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Sal Kahn on his famous online academy

3d54a sal khan 300x150 Sal Kahn on his famous online academyIf you listen to folks such as Bill Gates and Al Gore and Carlos Slim Helu talk about Salman Khan, it would be understandable if you thought that the founder of the online Khan Academy is an education miracle worker.

Here are just a few of the quotes on Amazon.com on the page praising Khan’s latest book, “The One World School House: Education Reimagined.

Gore: Since its founding in 2006, Sal Khan’s project — the Khan academy — has revolutionized our thinking on the potential and promise of unfettered, open-access online education.

Gates: The way Khan portrays the concept of education and the mechanism of learning is revolutionary.

Is it really? Clearly Khan has become the vessel for many reformers’ hopes and dreams about how to educate the masses. How Khan sees himself and his academy — which had, its website says, delivered lessons to 239,373,163 students when I last looked on Tuesday — is a more complicated matter.

The Khan Academy is a website that offers free video lessons in math, science and other subjects, such as art history, as well as interactive activities and assessments. Growing out of his efforts to help tutor his cousin in math, the academy now has more than 4,000 videos in a variety of subjects. Teachers use the videos in their classroom; students use them at home as a supplement to their teacher’s lesson. Some folks love the videos, others say they aren’t helpful, and Kahn says he knows they won’t work for everyone. Some mathematicians say that some are mathematically flawed, while others say they aren’t.

“The One World School House” clearly indicates that he believes he is offering a vision of a new way to educate students. The flap of the book reads: “A free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere: this is the goal of the Khan Academy, a passion project that grew from an ex-engineer and hedge funder’s online tutoring session with his niece, who was struggling with algebra, into a worldwide phenomenon.”

The Khan Academy website says: The Khan Academy is an organization on a mission. We’re a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere. All of the site’s resources are available to anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, or a friendly alien just trying to get a leg up in earthly biology. The Khan Academy’s materials and resources are available to you completely free of charge. That is a pretty bold goal.

Yet in his book and in conversation he notes that nothing that he is advocating — ending teacher lecturing, using mastery learning, expanding learning time, incorporating technology as an essential part of education, eliminating letter grades — is new or original to him.

And while there is a public perception of the Khan Academy as being a virtual school, Khan said in an interview: “We will never be a 100 percent complete education.”

“For my kids,” he said, ” I see it only as a tool.” And, he said that he expects his children to go to a traditional brick-and-mortar where they will get a holistic education.

Furthermore, he takes positions in his book that contradict the world view of some of his financial backers’ forays into school reform. Take Gates, for instance Gates, through his foundation, has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in teacher evaluation systems that use student standardized test scores in an important way to assess a teacher’s effectiveness.

In the book and in conversation, Khan says that standardized testing is terribly overused in public education. “Suffice it to say that our over-reliance on testing is based largely on habit, wishful thinking, and leaps of faith.”

Given that the Gates Foundation is the biggest backer of the Khan Academy (which when we talked, had  36 employees, up from one — Khan himself — two years ago), I asked Khan if he ever discussed this with Gates. In the five or six conversations he’s had with Gates, Khan said, he hasn’t, and he “doesn’t have specifics” about what the foundation is doing in terms of funding school reform.

Should he? It’s presumably hard for somehow who is called a revolutionary to tell acolytes to stop saying it, especially when many of them provide funding to pursue the so-called revolution.

Here are some of the things he said that seem to bump against the public perception of Khan and his academy.

* His videos make teachers more important not less, though his promotion of them, though his view about who should be teaching is controversial. As someone who entered the world of education without teaching or curriculum design credentials, Khan is not a believer in the traditional licensing of teachers.

It is important, he said, for educators to “have some deep understanding or connect with the subject matter.” Someone with a deep understanding of geometry is, then, qualified to teach the subject. Should these people also, I asked, have knowledge about how to effectively teach and address the needs of children with learn differently? “That too,” he said in the interview, and noted that he has many teachers and people with a deep understanding of curriculum working on his team.

Regarding the licensing of teachers, he wrote in a follow-up email: “On licensing, I think it is up to the people running the school to decide what credentials/licensing best meets their needs.  Every school is different and serves different populations.”

