
Khan Academy: Math instruction goes viral
Posted:
Aug 20, 2011 8:57 PM


What Salman Khan posts on YouTube exemplifies the type of direct instruction that teachers used to do on the blackboard, and it flies in the face of the pseudoeducational rubbish that pseudoeducators have been promoting for decades. For more than 20 years, one of the pet slogans of pseudoeducators has been: "A teacher should be a guide at your side, not a sage on the stage." ===========
http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/editorials/articles/2011/08/12/math_instruction_goes_viral/
Khan Academy  Globe Editorial Math instruction goes viral August 12, 2011
SUDDENLY, MATH instruction has gone viral. Principals, teachers, and parents have fretted for years about students' performance in math; the United States ranks 26th in the world on one measure of mastery of the subject, despite spending the most on public education. But an Internet phenomenon that started in Boston could radically change how the subject is taught, and educators should be open to using it.
This The unlikely revolutionary is Salman Khan, a 30something MIT and Harvard graduate with a onceunexplored gift for teaching. In 2004, he was living in Boston and working as an analyst at a hedge fund when his 13yearold cousin Nadia in New Orleans asked him for help with her math homework. After doing some lessons over the telephone, he posted homework exercises for her on YouTube. Khan's videos took on a life of their own.
Today, he leads a nonprofit Webbased "school" called Khan Academy, whose free instructional videos are viewed by 14 million people annually and have been translated into seven languages. So far, he's made 2,400 videos  on specific concepts at many levels of mathematics, from arithmetic to calculus and beyond. The results can be striking; one recent news report featured a 10yearold boy who's learning about inverse trigonometric functions just for fun.
The videos themselves seem lowtech. Khan records them in a closet off his bedroom in Mountain View, Calif. But he's stumbled across a way of allowing students to learn various math principles at their own pace, while watching videos at home, or wherever else they happen to be. Students then come to school for individualized coaching by teachers and peers. An onscreen dashboard allows teachers, at a glance, to see which students need help and which are ready to move on.
This approach is turning up in public schools in Los Altos, Calif., where the school district threw out its old math curriculum in two fifthgrade and two seventhgrade classes. Google recently invested $2 million in the Khan Academy. Bill Gates, who does Khan Academy math homework with his own two children, also invested $1.5 million in what is clearly an extraordinary social enterprise. Educators in Massachusetts, where Khan's method started, would be wise to go online and take a look.

