Perhaps Salman Khan’s success with Khan Academy is due to his soothing voice, and I speak from experience. Recently, I have taken several math exams for state certification, and stumbled upon Khan Academy videos on Youtube. I was unaware of the larger network of tutorials in existence, but I was hooked from the first video. I was trying to learn summations, and combing through Youtube for help. The lesson immediately made sense, and seemed so simple. I was impressed from the start, and I was not the only one. Scrolling through Khan Academy comments on Youtube is full of others who praise the methods of the Khan…even so much to replace school!
With millions of views and thousands of comments, these videos are making a difference. A big difference, and as a teacher it’s wonderful to know that students are getting the help they need. The biggest question this new wave of learning poses is, what then is the roll of the teacher? I think the first part to this is that Khan is not arguing that this his videos should replace teachers, but what I think he is saying is that his videos and lectures can replace teacher’s lectures and class time. If we consider his flipped model, I think we can see where the change can happen.
As teachers, if we flip our classrooms, we could possibly do more work in class. Students would not have to sit through our lectures, which, let’s face it, might not be as awesome as Khan Academy’s, and instead, we could get to work. I am curious to think about what this methodology would mean for primary grades: could 2nd graders digest lectures online? Or should we simply just shift our homework and classwork routines to make a difference?