Monday, September 3, 2012

Khan Academy post briefing

My account - quite a mixture for the
suggestions. How is this generated?
From the Los Altos School District, a discussion of how Khan Academy worked and didn't work, it's strengths and weaknesses and the insistence of the media in misinterpreting the information.
Unfortunately, the idea of flipping the classroom that Sal mentioned in his TED Talk resonated with many members of the media, and we were unsuccessful in helping some of them divorce this idea from what they saw in Los Altos.  As a result, our educational philosophy, teaching practices, and Khan Academy implementation have been misrepresented, in varying degrees, by a few major media outlets.
What is it good for?
Teachers in our district have determined that the greatest value of the Khan Academy lies, not in the videos, but in the exercise modules and data generated as students work practice problems.
I would have to agree but with reservations.  I signed up for an account and was thrown into a morass of possibilities that didn't seem to have any rhyme or reason and certainly didn't seem to be scaffolded in any meaningful way.  Where do I start? My suggestions list included a riff on tau vs pi that seemed to be based on Vi Hart's much more succinct video. If I'm truly just starting geometry and I have the Angles 1 thing done, is this a great thing to listen to next?

Why can't I indicate my current course somewhere and leap right to it, landing in a sequential list of things presented in an organized fashion? Do I have to begin with telling time just to check those off my bucket list? Can my teacher (excuse me, my COACH) direct me to a specific topic? Haven't seen a way yet.  I guess you're on your own ... homeschooler or unschooler, but not following anyone's lead.

And then there's the actual work: video, then practice. The video is very rambling ... I guess it's okay but then you're dropped into practice that ranges from tough to simplistic without a noticeable scheme. Take, for example, Order of operations ... a fairly straightforward kind of thing. You expect to be given examples that test the use of the rule and that progress from simple to complicated.  Instead, the ten expressions ranged all over the place. Early on, I got a complex, 4-step, thing that wound up to be -394 but that was followed by a much simpler one. I recorded a couple in the middle of the pack.  In order,

And no exponents. Weird.

I intend to have students do some out-of-class review in a structured way and we'll see.  Not afraid for my job, though.

1 comment:

  1. Hey!
    I've been reading your blog ever since I started being a teacher (this is my third year now). Our school district just moved to xyAlgebra

    And I was able to help setup our curriculum around that.
    I thought you would appreciate it, because it handles some of the problems you had with Kahn, and it's worked well on the kids so far.

    I love reading your work,