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Khan Academy: Model for the Future?
posted by: Alix | March 14, 2012, 05:46 PM   

In 2008, Salman Khan, a graduate of MIT and Harvard Business School, was a successful finance executive when he began posting math tutoring videos on YouTube for his family and friends. In the years that followed, Khan's idea has grown into the Khan Academy, a nonprofit organization that has built a free, online database of thousands of digital lessons and lectures on topics ranging from microbiology to economics.

The Khan Academy has grown into a powerhouse in the education world. A simple idea that encompasses both quality content and video technology, teachers across the country are raving about the platform as an invaluable teaching tool. This week, Khan Academy launched an iPad application featuring more than 2,700 free videos for students and educators. The app, which is now available for free download on iTunes, allows users to seamlessly browse through videos content on handheld devices like never before.

As part of the launch, Salman Khan gave an interview where he described his vision and ideas for K-12 education. He called the new approach to classroom learning a promising development for teachers. "This (blended learning) has absolutely nothing to do with replacing teachers. When we talk about getting lectures out of the room, that's because we think we can move teachers up the value chain. That they are better off forming the bonds and connections. "

Khan also outlines his take on where classroom instruction will be in the next five years:

Q: How do you think classroom instruction is going to look five years from now?

A: I'm not sure of the timeline, but the classic teacher in front of the room at a chalkboard lecturing while you have 20 to 35 students at their desks taking notes—I think that model will soon go away. I think that's going to be kind of blown away in favor of a model where every student is working at their own pace and the teacher now has a much higher-value role as someone who is diagnosing students' weaknesses, who is mentoring students both on the academic material, but also mentoring students on becoming good teachers of their peers.

And once you have every student working at their own pace, then you don't have to have 30 desks aimed at a chalkboard. It also opens up the idea that why do you have to have one teacher with one classroom and another teacher with another classroom? Why can't you have three teachers in a room with 60 students instead? And they are all dynamically working with students on whatever their strengths and their weaknesses are, and the students are also working with each other.

Click here to view the full Education Week interview.

What do you think about the Khan Academy?
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