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Better Ways Change Needed

Learn through video: the Khan Academy

Free online videos from the Khan Academy can be a valuable tool for students

The Khan Academy provides free online tutorials. There are over 42 million registered users (including lots of home educators) from 190 countries with video tutorials on a wide range of topics.

In this Ted Talk founder Sal Khan talks about why using videos works so well for learning, about personalised education, about mastery and about the power of technology to humanise learning.

“The more interesting thing — and this is the unintuitive thing when you talk about technology in the classroom — by removing the one-size-fits-all lecture from the classroom, and letting students have a self-paced lecture at home, then when you go to the classroom, letting them do work, having the teacher walk around, having the peers actually be able to interact with each other, these teachers have used technology to humanize the classroom.”

“So our model is: learn math the way you’d learn anything, like riding a bicycle. Stay on that bicycle. Fall off that bicycle. Do it as long as necessary, until you have mastery. The traditional model, it penalizes you for experimentation and failure, but it does not expect mastery. We encourage you to experiment. We encourage you to fail. But we do expect mastery.”

“When you talk about self-paced learning, it makes sense for everyone — in education-speak, “differentiated learning” — but it’s kind of crazy, what happens when you see it in a classroom. Because every time we’ve done this, in every classroom we’ve done, over and over again, if you go five days into it, there’s a group of kids who’ve raced ahead and a group who are a little bit slower. In a traditional model, in a snapshot assessment, you say, “These are the gifted kids, these are the slow kids. Maybe they should be tracked differently. Maybe we should put them in different classes.” But when you let students work at their own pace — we see it over and over again — you see students who took a little bit of extra time on one concept or the other, but once they get through that concept, they just race ahead. And so, the same kids that you thought were slow six weeks ago, you now would think are gifted. And we’re seeing it over and over again. It makes you really wonder how much all of the labels maybe a lot of us have benefited from were really just due to a coincidence of time.”

Read more

Let’s use video to reinvent education (TED Talk, 2011)

Let’s teach for mastery not test scores (TED Talk, 2015)

Khan Academy

How Khan Academy is changing the rules of education (Wired, 15 July 2011)

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