* The Khan Academy is in the “very early stages” of where he wants to go. He said that he told the Khan Academy board that he would like to reach 100 million people worldwide. A study with the Gates Foundation (one of his funders) is now underway that is supposed to measure the effectiveness of his videos.

* New technology has given us an “opportunity to rethink the [school] model we inherited from the Prussians 200 years ago.”

* The United States is “unlikely to decline like everyone is afraid of” because it is still the place where entrepreneurship and creativity are rewarded. “Kids in Singapore who are creative want to come to the United States,” he said.

* International comparisons of student achievement should be looked at but not be a cause for alarm. Comparisons between the United States and small countries aren’t fair, he said; Singapore is a city state and Finland is a homogenous country of 5 million people, while the United States is a large diverse country.

The latest priorities of the academy, he wrote in an email, are:

1. Internationalizing the site (priority on Spanish and Portuguese)
2. Making the site experience more coherent and rethinking much of the navigation (including how students progress through topics).  Part of this will be to make it gel better with the Common Core State Standards.
3. Trying to make our exercises better at measuring where a student is and helping them retain knowledge.
4. Ways to make the videos easier for teachers to use.

Khan’s videos have value to a lot of people, and his desire to reach as many people as he can in impoverished areas of India and other countries is laudable. But technology is only one tool necessary for a real educational revolution, and the hype around Khan suggests a continuing need by many Americans to find “the right formula” or the silver bullet that will fix what ails us. There isn’t one.

How did Khan get to be regarded as the savior of education?

According to Khan, he was just at the right place at the right time.

And he is a really excellent marketer.

Article source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/02/20/sal-kahn-on-his-famous-online-academy/

Teaching service Knowmia seeks to revolutionize tutoring

There’s a new player in the online education world, an upstart intending to shake up a lucrative global industry.

San Francisco-based Knowmia uses video lessons uploaded by teachers to provide home tutoring options. The service also allows teachers to upload self-made video content they can assign as homework. Using Knowmia, struggling students can find teachers whose style suits them, then work at home on catching up at school.

Knowmia was founded by Ariel Braunstein and Scott Kabat, two members of the team that launched the Flip Video line of pocket camcorders. Knowmia enters a field dominated by Khan Academy, a popular digital repository of educational video content and classroom reporting tools. Khan’s not-for-profit library of free video lessons is free to users and is funded by donations.

There is big money in the $54 billion supplemental education market, however, which includes companies like Huntington Learning Center, Kaplan and Sylvan Learning Center and the Japan-based Kumon Center. Kabat and Braunstein intend for Knowmia to revolutionize the industry by using Internet crowd-sourcing to make individualized tutoring less expensive and more convenient.

Education Week blogger Jason Tomassini described Knowmia as being “like a combination of Khan Academy, Netflix and Pinterest,” and Kabat agrees.

“Khan is clearly onto something big, and we are huge supporters,” Kabat said. “We feature some of the Khan lessons on our site, but we want to be a platform for thousands of Khans.”

Like Pinterest’s online photo-sharing site, Knowmia’s content is crowd-sourced — contributed by the public. And, like Netflix, Knowmia gradually personalizes itself for its users as it learns more about their interests and preferred learning styles. Though there are numerous providers of digital education, Knowmia’s founders hope their plan to curate program individualized to learners’ needs will allow it to take hold as Pinterest has, revolutionizing the tutoring industry in the process.

Knowmia’s creators scoured the web to amass a growing library of 8,000 videos created by 900 teachers — a network that will grow. All of this basic content is free to students who visit Knowmia.com, and teachers are allowed to upload their own video lessons to the site at no cost.

Article source: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865562068/Knowmia-seeks-to-revolutionize-tutoring.html

Online Tutoring Website Gives Amazon Associates Opportunity to Make Money …

Buffalo, NY, August 29, 2012 –(PR.com)– Amazon affiliates throughout the country are competing for website traffic as the new school year approaches. The new school year provides opportunities for bloggers and Amazon affiliates to earn extra income promoting school supplies, online tutoring, and other educational products and services.

The growth of Amazon affiliate marketing and affiliate marketing in general is growing at a rapid rate.

