I really struggled this week coming up with something interesting to blog about that still focused on education. Every article I found seemed dull and anything interesting I could come up with about schools veered away from education itself. Inspiration came from reading a classmate’s blog about “flipping the classroom”. This idea involves using the internet to provide pre-class lectures and then applying the information through exercises and discussion in the classroom. When I think about “flipping the classroom” Salman Khan and The Khan Academy come to mind.
The Khan academy is an online educational database which provides more than 3,300 video tutorials on everything from mathematics to science to economics and even history. The organization aims to “provide a high quality education to anyone, anywhere”. I learned about this resource in an education course last year and have even used it to help understand mathematics courses myself!
Last spring 20 minutes explored the mind of Salman Khan and took a closer look at the Khan Academy and its place in education.
I think that there are so many positive aspects associated with incorporating The Khan Academy in schooling today. It is probably the easiest resource to use in “flipping your classroom”. The videos on the Khan Academy act as lectures students can watch the night before class. Then, the student will be prepared with the information they need to make applications in class the next day. As a future educator, I believe that application is what is most important in student learning; it’s not memorizing facts that is important, it’s what you can do with that information. I also think it is really cool how teachers can use the program to get real-time information about how their students are learning. This information is crucial to being able to differentiate in your classroom and make sure every student is comfortable with the information.
The other thing that I think is great about the Khan Academy is that it could potentially replace textbooks. With all the advancements in technology and their prevalence in student’s lives, kids have a hard time sitting down and reading a textbook. Textbooks just aren’t set up in the format that clicks with student learning. Kids like to access information from many different points rather than linearly as it is given in books. Also, kids are presented with visual, auditory, and kinesthetic information opposed to only visual information. The other great thing about virtual learning over textbooks is that it’s free! Textbooks are expensive and take away a big chunk of school funding. The Khan Academy however is free. The video made a great point that schools could keep computer labs open after hours to provide computers to kids who cannot afford computers at home. Since The Khan Academy is free, it provides education to kids who couldn’t normally get it.
Many people worry that the video lectures in the Khan Academy could replace real life teachers. To me, this reaction is ridiculous. Online lectures should be used as a TOOL, not as the INSTITUTION. The Khan Academy is a great accompaniment to teaching. It should not be relied on to do the job of teachers, but rather should be used to enhance student learning. It could be a major player in “flipping the classroom” and making education more accessible to all students. I know I personally found it incredibly helpful and engaging when I used it. Maybe most importantly, it seems like the students are really enjoying and learning!