ICT MathEd

Khan Academy

On the MathEd mailing list I’m on there was some inquiry on Khan Academy. I gave my short description/opinion:

Khan Academy (KA) is often associated with a “pedagogy” denoted as “Flipping the classroom”, which denotes that instruction shifts towards “outside the classroom” through the use of videos, freeing up time for useful classroom discussions, making exercises ín the classroom. Personally I don’t see the novelty in that, as many (good) teachers already use many ways to motivate students. However, at least in de US people seem to take up the movies especially in a homeschooling setting, so perhaps this engagement could be seen as a positive thing. It also depends on the math ed culture in a country.

The movies vary greatly in quality, both mathematically as esthetically. Khan himself has said that the “ugly” movies often were most succesful. Recently -also see documentary 60 minutes- there have been some indications that the movies aren’t watched that well. To improve the content KA has joined up with people like Vi Hart (see whom we know of the great Pi & Shakespeare movie. As mentioned before, Bill Gates, has taken on Khan as his protege. providing him with ample funds. Because of this backing I think KA probably will have more of a chance to survive the hausse in digital mathematics tools.

A second part of the academy is the exercise section. Good learning analytics, and a great visual map for presenting dependencies and progress in a curriculum. Still, this is the part I am underwhelmed with. A bit too “drill and practice” to my taste. Only answers. This interactive part should, imo., be improved much more.

So, as with many things, a critical view is necessary, but not without acknowledging the positive things.

By cbokhove

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