According to Forrester Research,

“Affiliate marketing is a low-risk, high-return strategy for online marketers. US affiliate marketing spending will thus reach $4 billion by 2014 and will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16% from 2009 through 2014.”

Mr. Ackerman, a certified teacher, founder of the online tutoring website TutorGiant.com, and author of the ‘Learn’Em Good’ book series has launched a program to help online Amazon.com associates earn money.

“After watching the growth of online tutoring videos displayed on Youtube, I decided to contribute my expertise to the online community by creating my own video lessons.”

Ackerman, an author and a certified school teacher with a Masters degree from New York State, decided to combine his video lessons with workbooks.

“I created 350 video lessons in math, writing, reading, and grammar. Every video lesson comes with a worksheet that is taken up in the video lesson itself. The worksheets, which are compiled into workbooks, are available at Amazon.com. I’ve decided to allow for my videos to be embedded so that any Amazon associate can play my video lessons on their site, promote the workbooks, and earn commissions,” Ackerman explained.

Currently, Mr. Ackerman has written 9 education-related books under the brand ‘Learn’Em Good’. His books cover topics ranging from ‘Essay Writing Skills’ to ‘How to Improve Your Child’s Social Skills’. Additionally, Mr. Ackerman, to date, has compiled 30 classic novels, each appended with his unique reading comprehension strategies, which are all available at Amazon.com.

“As a teacher and parent, I want to help children learn both in the class and in the real world.”

Amazon associates can search in Amazon.com for ‘TutorGiant’ workbooks or ‘Learn’Em Good’ in order to find the links. They can also go to http://www.tutorgiant.com/affiliates to find out more about the TutorGiant affiliate opportunity.

Article source: http://www.pr.com/press-release/436961

Alleyoop Releases New STEM Program

    Alleyoop Releases New STEM Program

ff434 Screen Shot 2012 08 15 at 5.56.17 PM 620x348 Alleyoop Releases New STEM Program

Alleyoop online tutorial

By Jennie Rose

Alleyoop, the online college prep tutoring site created by Pearson, has added a group of new STEM-focused partners to its offerings. In addition to its current math programs, Alleyoop has added NASA eClips, National Geographic, Scientific Minds, Patrick JMT, Virtual Nerd, Adaptive Curriculum and Brightstorm.

Alleyoop uses the “gamification” model for its curriculum, which is targeted at middle- and high-school students. The site features real-time tutors, instructional videos, and a system described as “personalized, iterative, and adaptive,” according to an Atlantic article.

With these new additions, students who use Alleyoop will have access to NASA eClips, a video library showing STEM-related careers and applications for science and engineering concepts;  videos from National Geographic that are aligned to STEM topics, such as animal behavior and chemistry; National Science Foundation’s Science360 app, a source for science news, as well as a series of video interviews of scientists and engineers on the field.

Other partners in Alleyoop’s online curriculum offerings include Brightstorm, video lessons created by teachers covering biology, chemistry and physics; Adaptive Curriculum, featuring interactive scenarios that give students context for science lessons across the board; Patrick JMT, video activities including geometry, trigonometry to statistics and probability; Scientific Minds, quizzes and interactive biology flashcards; and Virtual Nerd, interactive whiteboard tutorials in math and physics.

The site, which has more than 30,000 beta users, was designed to be used outside  school, unlike other tutoring sites, like Civitas Learning. Alleyoop users earn ‘Yoops’ for the work they do on the site, and can put those earned points towards different activities. For $12 a month, a user can gain access to premium content, such as guidance help or career advice.

HOW IT WORKS

Based on the user’s grade — between 7th and 12th grade, Alleyoop recommends activities that challenge different skill levels. From the outset, the “Learner DNA” module begins profiling the type of learner—kinesthetic, visual or auditory—while the “Super Brain” engine pushes content and activities that are most effective for specific learning styles, even predicting academic areas where kids could use more practice.

Given the conditions in cash-strapped schools, Patrick Supanc, president of Alleyoop says he believes that the adaptive model created for out-of-classroom learning can also help students in school.

“What if you could just pull out your iPod Touch or phone, pin an issue you’re having with some material at school, and then when you get home, log in, and have a recommendation waiting for you to follow up on that material?” he said.

