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Author Salman Khan is becoming increasingly well-known for having created over 4,000 educational videos and interactive computer quizzes covering a wide range of topics (eg. K-12 math, calculus, computer science, biology, chemistry, physics, finance, history) from the elementary school level to college level material. These videos have been viewed over 265 million times, starting in 2009, and serving over 955,000 subscribers. There are 381 practice exercise, mainly in math. His Khan Academy's goal is a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. Amazing teachers and schools have shown that excellence is possible, but they've proven hard to replicate and scale. Overall, there's been very little improvement in pupil outcomes, despite all the added energy and monies spent over the last several decades. Author Khan sees himself as reinventing education while replacing the existing (old) model of education based on pushing students together in age-group batches with a one-pace-fits-all curricula, dating back to 18th-century Prussia. His new vision involves individual instruction aimed at mastering a topic before moving forward and attaching responsibility for that learning to the student through a dynamic system for getting help.
since 2010, Khan Academy has badges. There are 6 types - Meteorite Badges (easy to earn and provide small point awards), Moon Badges (harder to earn, with larger point awards), Earth Badges, Sun Badges, and finally Black Hole Badges that are extremely hard to earn.
Khan's lessons are each about ten-minutes long. (He cites research that found student minds generally wander off after at or prior to 15-minutes.) Another Khan trait - he scrupulously keeps himself out of view, sensing that having a human in the video would distract from the lesson.Read more ›
I've spent my 40+ year career first as a classroom teacher, then a student teacher supervisor, a corporate trainer and instructional designer, and a training manager. Over that period there have been many theories about teaching, training and learning technologies, and today there is much angst among teachers and technologists about the best way to learn. Add to all that the debates we're having on a national and political level about what to do about our schools as it relates to our current and future standing in the world, and education is not in a golden age right now.
Amidst all of this consternation, Salman Khan has given us 1) a wonderful and optimistic learning example and design with his Khan Academy and 2) now a book that explains what and how he did it. Where other such ideas and solutions have done little but create more debate and finger-pointing, Khan did this first by starting with one person, then a few more, then all who would go to his YouTube channel, and eventually working with people and companies who wanted to help him succeed. What's most impressive and brilliant about his work is that he bases his designs on what seemed to work best for him as a learner, as an engineer and as a person who was not intimidated to work with VIPs. He was able to come up with pedagogical insights--not because of what he learned in teacher training ... he doesn't have any--but from what worked for him as a high school and college student that he then applied when having to address progressively larger audiences.Read more ›
To begin with, I should disclose that Sal and I have been friends for roughly a decade and a half (since we met at MIT) - so my review is tainted in that regard. I ordered the book the day it became available, received it the following day and devoured it in one sitting. However, my ability to do so was largely facilitated by numerous conversations I've had with Sal about these topics, especially over the course of the last 6-8 years when he embarked on the fate walk that resulted in Khan Academy. The One World School House is a veritable tour-de-force of powerful thought provoking ideas; my ability to write a cogent review so soon after reading it was undoubtedly aided by effectively having had a sneak preview of many of its core tenets and also having had a chance to let its ideas percolate.
This book is a must read - especially for anyone who has any interests in the current system of education. The book elegantly weaves together three separate threads: (1) A mini-memoir of Sal's life and the history of the Khan Academy; (2) How the current educational system we have in place came to be and fundamental issues with practices employed by the current system (especially as it relates to both how we learn and what function education plays in today's world); (3) Paradigm shifting ideas for dealing with some of the shortcomings that are in place today.
Education reform can be a touchy subject, so I suspect that a book of this nature will attract polarized reviews. However, I do believe there is still tremendous value in reading a book, even if you don't agree with 100% of what it has to say.
While reading this book, you get a peek into how Sal and other efficient learners operate. They are curious and aren't afraid to ask even basic questions.Read more ›
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