TED Talks has a special next week on PBS called Education Revolution that is featuring Sal Khan and others.
Here is how they are describing it:
TED Talks: Education Revolution, hosted by author, producer and comedian Baratunde Thurston and actor and singer Sara Ramirez, focuses on how education is changing to adapt to our new digital world. The program features talks from educator Sal Khan, who examines what the classroom might look like in the future and the impact of online teaching, Victor Rios, who takes a deep dive into the problems of the school-to-prison pipeline, and Principal Nadia Lopez, whose middle school is in the most dangerous borough in New York and where almost all her students live below the poverty line. TED Talks: Education Revolution also addresses the issue of over-parenting with some revolutionary ideas from Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult, who believes chores and love are more important than a check-listed childhood. The program also features music from Meshell Ndegeocello and a performance piece from the legendary Anna Deavere Smith from her one-woman show, Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education.
I’ll never understand why Khan and other tech advocates always have to hype their tech as the thing that is going transform education – can’t they be satisfied in producing a product that may just make it a little better for a lot of students?
Facebook has worked with a charter operator, Summit Public Schools, to develop what looks like a very extensive “personalized learning” platform. The charter network piloted it last year and they have now – like, I mean, literally “now” – made it available free to any teacher who wants to use it. The article says it had a “steep learning curve,” but one would hope they’ve made adjustments since that time.
In order to register, you have to have a Google Apps for Education account. When you register, you need to be able to upload proof that you’re a teacher, like a pay stub or a letter on school letterhead. They seem to be pretty picky about it — I had to upload an image of my pay stub three times before they accepted it. It was initially rejected because either the date or the entire image wasn’t big or clear enough. They do get back to you within minutes of your upload.
The curriculum itself looks quite ambitious. And the instructions appear fairly clear on how to set-up classes. If you’ve got a one-on-one device program, it would seem to me that fully exploring this new tool could really be worth your time. For those of us without that kind of access to technology, however, I suspect we’ll generally pass – and it’s clearly not directed towards us, anyway.
This new platform will certainly be the talk of ed tech folks for awhile. Perhaps I’m completely out of the loop, but I don’t think a lot of people saw this new tool coming…
Access is way up through mobile devices, but there hasn’t been a change in access to broadband over the past five years:
I’ve certainly seen this in my classroom, and it presents a big challenge to students. There’s a whole lot you can do on a computer that you can’t do easily on a iphone, including writing an essay. Not to mention recent research showing that lack of experience with laptops and computers impacts student performance on state assessments (see Study: Do Tests On Computers Assess Academic or Technological Abilities?).