Thursday, March 1, 2012

What silicon valley executives keep getting wrong about education

This is a great article from Dr. Keith Devlin which starts with Sun Microsystems' co-founder Vinod Khosla's reading of what is wrong with education:
' "Education 2.0 [...] we have not experimented enough with [...] out-of-the-box approaches but have instead tried to force-fit [...] traditional (often broken) ideas into the 'computerized' model."
Devlin's critique bring in Sal Khan and the flipped classroom and makes some good, balanced points about it:
"Which might sound fine if this statement were not preceded by his explicit mention of Khan Academy as one of the new experiments. For KA is precisely a traditional approach transported onto the Web, namely one-to-one instruction, sitting side-by-side with the teacher. Is KA valuable? Sure it is? But "all" Sal Khan has done is take the traditional textbook instruction and put it up on YouTube."
Devlin's great point about the Khan Academy (which a lot of people miss) is..
"what resources like Khan Academy provide is instruction, not teaching/learning. Anyone who has been lucky enough to experience good teaching will know the difference"
He goes on to say:
"Khan is a good instructor -- he explains well in a highly non-threatening, "I am your friend" way. That's not an easy thing to achieve when the entire information channel consists of his voice and a screen-trace of what his hand writes on a tablet screen." 
"Watching videos of people playing golf will surely help you learn to play, but you won't get very far without going out on the fairway, frequently, and doing so with a good coach who can watch what you do and correct your inevitable errors. Not once but many times, over a long haul." 

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