August 30, 2010, 10:03 am
Teaching Many Many People in a Leveraged Way
By Henry Woodbury
There’s a web site that I’ve been using with my kids recently called Khan Academy, K H A N, just one guy doing some unbelievable 15 minute tutorials…. He was a hedge fund guy making lots of money and he quit to do these little web videos and so we’ve moved I’d say about 160 IQ points from the hedge fund category to the teaching-many-many-people-in-a-leveraged-way category and so that was a good day — the day his wife let him quit his job.
Khan’s YouTube videos feature his voice and an electronic blackboard that present bitmap images and (mostly) Khan’s notes and annotations. Here’s an example, Basic Multiplication:
This approach is extremely efficient and extremely effective. Speaker and blackboard (or whiteboard). That’s all.
When Gates talks about “leverage” this is part of what he means. The pedagogical simplicity of Khan’s approach makes his materials very accessible and allows him to develop his lectures quickly. Their succinctness allows him to tailor each one to a specific level of ability. The other aspect of “leverage” is technological. By using the common YouTube video format, Khan can reach anyone and everyone with a decent Internet connection. There are no additional distribution barriers. Makers of educational software should take note.
Khan Academy is also being used as a tool in the classroom. It was cited in the new book “DIY U” by Anya Kamenetz as an open textbook resource that’s part of a “techno-hybridization” movement in which traditional universities are using open-learning tools to supplement degree programs.
Posted by Lisa Agustin on August 31, 2010 at 11:44 am