Kudos to Khan

Posted by Dan Keeney

Salmon Khan photo by Robyn Twomey

Last night after watching the final Oprah show (at least until the end of her non-compete with her syndicator, which ends in 2012), I read a terrific profile in BusinessWeek about Salmon Khan, “Salman Khan: The Messiah of Math,” which seemed to me to be the perfect subject for Oprah. It is a great story about a revolution that is underway in how to teach in the 21st Century — and how to utilize some of the capabilities of technology in the classroom.

I won’t get into all the specifics — I encourage you to read the article — but basically Khan accidentally created a nonprofit that makes short 10-minute lessons available for free online. After a few years of working on it, there are 2,500 or so lessons that have been viewed a combined 52 million times. Some forward-thinking schools are now integrating the lessons into their classes and are seeing amazing results. One school told BusinessWeek that test scores increased an average of 70 percent.

But what I like the most was the description of one teacher who had “flipped the classroom.” Instead of sending the kids home to do the work and coming to school for the lecture, they are having the students consume the lecture at home and then come into class to do the work. What a concept! It gives the teacher the ability to participate and intervene as the students work on solutions. It is so much more aligned with how the world really works!

In the video below, Khan goes into more detail about flipping the classroom. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have the U.S. classroom better reflect how the work world and the world in general really operate. I am very concerned that our schools are not preparing students for the type of environment they will have to navigate when they graduate.

We don’t passively listen as someone commands. That is a 1950s mentality. We participate. We work in teams — usually dispersed geographically. We share and collaborate. The nature of the work is no longer hierarchical as it was less than a decade ago — ideas come from everywhere. Our schools must reflect these changes.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, May 26th, 2011 at 12:51 pm and is filed under Future of PR, Random. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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