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I'm I getting this right?

He's basically disappointed SV is attacking this problem with the methods they understand best?

I don't see how one woud expect SV-type startups to adress maths education without leveraging their strength --which is in computing. I would expect experts in education to use other more pedagogical approaches.

It's like going on about a carpenter who wants to approach a problem with wood in mind.




I would love to see one of these "complaining about Khan Academy" articles with an attached example of the author's Right Way to teach whatever subject.

I don't think there's really a route to improving education merely by complaining about the approach of others.


I have routinely offered my own versions and contrast them with Khan's video lessons. Watch this MSNBC clip about Khan Academy and my classroom at about 1:30 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwE6iWEhtRk

And this video about physics without lectures: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKcjuIUxwo4

Also read these: http://fnoschese.wordpress.com/2011/10/28/newtons-3rd-law-or...

http://fnoschese.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/khan-vs-karplus-el...


That looks pretty great. I guess your approach only has a few downsides:

* you can only teach (I'm guessing) 300 or fewer students per year, so you can't really have the same reach as Khan

* your method costs orders of magnitude more (someone is paying your salary, and for facilities)

* you can only reach students who are physically near you

* students can only access this education on a very rigid schedule

I don't think your approach is bad, but I don't think you're really solving the same problem. How could you scale your method to teach the entire world for a few dollars per year per student?


I think you have to look at the trade-offs of scale. McDonald's serves 58 million people EACH DAY (http://understandingbignumbers.com/how-many-people-does-mcdo...) at extremely low cost. How does that affect the quality of the food and the experience?

If Khan's method scaled (at lower cost) without sacrificing other features of high quality face-to-face instruction, then I would expect people who pay private school tuition (K-12) to push their schools to implement such an approach in order to lower tuition.

But there's a reason why the elite pay $30K/year for K-12 private schools: Small classes, strong student-faculty relationships, high-quality facilities, and the exceptional educational experience that comes along with those features that cannot be replicated on a large scale.


Dude - seriously, you are like the Khan Academy Stalker. I have taken an interest in KA and have started to use it in my class. But every article, web posting and message board that discusses KA, you show up to criticize KA and promote your own website. Do you spend all your time stalking this guy online? It's kinda creepy.

I teach hs math and physics and have gone to having my students learn at their own pace, using KA videos. KA provides the lecture, which provides a framework and road map for students to follow. I provide the project learning and guidance - which is where the students spend 80-85% of their time.

I have also gone to a "tutorial" method of teaching. I assign work/projects to students to work on independently and in groups. While they are doing this, I will pull 3-4 students out to have a tutorial session, where they are given a problem and must solve the problem. Sometimes it will take 3-4 classes for the small group to solve the problem. Once they do, they go to the next concept. I have students that are learning linear equations, quadratic equations, and solving polynomials at the same time. Because I have changed how long a student has to learn, I can teach the students "where they are". A student will struggle with learning quadratic equations if they don't even understand linear equations. So I let the student take as much time as they need to learn linear equations. Once they master the concept, they move on to quadratic equations.

This is not just a bunch of students watching videos and then answering questions online. In fact, most of their work is done offline, with projects and other applications. I have also found that most of my students will attempt to try and solve the problems before watching any videos or asking for my assistance.

I have found KA to be an invaluable tool that allows me to teach more effectively. Being able to do 'tutorials" with my students has made such a huge difference in the understanding and learning of my students. (we just took our practice state test and 92% of my students passed. The norm in my school has always been around 68%). I also have found the majority of them are actually engaged in the learning process. This is a big change from what I used to do..lecture to a bunch of glazed over and half asleep students. Once I would finish explaining a concept, I would ask, "who does not understand"? 3/4 of the class would raise their hand.

Sal Khan is much better at the lecturing, I am better at the one-on-one give and take between student and teacher. I am better at this because it allows me to better understand how my students process information and solve problems, which helps me diagnose when they get stuck. I would not be able to set up this system if not for KA, so I personally think they guy is genius and greatly appreciate everything he is doing.

KA does not replace or become the teacher. KA allows teachers to use as a supplement so they can work with students in the trial and error of learning.


Now that organizations like Khan Academy have traction and resources, I think they'll be able to bridge the gap. They'll be able to iterate as they receive feedback from the educational community.


It would be nice if when teachers gave them feedback, they'd act on it. Unfortunately, it seems that any criticism of the Khan Academy is seen as an attack on the whole of the Silicon Valley, and every geek comes out to lead the charge against the educators suggesting that they have entirely the wrong approach.

Instead of viewing mathematics as a series of problems to be solved, each of which has a solution, maybe it would be neat of the Khan Academy actually spoke to some educators (and then publicly announced the results of this consultation)?


What would you suggest calling running pilot studies at schools (both affluent and lower-income), like Khan Academy has done with schools in Los Altos and Oakland (http://educationnext.org/can-khan-move-the-bell-curve-to-the...), and getting feedback and suggestions from the teachers who are implementing the pilot programs? Of course they could they do even more (although who of us really knows who they've spoken to and how much/what about), but it's a bit unfair to suggest that they haven't been working with educators.

The lessons they're learning from the massive amounts data they've been collecting from real students (ones outside the pilot programs, who are using their material in an uncontrolled, natural manner) also shouldn't be discounted, and I would argue that it might be as useful as talking to educators can be. It's definitely a Silicon Valley thing to put data up on a pedestal, but should it be valued any less than education research that can be hard to generalize from due to problems with experimental design (like giving extensive training to teachers in the experimental conditions when it's unlikely that most teachers who'll have to implement the same experimental curriculum will have the same sort of training/enthusiasm) or anecdotal evidence from teachers working with one or two classes?


KA member here.

Today at 3:30 I'll be at our Los Altos district teacher feedback session for hours.

As a dev, I meet with our pilot teachers regularly.

Our implementations team does it literally every day.

I have multiple email threads in my inbox of long back-and-forth conversations between our developers and our fearless teachers.

Ok, back to work!


Are you talking about the feedback in this article? Its sort of hard to act on "Using computers to teach math is just stupid".

As to why many people might want to defend Khan Academy, well, its because I think I would have been much happier with Khan Academy than the math education I actually had, and I would very much like it to be available to children like myself. I was bored stiff in math class in middle and high school, and being able to work at my own base, not bound by the slowest person in the class, would have been amazing.


Aaah, I suggest that the Khan Academy talk to educators, and I am immediately down-voted. Why am I not surprised?


Because they constantly work hand in hand with educators and working teachers.

Khan Academy is all about computer lessons at home and all the class time devoted to student teacher interaction




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