I got to hear Sal Khan speak this week at the University of Denver Magness Arena. Sal is the founder of the Khan Academy.
[if you haven’t hear of the Khan Academy see our other posts on this]
KHAN’S PRESENTATION IN DENVER
Colorado’s Lt. Governor Joe Garcia introduced Khan at the University of Denver by saying: “The Khan Academy provides free access to quality teaching. This is accessible to all, and provides a world class education to anyone, anywhere. Teaching only works if learning happens.” I agree!
Some high points from Sal Khan’s talk:
- The process of forcing all students through a lesson at the same pace isn’t always effective for mastery because the time it takes to learn something varies for each person. But everyone can reach mastery before moving on by going back to a video to re-watch and re-learn at their own pace.
- When you let students work at their own pace they are on their own individual track. If they’re learning from a video on a computer, they aren’t as passive as they might be in a classroom. Many students spend a lot of time in the classroom disengaged because they don’t have ownership over their learning. With online learning there is more interactivity and the videos are fun.
- Many students end up becoming advanced that wouldn’t have otherwise in a regular classroom because they are going at their own pace, and they can achieve mastery before moving on. Many students get gaps in their learning when they don’t understand a concept, but the teaching moves forwarded nonetheless.
- Khan says more and more students who do online learning are outperforming traditional classroom learning. Learning at one’s own pace allows struggling students to do as much repletion and drill as they need, while advanced students have the opportunity to read it once, get it, and move on.
- What keeps people from using online learning is more of their mindset and less about the cost (technology keeps getting cheaper). The mindset that needs to be overcome is that online learning can’t be as good as traditional, single-teacher-led classroom learning.