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The Best Posts About The Khan Academy

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'Sal Khan at Web 2.0 Summit' photo (c) 2011, Kevin Krejci - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The Khan Academy has been receiving an incredible amount of publicity — and hype — over the past year. I think having well-done videos online available for free is a nice thing, but I don’t think it’s a “revolution” in education. Others have written eloquently on this topic, and I thought I’d share a few of the ones I think are the best. Let me know if I’ve missed some.

Here are my choices for The Best Posts About The Khan Academy:

The Wrath Against Khan: Why Some Educators Are Questioning Khan Academy is clearly the best piece I’ve seen written about the Khan Academy. In it, Audrey Watters also links to multiple posts by Sylvia Martinez and Frank Noschese on the issue, too. The comments on all those posts are must-reads, also.

Khan Academy does not constitute an education revolution, but I’ll tell you what it does comes from The Cooperative Catalyst.

The Wonders of Khan: It’s a video library, nothing more. is from the Core Knowledge blog.

You Khan’t Ignore How Students Learn is by Frank Noschese.

Khan Academy Is Not The Progressive Model You Are Looking For is from Tom Barrett.

Sal Khan Never Taught Special Ed (or ELLs) is from Mr. Foteah.

Pro vs. Khan is by Gary Rubinstein.

This Khan Academy History Video Is Just Awful

The “Mathlash” To Silicon Valley’s Move Into Education is from EdSurge.

Justin Reich posted Don’t Use Khan Academy without Watching this First, and it’s a very important post where he shared this video two teachers (and an important commentary about it), Dave Coffey and John Golden, created:

Khan Academy: Rise and Backlash is a Storify from Education Week Teacher.

What if Khan Academy was Made in Japan?: #MTT2K Grand Prize is by Justin Reich, and shows the winning videos in a contest to critique and engage the Khan Academy.

Khan Critiques: We Were Promised Jetpacks & Got Lectures is also by Justin Reich.

Don’t Know Much about History (of Education) is by Audrey Watters.

What Value Khan? is an interesting post, but it’s the comment (which I link to) by Dan Meyer that is particularly interesting.

Khan Academy To Do SAT Prep Not Just For Math, But For Reading & Writing, Too

What A Disappointment — Khan History Videos Continue To Be Awful

What Students Do (And Don’t Do) In Khan Academy is by Dan Meyer.

Feedback is welcome.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

11 Comments

  1. I’ve been playing around with KA. I haven’t shown it to my students, but I’ve been using it as another way to sharpen my tools. I can certainly see the pros and cons of KA. I’ll keep reading up on it.

    • Well, as long as your skills are sharpened, and not your students, that’s the important thing. After all, we have school to employ teachers, not educated kids.

  2. I see http://WWW.TESOLacademic.org as kind of a small-scale KA. I don’t claim it to be a revolution, but it does disseminate knowledge (research) to students, practitioners and researchers in TESOL and Applied Linguistics. Many of the visitors to the site have limited or no access to the journals, books and conferences and the free video clips give them at least some access to “knowledge”. Web casts can and are being saved and used as input to teacher training in many contexts, but I wouldn’t say that flipping is prevalent. Most feedback that I get expresses thanks for content, but many also appreciate seeing a face behind the work and video clips are great for this. The site is funded mainly out of my own pocket, with some limited sponsorship (which doesn’t cover costs) – interestingly when I contact the KA about whether they were interested in supporting the work or linking in some other way I never got a reply!

  3. Whenever I see complaints about KA, it is always, ALWAYS, from a teacher. Teachers don’t see any value in KA. The thing is, KA has over 85M views so it is helping someone. If teachers were actually teaching kids, there would be no need for KA. And with 5M teachers in this country, why is it that a non-teacher came up with a platform or system that students find incredibly helpful? I’m sure teachers don’t like KA because they see it as a threat to their job…which it should be for some teachers. The really great teachers can see the value in KA and use it to leverage a deeper learning experience for their students.

    KA might not be a revolution to education, but it is a big hit with students who are not learning anything in the classroom….3.5M a month.

    And this business about teaching to the test is nonsense. Standardize testing has been around for almost 100 years. I took standardized test when I was in school over 35 years ago…and we didn’t have the drop-out rate we have now nor did we have kids graduate who couldn’t read at the level we have today. When I went to college, there was no such thing as a remedial anything. If you couldn’t read, write, or do math, you couldn’t get into college. But now, apparently, there would be no kids in college if they didn’t offer remedial classes.

    All the trendy educational theories that have been implemented over the last 20-25 years have been a failure. The self-esteem based learning has created a bunch of undereducated kids who think they are great, but know nothing. They have no concept of reality or what it takes to succeed. They think showing up for work every day constitutes “hard work” and they cannot take constructive criticism. Apparently, they never received any from their teachers when they were in school.

    I am an employer who has become interested in education because I can’t find any quality people for my entry level jobs. The math and writing skills young adults have today are horrendous. They have to count on their fingers to add 8+5 or grab a calculator to calculate 12×9. But they think they are great at math because they always got A’s.

    I am willing to train entry level people, but there is a minimum level of knowledge and skills they have to have, such as 8th grade math. You wouldn’t believe how many college graduates lack basic algebra knowledge.

    I am thankful for people like Sal Khan, and apparently so are the 3.5M who use his videos every month. I am thankful that someone is willing to teach basic math skills, even if it doesn’t involve “exploring math”, or whatever is the latest trendy education thing.

  4. KA is a great way to fill in the gaps for a young person who is only provided Every Day Math in schools.

  5. To Tcat: I understand your positive opinion about Khan’s videos, although I don’t agree with you. In our education system, teachers must teacher EVERYONE, including students with minimal English skills and others with learning disabilities. But the greatest challenge to student achievement today is apathy in tandem with lack of motivation.

    When students have the motivation to go to the net and watch Khan’s video lessons, Khan has an engaged audience of students who WANT to learn. Failure is not an option–the students simply turn their computers off if they’re not interested.

    I remember trying to teach my younger sister how to sew when I was a teenager; my mother insisted that I give my sister lessons–even though she had absolutely no desire to learn the skill or follow my mother’s edict. I’m sure you can guess the end result: failure, despite the fact that I am a great seamstress and tried my very best to be patient and make my lessons interesting and motivating. My sister simply did not care. However, now as an adult, if SHE wants to learn, she has only to go to her computer and log into a YouTube video to learn. I have no doubt she would find success if she so chose!

    I am the parent of three very successful adult children. They are all professionals; their friends in school have also enjoyed much success. They are all college educated and reasonably successful–due in large part to their motivation as students.

    Unfortunately, you have formed your opinion about our schools based on the entry level failures who you attempt to employ. If you looked harder (or perhaps paid higher wages) you might be surprised to discover young adults who can perform basic algebra–years after they were taught these fundamentals as freshmen in high school!

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  10. It’s not practically correct to be criticizing an educational software and pedagogy without presenting a more beneficial alternative of your own. Do you not agree?

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