Ever since I heard about Sal Khan I’ve been wanting to write about him and his organisation, The Khan Academy. Until recently he was a Hedge Fund Trader, and packed that in to run a non-profit organisation using YouTube to educate the world – FOR FREE.
The Khan Academy is an organization on a mission. We’re a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education to anyone anywhere.
All of the site’s resources are available to anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, or a friendly alien just trying to get a leg up in earthly biology. The Khan Academy’s materials and resources are available to you completely free of charge.
His story can be heard in the TED talk he did recently…
He’s doing such an amazing thing that he’s funded by the Google Foundation and the Bill & Malinda Gates Foundation. While the cynic in you might write this off as another lame attempt to change something as unchangeable as Education, keep in mind that he’s delivered over 42 000 000 lessons via YouTube. And it’s more than just video’s on YouTube. They’ve developed an entire online support system for learners to take practical lessons, and for educators to track the progress of learners.
I think the biggest shift in thinking I see him making, is transforming educators into facilitators. Educators can now assign learners the videos to watch, at their own time. They can re-wind, fast-forward, and repeat the lessons as often as they want. The classroom can now be free of teaching and full of conversation and interaction. Because educators can track the progress of their learners, they now know what revision and interaction they need to have with which learners?
As Sal points out in the TED video, we’ve been so consumed with the ratio of learner to educator, and perhaps we can now move to the ratio of quality time the educator spends with each learner? A far better ratio in my understanding of education of children.
I’m writing this post 3 days before it’s posted. I’m speaking at an Educator Conference in Grahamstown this afternoon on social media and education. I’m going to use the Khan Academy as a case study, and look forward to hearing the thoughts of a room full of educators?