Roger Dawley, a 15-year-old sophomore at Scituate High School in Massachussetts who uses Alleyoop, appreciates the performance feedback. But he especially likes approaching classroom material at his own pace, and finds it easier to revisit the material than to ask his teacher. Dawley uses Alleyoop largely to review classroom curriculum that he didn’t understand. “It’s easier to re-watch videos of the parts that you didn’t get instead of having to deal with someone,” he says.

By the same token, Dawley wishes the Alleyoop interface offered an instant chat feature to query if he’s struggling.

 

 

Article source: http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2012/08/alleyoop-releases-new-stem-program/

Alleyoop Releases New STEM Program

    Alleyoop Releases New STEM Program

cc2e9 Screen Shot 2012 08 15 at 5.56.17 PM 620x348 Alleyoop Releases New STEM Program

Alleyoop online tutorial

By Jennie Rose

Alleyoop, the online college prep tutoring site created by Pearson, has added a group of new STEM-focused partners to its offerings. In addition to its current math programs, Alleyoop has added NASA eClips, National Geographic, Scientific Minds, Patrick JMT, Virtual Nerd, Adaptive Curriculum and Brightstorm.

Alleyoop uses the “gamification” model for its curriculum, which is targeted at middle- and high-school students. The site features real-time tutors, instructional videos, and a system described as “personalized, iterative, and adaptive,” according to an Atlantic article.

With these new additions, students who use Alleyoop will have access to NASA eClips, a video library showing STEM-related careers and applications for science and engineering concepts;  videos from National Geographic that are aligned to STEM topics, such as animal behavior and chemistry; National Science Foundation’s Science360 app, a source for science news, as well as a series of video interviews of scientists and engineers on the field.

Other partners in Alleyoop’s online curriculum offerings include Brightstorm, video lessons created by teachers covering biology, chemistry and physics; Adaptive Curriculum, featuring interactive scenarios that give students context for science lessons across the board; Patrick JMT, video activities including geometry, trigonometry to statistics and probability; Scientific Minds, quizzes and interactive biology flashcards; and Virtual Nerd, interactive whiteboard tutorials in math and physics.

The site, which has more than 30,000 beta users, was designed to be used outside  school, unlike other tutoring sites, like Civitas Learning. Alleyoop users earn ‘Yoops’ for the work they do on the site, and can put those earned points towards different activities. For $12 a month, a user can gain access to premium content, such as guidance help or career advice.

HOW IT WORKS

Based on the user’s grade — between 7th and 12th grade, Alleyoop recommends activities that challenge different skill levels. From the outset, the “Learner DNA” module begins profiling the type of learner—kinesthetic, visual or auditory—while the “Super Brain” engine pushes content and activities that are most effective for specific learning styles, even predicting academic areas where kids could use more practice.

Given the conditions in cash-strapped schools, Patrick Supanc, president of Alleyoop says he believes that the adaptive model created for out-of-classroom learning can also help students in school.

“What if you could just pull out your iPod Touch or phone, pin an issue you’re having with some material at school, and then when you get home, log in, and have a recommendation waiting for you to follow up on that material?” he said.

Roger Dawley, a 15-year-old sophomore at Scituate High School in Massachussetts who uses Alleyoop, appreciates the performance feedback. But he especially likes approaching classroom material at his own pace, and finds it easier to revisit the material than to ask his teacher. Dawley uses Alleyoop largely to review classroom curriculum that he didn’t understand. “It’s easier to re-watch videos of the parts that you didn’t get instead of having to deal with someone,” he says.

By the same token, Dawley wishes the Alleyoop interface offered an instant chat feature to query if he’s struggling.

 

 

Article source: http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2012/08/alleyoop-releases-new-stem-program/

Flip Video Co-founder Tackles Online Education With New Video Platform …

d1589 screen shot 2012 08 14 at 6 23 56 am Flip Video Co founder Tackles Online Education With New Video Platform ...

Ariel Braunstein and Scott Kabat know a thing or two about building (and selling) a user-friendly mobile video experience, but can they do the same for the world of digital education? We’re going to find out. Braunstein and Kabat are the co-founder and former marketing executive, respectively, of Pure Digital Technologies, the makers of the popular Flip Video line of hand-held camcorders, which helped usher in a new era of amateur videographers.

