Thursday, June 9, 2011

New Math Education Wars: The Wrath of Khan

With their tutorial videos, Khan Academy has made a big splash in the education world. Having Bill Gates sing your praises in a TED Talk is a sure way to get a lot of attention.

Over at Action-Reaction, Frank Noschese has an article Khan Academy: My Final Remarks. I agree with many of his points. Here is a quote from near the end of the post:
Khan Academy is just one tool in a teacher’s arsenal. (If it’s the only tool, that is a HUGE problem.) Khan Academy can be useful for some kids as vehicle (build skills) to help them get to better places (solving complex problems).
On his Quantum Progress blog, John Burk also chimed in with Project Euler vs Khan Academy: The Future of Online Learning. I agree that Project Euler is really, really good, but that is a topic for another post.

Back in 2007 (before I ever heard of Khan Academy), I started developing instructional videos that are somewhat similar to Khan’s work. I think they are great tools, but they are not the be-all and end-all of online education. When placed in the context of a complete course, they can be helpful tools. We need to continue to innovate, but just shouldn't get too carried away by the latest educational fad and think it will solve all our problems. Good teaching isn't about amazing lectures. It's about feedback and engagement and connections.

At their best, instructional videos are pretty sentences. Quality education is a set of engrossing interactive stories.

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