Wow, fantastic work guys! Your condescending commentary on the methods and content of the Khan videos is sooo helpful to a bunch of people who have benefited because of them. I know that my own kids, who augment their math from school with the Khan videos, really appreciate your mocking sentiment toward totally free content that has raised their knowledge, acumen and confidence toward math.
//-- end:sarcasm --//
Seriously, you want to "raise the level of the discussion" with this type of piss-poor commentary? The only thing you're accomplishing at the moment is simply re-inforcing the stereotype that traditional education teachers are threatened by this content.
Want to change the conversation? Don't sit around critiquing things; get off your ass and produce some content that includes your oh-so-much-better approach. Right now, you're just bitching about it and -- this I can promise -- nobody will care.
This is the problem when hacker news tries commenting on Education. Readers here tend to be wildly ignorant about what's actually going on Education. How do you know that these teachers aren't doing things? Do you mean, they should be making a website? What if they don't think that rote e-learning is an effective way of learning (something that is greatly supported by the evidence)?
You see this video and you don't know about the years of criticism that has been laid against Khan. You don't see the suggestions that have been offered (and ignored). You don't see these things because you're not a member of that community. Just like these teachers probably have no idea about what's going on in the Rails community, you really don't know what's going on in theirs.
> What if they don't think that rote e-learning is an effective way of learning (something that is greatly supported by the evidence)?
I don't care about criticism of KA, I care about results for my kids. And I see positive results, so I have my own evidence that's contradictory, I guess. Given my "wild ignorance" of the education community, that's apparently the only measure I can use anyway, right?
I'm a classroom teacher, in mathematics and computer science. I can say, with certainty, that no teacher at my school is threatened by Khan Academy. That's a straw man. We became teachers because we want students to learn, and any resource that helps them do so is wonderful.
If we do criticize Khan Academy, it's because we're less than thrilled with the implementation and instruction, not the site's very existence.
I've spoken with more than a few teachers who are abjectly opposed to KA content. While my own observation is that of a concerned parent (small sample size applies), I would suggest that there are some teachers who exhibit the behavior of having their approaches to teaching second-guessed (hence: threatened.) By a similar measure about "straw men", I would double-check any assumptions about teachers and their desires for students to simply learn. I've personally dealt with those in the teaching profession who resist the idea that there's more than one way to learn something.
As for KA criticism, I've yet to hear suggestions that would yield better results. I get that implementation/instruction goes against the grain of traditional teaching methods. But hey, maybe that's the point? I'm in no position to assess that, but I am in position to evaluate results.
My kids are proof positive that using KA works for them. I'm an engineer and excelled at math, and they understand concepts better with KA material than without, so I have some perspective as to whether their learning is what I consider well-grounded.
The implementation and instruction at Khan really doesn't go against traditional teaching methods. They are traditional teaching methods, transposed online. Learn via a one-size-fits-all lecture, practice via rote. It's a traditional method, mind you, because it's worked fro hundreds of years.
I'm not surprised it works for a number of students, and I'm glad it works. It's better than most alternatives out there, paid or free, which is damning with faint praise.
I'll be the first to admit: I can't match it, or beat it, because it's a herculean effort to do so. One of my best one-day lessons has probably taken me 15 hours of work outside the classroom to write, over the course of 5 years, and has seen a half-dozen revisions. I'm still not in love with it. If I complain, it's not because I want KA to go away, it's because I want it to improve.
During my tenure there, we won the Broad Prize for Urban Education, and were specifically noted in the award for raising our 4th and 8th grade mathematics scores more dramatically than any other city in the country.