What claim are you disputing?

Most folks who read this blog probably are aware of the story of  Salman Kahn  and the Kahn Academy. The TED talk version of the story with my embellishments follows – so Kahn, a hedge fund manager, begins creating short YouTube videos to tutor his nephews who are struggling with math. Others stumble across this content, find it quite helpful, and encourage Kahn. The viral avalanche continues, money people such as Bill Gates notice and contribute, and Salman ends up with an online success.

Some object. Just what is the focus of the concerns. Salman did not begin to subvert teachers or their role. He began because kids were not getting it based on their classroom experiences. To my knowledge, no claims were made about the teachers. Kahn is obviously very bright and entertaining. I think the style ends up being repetitive, but I also understand the research on worked examples and would suggest that at least the math content fits within this approach.

Kahn does have a more complex model than I think most realize – take a look at the site and you will find the videos (now in many content areas), problems to work, and opportunities to volunteer to be a coach. So, if you are critical based on some notion that this is about replacing humans with video, click the volunteer button and be a human.

The Kahn video content has become somehow mixed together with the “flip the classroom” movement. Students could prepare from watching video and then come to class prepared to discuss, request help, etc. I suppose video could be used in this fashion.

Perhaps the point is that these are just resources and tools. There is the opportunity for flexibility here. You are not paying for an approach that locks you into a given strategy. Wait – come to think, you are not paying at all. No one is after your job. You are in control. Make your own video content students can use when they are at home attempting to complete the problems you assigned. Too much work?

There is this online site that offers video content some students find helpful (but this is where I began)

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