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 don't think there's really a route to improving education merely by complaining about the approach of others.
And this video about physics without lectures:
Also read these:
* 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?
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.
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.
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)?
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?
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!
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.
Khan Academy is all about computer lessons at home and all the class time devoted to student teacher interaction