Salman Khan: Let’s use video to reinvent education

15 Aug

What a great speaker! As I watched Salman discuss the Khan Academy and the concept of the flipped classroom I began to think about my own learning – which shares many similarities with Khan’s proposed flipped classroom. But first let me tell you a little bit about the Academy.

So what is Khan Academy all about? In a nutshell, Salman Khan came from humble beginnings. His attempt to tutor his cousins via you tube clips resonated with many struggling students from around the globe who connected with his style of tutoring. They found that the self paced style and interactive nature of Khan’s videos allowed them to grasp concepts that were beyond their reach in the classroom.

What has stemmed from this is the Khan Academy, a not for profit organisation that now provides free online tutorials for any student, teacher or parent around the globe.

The stand out feature of this tool for me was the ability to track the child’s progress. The system collects data on every student, providing valuable information which allows teachers and parents to see exactly where the child has become stuck or has struggled with a problem. This allows for immediate and targeted intervention to ensure that no child slips through the cracks – so to speak.

The concept of the flipped classroom came about when it was realised that the tutorials could be used to change the way we teach. In a traditional classroom the teacher does the lecture and the students do some activities for homework. A flipped classroom works in reverse. The student would watch the lectures at home online for homework and do the activities the next day at school. The idea is that this would free the teacher up to spend more time interacting with students and assisting them with difficulties as they arise.

This sounds very similar to what I am doing now! During the past 3 weeks I have watched clips, clicked on links, and read, and read, and read as I have worked through the sequence of learning modules. My learning has been self paced, interactive and I have been able to log onto the online classroom each week to collaborate with my lecturer and peers to work through any problems I am having with the course.

It’s no wonder I am a big fan of this type of learning!

It is not without it’s pitfalls though and not everyone is a fan of the Khan academy.

In his post Socol puts forward a very strong argument against the idea of the flipped classroom on the grounds of inequality. He believes that any idea of schooling that is highly dependant on ‘homework’ will only divide the gap between rich and poor. This a valid concern, as not all students may have access to technology at home nor the motivation to do so.

Perhaps more thought needs to go into HOW this resource can be utilised to ensure all students benefit from the transparency it provides teachers into student learning.

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One Response to “Salman Khan: Let’s use video to reinvent education”


  1. Should we give ‘Flipping the classroom’ a flip? No, we could slip it in sometimes. | nikhunter75 - August 18, 2013

    […] written about this topic – it seems it’s a HOT one! You can read Tracey’s view here. You can read Kate Dugdale view here. You can read ECSalter here. (I told you it was a hot […]

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