Sunday, December 27, 2009

Education Techno-Deflation

From their website:

The Khan Academy is a not-for-profit organization with the mission of providing a high quality education to anyone, anywhere.

We have 1000+ videos on YouTube covering everything from basic arithmetic and algebra to differential equations, physics, chemistry, biology and finance which have been recorded by Salman Khan.

I just watched this one video:

And while I'm still not convinced of the superiority of *lattice multiplication*, it's obvious the gentleman is a decent, articulate teacher. And, the price is right! (For another demonstration of this guy's ability check out a lecture on a more conventional subject, say Negative Exponents.)

Time and again I hear young parents, on the subject of them possibly homeschooling, exclaim, "Well, I can't teach (fill in the blank)..."

But due to the wonders of modern technology, they really don't have to! All they have to do is demonstrate their alleged intelligence by being resourceful.

Of course, despite his lucidity, it mustn't be forgotten that Mr. Khan is operating within the confines of traditional, curricular schooling and its profound flaws. Consider that I just found this comment:

...on one of the PRE-ALGEBRA videos I just previewed.

I submit that any *system* that has COLLEGES teaching pre-algebra ought to be scrapped entirely!

There are indeed *more effective* ways to teach nonsense to captive students....but that still doesn't mean the overall educational goals are optimal.

The 5.08 year old Prince C-Nut is about to begin a semi-formal study of pre-algebra himself - and for a millisecond I thought about perhaps cuing up Khan's 20 video playlist on the subject for him.

BUT, that'd deprive me of the sheer pleasure I get from teaching my favorite subject to my precious son. So forget about it.

Much thanks to reader Brian for calling the Kahn Academy to my attention.

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