Mr. Khan’s critics say that his model is really a return to rote learning under a high-tech facade, and that it would be far better to help children puzzle through a concept than drill it into their heads....Rote learning. Teacher and blackboard. Traditional. You'd think the teacher herself would be perfect at doing what this website does.
Today, the Khan Academy site offers 2,700 instructional videos and a constellation of practice exercises. Master one concept, move on to the next. Earn rewards for a streak of correct answers. For teachers, there is an analytics dashboard that shows both an aggregate picture of how the class is doing and a detailed map of each student’s math comprehension. In other words, a peephole.
Diane Tavenner, chief of the Summit chain of four charter schools, said that at first she was ambivalent about using Mr. Khan’s software. It would require buying laptops for every student and investing in more Internet capacity. And she found the Khan Academy model of instructor and blackboard — albeit a digital one — to be a bit too traditional.
In the past, math class at the Summit schools was always hands-on: the class worked on a problem, usually in small groups, sometimes for days at a time. But getting an entire class of ninth graders to master the fundamentals of math was never easy. Without those, the higher-level conceptual exercises were impossible.So.... let the website do the traditional work of teaching the fundamentals so the teacher can spend more of her time subjecting the kids to group projects?
That is where the machine came in handy. The Khan software offered students a new, engaging way to learn the basics.
ADDED: Pollcode isn't working right now. The options should be:
How do you feel about group projects in school?I'll turn it into a poll if I can get the site to process the code.
1. Loathe them. What this article does is point the way to home-schooling.
2. They're part of a nice mix. It's good to free the teacher to spend more time on what she loves.
3. Love 'em. Let the computer do the technical stuff and bring on the group projects!
IN THE COMMENTS: TMink says:
The Kahn Academy stuff is killer. I use it with my kids and recommend it at work every week. There is nothing about the Kahn approach that necessitates group work in my understanding.
The thing that teachers HATE about the Kahn approach is that it is detail rich and gives tons of info regarding how well each student is doing at the touch of a button. It requires the teachers to teach because it takes away excuses through data.