Last year, the founder of Khan Academy, Salman Khan, won a $2-million award for his work in providing schooling to the masses. In order to help a relative across the country who needed some tutoring with school, he created a series of videos posted on YouTube – while he was working at a hedge fund. Since then, his more than 1,200 clips have attracted over 53 million views. Last September, Google awarded him a prize for changing how schooling can occur.
But more important than simply providing a place for students to get extra help, these sorts of initiatives point to a fascinating set of possibilities. People like my school’s Director of IT, Charles Fowler, points out that we might be able to use techniques like this to shift our classroom practices. If students came to school having seen simple-but-powerful clips like these, what might be possible in the classroom? What other interesting things might we do in class, things to extend and deepen our understanding, if the comprehension bit is already taken care of at home? Imagine: get the basics at home, do something interesting with it at school.
Here’s a great clip from PBS on Khan: