Over the years, a distressing scene has been replayed in homes across the land far too many times... A panic-stricken child finally realises that parents aren't - after all - capable of helping out when really needed. While said parents, irritable and helpless when confronted with modern Maths/Chemistry/typically hard subject, find they aren't remotely equipped to assist with homework. Tempers fray under the pressure and the generation gap yawns into an unbridgeable chasm. However this scene can be consigned to history, thanks to Salman Khan and his Khan Academy.
I first heard about the Khan Academy from the talented science fiction writer Tricia Sullivan at Eastercon, where she enthused about teaching herself Maths up to calculus level, thanks to the online lessons now available to anyone with a computer and internet connection. Immediately, I checked it out and was extremely impressed at the extensive series of colourful, unthreatening lessons and the self-testing tasks to ensure you have fully grasped the concept before you move on.
So it was a real treat when my mother sent me this book thank you, Mum!). Khan had lots of fascinating things to say about the current, unsatisfactory manner in which we teach children. As an ex-primary school teacher, I found myself muttering in agreement at his observations at the broken-backed system that - as far as I can see - is in place as a cheap way of keeping children off the streets rather than equipping them with relevant knowledge fit for the 21st century. Khan suggests that instead of having a teacher deliver a lesson to a group of children in a totally arbitrary manner, they learn individually at their own pace using modern technology with the teacher acting as enabler. He also suggests that a far more creative, wide-ranging curriculum should be in place, where children undertake complex self-directed tasks in groups. A revolutionary approach to state-funded education? Absolutely. But our current system produces far too many children unable to master the basics, who, frustrated and angry, become an unemployable underclass. Government's constant tinkering only further undermines discouraged teachers and destabilises an already creaking system.
Read Salman Khan's solutions to our educational problems - and then could someone point the Minister of Education in the direction of this book? Please?? We cannot go on squandering our most precious resource - our children.
This first half of the book seems aimed at people who has just come across Sal Khan and the ideas he communicates. The second half is where the book really kicks off - Khan academy's history, and Sal's future plans are discussed. A good read, although the first half could be condensed slightly.
I met Sal Khan at a recent lecture at the LSE and was really inspired by his story and that of the Khan Academy's. His ideas about how education should be administered (including flipping teaching time into tutoring time and using 3-4 teachers in class sizes of up to 300 people) is nothing short of revolutionary.
His mission to change education and enable access to high quality teaching via his videos is extremely noble given that he could have stayed in the hedge fund industry and made millions! His ability to attract great talent (his best friend Shantanu (ex-McKinsey and a MIT multiple degree holder) is a game changer.
Every teacher in the world should read this book and think about how they can change the lives of their students - using technology effectively
He is writing from a position where he is already well into his task of changing education through Khan Academy. This is simply an expansion and extrapolation of that. I would love my 5 year old to go to a school based on Sal's ideas.
This is a brilliant book. Salman Khan is creative and wants to create a revolution in education. This book is about how not to make education dry and impractical but creative, less rote learning, the piecemea aapproach to education ie. Genetics is taught in biology while probability is taught is taught in maths, even though one is really an application of the other. Chemistry is partitioned off from physics even though they study many of the same phenomena at different levels.
Anyone who had experienced difficulty with Mathematics should read this book. I just hope that the Education Movers and shakers do not jump into this scheme without careful consideration. All the video lessons are free and parents can encourage their children to follow the scheme at the child's own pace.
Sal Khan is a major trendsetter and innovator in modern education, and in this book he presents a thorough and clear formulated manifest for the breakthrough in educational thinking on which Khan Academy is an important and impressive and illustrious example