Khan Academy Vision Overview of what we hope Khan Academy can help catalyze.
Khan Academy Vision
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- What Khan Academy is today
- could be best described as a tool or a resource.
- Right now, if you go to the site,
- we have videos, we have interactive exercises,
- [and] we have dashboard for teachers.
- So, depending, it could be used [by] a teacher to help their students,
- [or] it could be used by a homeschooler who wants to learn something independently,
- [or] it could be used by an adult who wants to review things that might be relevant
- to whatever they're exploring at the moment.
- But one thing I'd like to be clear [about] is that we don't view this as the end all
- of what we think -- one -- this could be,
- [or] even how students should experience learning.
- We think that this is really just 'Version 1' --
- (And it's a very primitive version right now.)
- -- of a tool that will eventually empower a true, interactive vision of education.
- And he other thing I want make very clear is [that]
- we don't see it as an either-or proposition.
- We don't see it as a virtual versus physical --
- an Amazon.com versus Barnes & Noble.
- We see it as a virtual AND physical [proposition].
- Or even better, "How do we use the tools and resources of the virtual [learning environment] --"
- "How do we use those to actually empower the physical [learning environment] -- ?"
- " -- to make the physical, [the classroom], the best possible experience?"
- And in this vision of what the total education experience can be,
- we have a couple of core philosophies.
- The first is the idea of "mastery learning."
- (And I'll write it in quotes, because "mastery" can mean different things to different people.)
- To us, this is the general idea that students should have deep conceptual understanding of core ideas --
- of more fundamental ideas -- before they are pushed ahead to the more derivative ideas --
- or the more advanced ideas.
- And so, if you think of a traditional progression in mathematics--
- (Although we think that this applies beyond just mathematics.)
- [in a] traditional progression in mathematics, you start off with arithmetic, and then you go to algebra,
- and then you go through trigonometry and geometry, and all the rest.
- But you eventually end up in calculus.
- What we believe is happening, for too many students --
- (And this is why so many students end up having trouble with algebra --
- and definitely calculus.)
- -- is they [are] not getting mastery of the more fundamental ideas.
- We believe [that] if students have the time to really build a strong foundation in arithmetic --
- including exponents and whatever else --
- then by the time algebra comes around, they will have a better intuition there --
- they [will] have a better chance of understanding it.
- And if students have a conceptual, deep understanding of algebra,
- then calculus is going to make a lot more sense.
- If you do it the other way around, if you just push students through,
- so that they get through with [an] 80% or 90% understanding,
- then what they essentially end up doing, just to survive,
- they start [with] a superficial level of understanding.
- They start kind of pattern matching their way through algebra or calculus.
- And not only does that harm you later on, as you keep building on it,
- it also make it almost impossible to use these things in your everyday life.
- In our minds, it's much more valuable to have a deep understanding of algebra,
- and [to be] able to see the world in algebraic way,
- then [to just get] through algebra and [to just] kind of understand calculus,
- [without] being able to apply or really fundamentally understand [either].
- The other idea, (And this kind of gels with mastery-based learning.
- You can't [really] have mastery-based learning -- at least in our minds --
- without a kind of self-paced reality.)
- Because if we really want students to master things,
- we really have to give them the time and space to master those concepts.
- If everyone else has mastered it, [and is] ready to move on,
- there is no reason why we have to move [those who HAVEN'T yet mastered it] on.
- We should let them work at their own pace.
- The other big thing about self-paced learning
- is that it creates student ownership.
- And this is a huge, huge, huge thing.
- This is a huge, huge, huge thing.
- Probably the most important thing that you can learn,
- while you are learning in school,
- isn’t necessarily any one of these subject areas—
- figuring out how to solve a system of equations or take an integral.
- The most important thing to learn is how to learn.
- “How do you take ownership of something?
- How do you, to some degree -- How do you become your own guide?
- How do you set your own goals?"
- And this can only happen in a self-paced environment,
- where, with mentorship, with people who can guide you,
- you can say, "Look, this is what I want to learn;
- this is how I want to go about learning it;
- and this is what I'm going to do to get there.
- And my goal is mastery. My goal isn’t just to get by."
- The other thing we believe strongly in,
- [and] we’re starting some—
- We’ve been working with many, many schools –
- (We’ve been working with many schools across all of this,
- including just how we define our tools and our resources.0
- -- is the idea of students teaching students—
- or we could call it, maybe, "peer-to-peer" teaching and learning.
- There’s an obvious benefit there.
- If you have other students around,
- maybe some who have gotten a little bit further ahead,
- who can tutor yoU,
- you have more access to people who might be able to help you.
- But we think it’s at least as powerful for the student [doing the tutoring]
- as it is for the student [getting tutored].
- Because it’s one thing to do a lot of problem sets,
- and to go through subjects in the traditional way.
- But to truly get mastery of something—
- and I think most teachers would agree with this --
- You really have to teach it.
- You really have to be able to distill it, and explain it,
- and help mentor other people [in] it.
- And on top of that you’ll build other soft skills
- which are at least as important --
- like ownership --
- as these other kinds of tangible skills:
- the [skill] of empathy,
- the [skill] of being able to listen to someone,
- The [skill] of being able to guide someone
- without making them feel intimidated or insecure.
- And then finally, the fourth guiding principle for us
- is the idea that students—
- and this is very core to the physical experience—
- that when students are together, they should be interacting—
- so it should be interactive—
- And when we talk about "interactive,"
- we’re not talking about "computer" interactive.
- We're talking about [physically] interactive.
- They should interact with other human beings.
- They should talk to them.
- They should smile.
- They should see them.
- And it should be "inquiry" based—or "exploration" based.
- (WRITING: Inquiry. Exploration.)
- And this is super key to everything we believe.
- (And this is why we are actively experimenting with summer camps
- that are driven all around this part of the experience.)
- Because we believe that in order for a student
- to truly internalize all of these things—
- (And it all goes together—especially—with the idea of mastery.)
- —they need to struggle with the ideas.
- They need to experience them tangibly.
- For example, we have students
- [who] do things that [implicitly teach] probability.
- [But] they don’t know [that].
- They think that they are just doing a simulation.
- They think that they’re playing some type of game.
- But by doing those simulations in those games,
- later on, when they are exposed
- to the more formal academic ideas around probability or expected value,
- they now have a tangible understanding [of] them—
- they now have an intuitive understanding [of] them.
- And they also see the value in the more formal representation of [them].
- So, hopefully, this gives a big picture of what we are about.
- We are a tool and a resource today.
- But the whole goal is to—
- And we want people to use it in any way they see fit.
- It can be part of a formal program.
- It can be a supplement.
- It can be used as a review, somehow.
- But our real goal is, “How can we optimize this tool?
- How can we improve this tool, so that we can really
- drive these values to make a truly holistic educational experience?”
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