Pure Digital was acquired by Cisco in 2009, which has since retired the production of the mini camcorders. In the meantime, Kabat and Braunstein have turned their attention to online education and the growing role video technology is assuming in the transformation of learning. Today, the co-founders launched a new venture called Knowmia — a crowdsourced video platform designed to help teachers find and create online video lessons while improving the learning experience for students.

Knowmia, a member of Y Combinator’s most recent batch of startups, has created software that organizes and curates video lessons from teachers all over the world to provide users (and students) with a more personalized, efficient and affordable alternative to online tutoring. Today, the platform offers more than 7,000 free lessons that cover a variety of subjects, including algebra, chemistry, history and American literature.

The videos generally fall between one and ten minutes in duration, and currently hail predominantly from YouTube and Vimeo. Knowmia has recruited its own teachers, who work with the team to review existing video content before it’s posted as well as add supplementary content, like notes and quizzes, and tag videos with keywords to help categorize them by topic and skill level.

d559c screen shot 2012 08 14 at 7 42 59 am Flip Video Co founder Tackles Online Education With New Video Platform ...

The goal here is to provide a centralized hub of educational video content, like a YouTube for education or Khan Academy, allowing users to search by specific keywords which will then surface more relevant content. The more tags that are added, the easier it will become for students to search for “The Gettysburg Address” and find a specific video lesson on Abraham Lincoln or the Civil War that includes content on their specific search criteria.

In practice, it’s somewhat reminiscent of TED’s new education platform, which was created to allow teachers and educators to create unique lesson plans around its killer video content. TED has the benefit of calling on its repository of popular videos made by the world’s experts on a variety of subjects. In comparison, Knowmia would seem to be the more mainstream version (both for better and worse), although with its so-called “Editorial Board” of teachers, it may well be able to prevent lower quality content from slipping through the cracks — one of the potential dangers of a giant, crowdsourced video repository — especially one that targets education. The potential for misinformation in the crowdsourced model is obviously something Wikipedia, for one, knows a thing or two about.

Going forward, the co-founders plan to keep the platform’s video content free; however, in search of monetization, the site will likely begin charging for its supplemental learning tools, like its “Mini Courses” which it plans to launch in the near future. These mini-courses will take shape as teacher-curated sets of lessons that will be sourced from the platform’s video library and will include teacher comments and quizzes in an effort to make it easier for educators to measure progress and retention of material.

Those teachers who have content included in the startup’s premium offerings will receive a cut of the revenue generated from the sale of the mini-courses, although the company has yet to decide on a price point for its courses. Teachers who register for Knowmia will be able to post their video lessons for free and will also have access to the startup’s free iPad app, which launched today in tandem with its online platform.

d559c screen shot 2012 08 14 at 7 41 02 am Flip Video Co founder Tackles Online Education With New Video Platform ...The team describes its “Knowmia Teach” app as an “iMovie for teachers,” allowing educators to mark up their lessons and videos in interactive demonstrations for their students. In this way, Knowmia’s app competes directly with that of Educreations (which we covered earlier today) and ShowMe, both of which offer interactive whiteboards for teachers that let them create interactive, multimedia lessons.

While there is certainly plenty of demand for online video in continuing education and in learning environments that are outside the classroom, whether as homework aids or for those trying to brush up on a particular subject, it remains to be seen how much teachers are salivating for this kind of resource. Knowmia is a great alternative to YouTube, providing teachers and students with a curated, moderated video hub. And if one gets tired of Sal Khan, Knowmia can have a lot of value for those looking for material from a variety of sources in a variety of teaching styles.

It remains to be seen whether parents will buy into these types of platforms as a viable alternative to online or actual, live, in-person (gasp!) tutoring, but the more these types of platforms provide teachers with real, usable tools to assess student progress and retention, the better.

For more, find Knowmia at home here. iPad App here.


  • FLIP VIDEO

The Flip Video is a compact camcorder aimed at making it quick and easy to shoot video. Supposedly the Flip has taken a 15-20% share of the camcorder maket, but it has come under question if that’s really the market they are a part of.

