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157 of 168 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent -, October 2, 2012
This review is from: The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined (Hardcover)
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. Still another - stressing active student participation in the lessons.

Researchers have also demonstrated that mastery learning is an important contributor to student success - however, this doesn't work well in traditional group teaching. Khan's use of the Internet and computers allows true mastery learning and assumption of responsibility for doing so by the student. Another Khan attribute - he tries to provide context for the various concepts, making them easier to remember and understand.

Still another Khan innovation - 'flipping the classroom.' His approach allows instruction content to be delivered outside class, with skill development, practice, etc. done in class under teacher guidance. Thus, homework becomes classwork and vice-versa. Students can work at their own pace, and teachers can work with large class sizes while pupils have 'one-on-one tutoring.' The traditional model has pupils attempting homework at home, without access to help; Khan's new model gives priority to problem-solving - with help.

Khan's approach and software makes it much easier, faster, and accurate to experiment with various approaches. He reports using ten-in-a-row to measure mastery; the software then 'hands out' the next assignment. Teacher feedback led to him adding a heuristic that reported students unable to demonstrate mastery after 50 tries.

Early donations were $5, $10, etc., then came a $10,000 donation from Ann Doer, wife of the venture capitalist. After she met with Khan, another $100,000 followed. Then came funding from the Gates Foundation, Google, etc.

Kahn Academy's ultimate success will be its acceptance and utilization by schools. The average American classroom spends $250-$300,000/year for 25-30 pupils, based on 2008-2009 data. Most private schools do not show a discernible difference in results compared to public schools with comparable demographics. Overall, based on a number of test site districts and other less formal users, Khan claims improvements of 10 - 40%. Khan Academy has formal partnerships with 50 U.S. schools. Results in the Los Altos School District (expanded to all schools and a wider range of grade levels, though significant differences have not shown up - already a high-performing school district), KIPP charter schools (no data), Envision Academy in Oakland (very small improvement with randomized pupil assignment and using same teacher), etc. In each Oakland Envision class about one-third saw some significant gains (10% or higher in percentage of questions answered correctly), while two-thirds of students' scores were essentially flat (less than 4% change). Idaho is trying the program in a select number of schools (2012-2013)

Still more Khan perspectives: Summer vacation is a monumental waste of time, money, and physical assets - his approach could remedy that easily. Much of college consists of busywork - he'd prefer that it simply grant certification in focused areas, with the teaching done by local managers and Nobel laureates. And finally - Khan sees another need that his Academy could address - continuous adult learning, needed because of the rapid pace of change in the work-world.

Amazingly, author Khan has no training in education. His approach originally developed as a means of helping his cousins some 2,000 miles away overcome math problems they were having with basic concepts in mathematics. His book is easy reading, yet full of innovation that hopefully revolutionizes education at all levels.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 2, 2012 5:57:31 PM PDT
Anant says:
Is this review about Khan Academy or Sal's new book?
I love watching Khan Academy videos - alone and with my kids. But this review says nothing about his new book.

Posted on Oct 2, 2012 7:36:11 PM PDT
LifeBringer says:
I agree with Anant. Dude/Dudette, please review the book if you've purchased it.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 3, 2012 3:05:55 PM PDT
My reading of the entire book comprises the bulk of this review. Some of the data was out of date, so I provided updated information from other sources.

Posted on Oct 7, 2012 10:51:40 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 7, 2012 10:56:03 PM PDT
A. K. Kaw says:
I am currently reading the book. It is very well written and it has grabbed my attention as an educator. I use many of the techniques he mentions in my classroom including the flipped classroom.

Khan did not start the flipping classroom movement, although his videos made it easier for teachers to do so. Although your English teacher assigning you a book to read before class is a case of flipped classroom, it was Lage, Platt and Treglia who talked and implemented the modern technology version of the flipped/inverted classroom in 2000.

In fact, we looked at different teaching modalities (including inverted classroom) in a pilot study carried between 2002-2006. A.K. Kaw, M. Hess, "Comparing Effectiveness of Instructional Delivery Modalities in an Engineering Course", International Journal of Engineering Education, pp. 508-516, Vol. 23(3), (2007)

Lage, M.J., Platt, G.J., & Treglia, M. (2000). Inverting the classroom: a gateway to creating an inclusive learning environment. The Journal of Economic Education, vol. 31.

Posted on Feb 5, 2013 8:47:52 AM PST
I agree with the above assessment, however, it's pretty idealistic to expect schools to suddenly change all their accustomed courses, techniques, it's mind-blowing and hopeful, I think EVERYONE should read this book, it's excellent!
Surely with enough people backing a real change in educational processes, for a better educated future, many changes SHOULD BE TRIED.!!!!!
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