posted: 03/21 at 09:00 PM
For anyone who has ever stood in front of a classroom full of kids…
As the teacher, it is surprisingly hard to figure what gets through and what doesn’t. What a teacher says usually (hopefully) makes sense to the teacher, but this does not in any way guarantee that the students are getting the same message. Teaching is very much about empathy, but the best teacher in the world cannot understand what each individual in the classroom is experiencing, nor can she teach directly to each student. And the best teacher in the world also cannot completely eliminate those momentary lapses of attention that may occur at very key moments in the learning of a complex idea or skill. Even students who do well have lapses that sometimes means trying to build upon a shaky foundation of knowledge.
What’s surprising about the Khan Academy is not the idea of making videos of good things to learn. The surprising thing is how this individually-focused learning method actually seems to work in a classroom setting. It uses technology in a way that fills gaps, monitors progress and augments understanding in a way that wouldn’t have been possible years ago. Kids are individuals. And they must be treated like individuals at some level. The Khan Academy seems to understand this.
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