3fd3f 19965v1 max 150x150 Flip Video Co founder Tackles Online Education With New Video Platform ...

? Learn more

Article source: http://techcrunch.com/2012/08/14/knowmia-launch/

Mattecentrum tutors around 70000 young people in maths every month. Photograph …

Mattecentrum tutors around 70,000 young people in maths every month – for free. This is done in two ways:

1. IRL during tutoring sessions 50 times a week in 19 cities in Sweden and Denmark using 300 voluntary workers.

2. Online on matteboken.se (in Swedish) and mathplanet.com (in English) one gets tutoring via video lessons (several million views), forums, theory, etc.

Since the organisation started in 2008 over half a million kids have studied maths with us.

The knowledge in maths among kids in Sweden is decreasing and this is harmful to society in several ways:

• A lot of injustices are created. Your education should not depend on which family you are born in

• In order to participate in a democracy some knowledge in maths is essential.

• A lot of youngsters believe that they are useless and stupid since they fail at maths (this is NOT true!!!)

• Companies in Sweden have to shut down because they lack new young co-workers who know maths – meanwhile we have a historically high youth unemployment rate

We are creating social change by helping those who cannot afford to buy private tutoring, we help those whose parents can’t help them and we help those who have no one else to turn to after school. Some 35% of our kids have immigrant background – a lot of people see us as one of few successful integration projects, maybe because we do not try, we just treat everybody with respect.

With your vote Mattecentrum is able to help more kids, start up in more cities and countries, spreading knowledge and giving democracy a helping hand meanwhile we even out injustices’ that are created the day we are born.

Kids can count on/with us – can we count on your vote?

This is one of 25 semi-finalist profiles in the Join Our Core competition.

Content on this page is provided by Ben and Jerry’s, supporter of the Values-led business hub

Article source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/mattecentrum-ben-jerrys-join-our-core?newsfeed=true

Online support for Project Maths launched in Mayo

The Maths Tutor Ltd was founded in Co Mayo by Eamonn Toland, in collaboration with Dr James Cruickshank.  Eamonn Toland is a popular maths tutor based in Ballina, while Dr Cruickshank is a university maths lecturer living in south Mayo.
 
TheMathsTutor.ie is unique as it is the only website focusing specifically on the area of Project Maths, and offering online grinds with Video Lessons, Interactive Exercises and additional Online Supports.
 
A survey of Maths Teachers in the 24 schools that piloted Project Maths, carried out by the ASTI, identified many reservations in relation to the new syllabus.  Over 60% of teachers surveyed believed that their maths timetable allocation was not sufficient to implement the new syllabus.  A total of 97% believed that the new model requires significant additional work and 74% believed that it requires smaller maths classes. 
 
According to Toland: “Having interpreted the findings of the ASTI survey, which also identified a low level of satisfaction with online supports available for Project Maths, and from talking to students and parents, we recognised a huge need for this kind of student support.”
 

“Our website fulfils this need by providing high quality online support for Project Maths.  Students are happy to have a resource which allows them to master any topic at their own pace, anytime they want.

“Parents are delighted that students can get this support, focusing on the new Irish maths syllabus, while saving a lot of time and money compared with traditional grinds.

“Initially we have focused on topics up to Leaving Cert Ordinary level, as this represents the majority of students.  However, plans are underway to cover the Leaving Cert Honours syllabus in 2013.
 
“We’re already getting a great response from Leaving Cert Students and we anticipate that this trend will increase as the exams draw closer.  We have also launched weekly eZines and webinars which will run until the end of term.”

Article source: http://www.mayotoday.ie/index.php/browse-mayo-news-by-category/digital-life/item/4702-online-support-for-project-maths-launched-in-mayo.html

Harvard and MIT Offer Online Education for Free

Harvard has joined with MIT to deliver courses over the Internet, for free, to anyone in the world. The new joint venture, called edx, builds upon MIT’s existing online learning platform, MITx, which already runs a handful of courses, including Circuits and Electronics, for around 120,000 students worldwide. 

The courses offered through edx will incorporate video lessons, online quizzes, and real-time feedback. Students will receive a certificates of mastery for their efforts. In recent years, there has been a massive groundswell in online learning—enabled by high-speed Internet connections, ubiquitous computers, and back-end technology like cloud computing. Edx is just the latest—and most prestigious—endorsement of that phenomenon.

