Can virtual classrooms change the way we learn?
Can virtual classrooms change the way we learn?Online coursework brings lessons to anyone with a computer, but does it forget the importance of trained educators?
Salman Khan, a former hedge fund analyst, started the non-profit Khan Academy in 2006 as a way to bring free, online education to students and educators all over the world. He got the idea after using his webcam and basic software to tutor his younger cousin in maths.
Since then, Khan Academy’s 2,700 educational videos have received more than 98 million total views via YouTube. Khan has made most of the brief videos himself, though the organisation recently partnered with other educators to broaden coursework beyond maths and science. Lessons have also been translated into a number of languages including Spanish, Chinese and Urdu.
Through Khan’s website, students watch the lecture videos, complete practice exercises and earn “badges” for mastering the lessons. The benefit is that students are able to set their own pace for learning online.
The project has earned praise from students and educators, and some schools are using Khan’s material as part of a “flipped classroom” model, where students watch the video lectures at home, and then complete the homework at school with teachers who can then pinpoint where extra help is needed.
Despite the programme’s success in receiving multimillion-dollar funding from Bill Gates and Google, some educators are critical of the video learning format. Sceptics say remote learning does not let students interact with educators, and the learning style emphasises repetitive drilling.
In this episode of The Stream, Salman Khan discusses Khan Academy, education reform, and how videos can change the future of education.
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