that's "learning." Repeat over and over again (Pause, rewind, replay in this case). And that's "drilling."