It’s interesting to see technology being used to make teaching more efficient. But platforms like edx could also help institutions such as MIT and Harvard identify and nurture the smartest students from anywhere in the world. 

Anant Agrawal, director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and leader of the development of MITx, says edx will also involve researching new ways of automating the learning process—including machine-learning to grade written papers. He adds that such a massive interactive learning platform will offer a chance to run completely new kinds of experiments, and explore how people learn and improve that process. The research will feed into the courses offered on campus at MIT and Harvard as well as those offered through edx.

When asked who the leader of the online interactive learning trend is, Agrawal singled out Salman Khan, the MIT and Harvard grad who started out tutoring his cousins via YouTube, and went on to create the online learning platform Khan Academy.

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Article source: http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/editors/27814/

Khan Academy, TED-Ed and the new leaders in education reform



(Kyle Bursaw – AP)
The news program 60 Minutes had an answer last night for kids struggling with their algebra homework. It featured Khan Academy, a nonprofit founded in 2004 that delivers short, free online video tutorials on thousands of different topics. Now backed by the Gates Foundation and Google, the site is beginning to be used experimentally in a couple dozen schools, apparently to great success, and finding an audience around the globe. Others appear to be following suit: On Monday, the nonprofit TED, which puts on a popular annual ideas conference, announced it would be starting TED-Ed, an online collection of free video lessons delivered by the best teachers on a range of subjects. 

Khan Academy is the brainchild of Salman “Sal” Khan, a former hedge fund analyst that founded the service initially to help remotely tutor his cousin in algebra, only to find his videos going viral, his career changing as a result, and Bill Gates taking notice. Khan’s method—in which students watch videos to learn the lessons at home, and then work through problems in school with their teachers’ assistance—has been described by some as “flipping the classroom,” and is being hailed as a solution for better educating students and perhaps, as Sanjay Gupta suggested on 60 Minutes, “the future of education.” Commenters on 60 Minutes’ story are suggesting he should win the Nobel Prize. And yet, he has no PhD in education, no experience working for nonprofits to turn around schools, no time spent studying education reform in think tanks or universities.

And that does not surprise anyone who has studied innovation, including Google chairman Eric Schmidt. “Innovation never comes from the established institutions,” he told 60 Minutes. “It’s always a graduate student or a crazy person or somebody with a great vision.” He’s right, of course. Think for a moment of all the industries that have been disrupted by outsiders. Netflix founder Reed Hastings knew how to write code but was an outsider to the world of film. Steve Jobs was known primarily for his beautiful design of computer hardware before he upended the music industry. The list goes on.

Harvard professor Clayton Christensen has written about this phenomenon at length. In The Innovator’s Dilemma, he writes about why so many big companies miss opportunities to innovate, and get disrupted by outside players. It is not really the managers who dictate the course of a company, but the inflow of resources from customers and investors. Markets that don’t exist can’t be analyzed, he writes. And an organization’s capabilities are defined by its disabilities.

The large public-school education system, although not quite a big, slow company, is not really that different. Teachers are at the center of a system that has long relied on lecturing in classrooms and homework at home. No matter how good their intentions might be, it is hard for them to think about their own jobs differently, much less step outside the predominant teaching methods that have been used for hundreds of years. You can’t exactly study methods that haven’t been invented yet, and as difficult as it can be to get companies to experiment, doing the same on school children is even harder.

Who knows how much Khan’s video-based, “flipped-classroom” approach will truly change what ails American (and global) public schools. But whether it is Khan or someone else, my guess is that the most revolutionary—and potentially, most effective—educational reform will come from leaders outside the system.

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View Photo Gallery icon confused Khan Academy, TED Ed and the new leaders in education reform Washington Post readers respond to the article “How to completely, utterly destroy an employee’s work life,” and share their own “advice” for making employees miserable.

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Article source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-leadership/post/khan-academy-ted-ed-and-the-new-leaders-in-education-reform/2011/04/01/gIQARWmU7R_blog.html

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    Welcome , today is Thursday, July 24, 2014