Salman Khan is an inspiring education technology leader on a mission.
If your interested in â€œed techâ€, you've probably already heard of him. I first wrote aboutÂ Salman Khan work in this post in March of last year, and heÂ has continued toÂ experience growingÂ success since,Â includingÂ a major nodÂ fromÂ the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Sal Khan is a pioneer in the education technology field and he is changing people's thinking about some aspects of education.Â
The Khan Academy
Khan's rise to the spotlight revolves aroundÂ his wonderfulÂ work establishing and evolving the Khan Academy. The Khan Academy provides over 2000Â video lectures on a wide array of academic topics, at pretty muchÂ all learningÂ levels, and it's self-paced offerings are being viewedÂ by a million viewers a month!
In the TED Talk below, Khan does an entertainingÂ job of explaining theÂ genesis of his work, the many advantages of this format, and the impact it'sÂ had onÂ so many people. This is an inspiring video. I don't find the time to watch many of these, but I have to say that I really enjoyed this one.
“I started getting letters from teachers … saying we've used your videos to flip the classroom. You've given the lectures, soÂ what we do now is … assign the lectures for homework,Â and what used to beÂ homework I now have the students doing in the classroom”.
As Khan notes, this application of technology is actually humanizing the classroom.
Students can consume the lecture materials on their own time, in a more comfortable environment, with a flexible format that allows for easy replays (a nice improvement over being embarrassed to ask to revisitÂ a topicÂ in classÂ when students struggle to keep up). Then, when students do homework in class with the teacher available and peers assisting each other, there much less likely toÂ end upÂ â€œstuckâ€ on a problem that they're having trouble with – the help is right there. There are so many reasons why flipping the conventional model on it's head can work so well. (This is increasingly becomingÂ aÂ keyÂ elementÂ in my own personal thinking about how to best leverage education technology).
The model Khan demonstrates from the Los Altos school district's project trialing the use of Khan Academy lectures in their math curriculum is fascinating (this can be found aroundÂ 12 minutes in on the video). Kids are learning the materials, in theirÂ properlyÂ sized,Â well organized video modules, at their own pace. Teachers can review progress in a straightforward format usingÂ an onscreenÂ visual grid, and then focus on helping those who need help, specficially where they need it most.Â ThisÂ is elegant in it'sÂ simplicity and effectiveness. Teachers canÂ spend less time delivering the lecture materials and more time precision-focused on eachÂ student's comprehension of the material.
We are soÂ fortunate to have people like Salman Khan putting themselves out there like this.Â Khan cast aside a traditional, highly lucratrive career andÂ started changing young people's lives with his non-profit effort to change education,Â inspiring so many of us along the way.Â
While recognizingÂ and celebrating this innovative work, we also wish the very best of luck to Sal Khan andÂ the Khan Academy(click here if you'd like to considerÂ contributing to the Khan Academy -Â even with the Gates' backing, they can still use donations to keep this effort on the right track).
Â Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
Great Ed Tech Story: K-5 Summer Tech camp changes lives for low SES students
A Dozen Great Free Online Video Lecture Sites
The Khan Academy (offering 1100+ free tutorial videos)