USING THE INTERNET TO HELP CHILDREN IN SCHOOL MAKES SENSE
How many parents have heard of the Khan Academy? When I listened to the interview on NPR, it was a surprise to me. Then I went to the web site and looked at what was there and I was surprised and delighted. Here was essentially all of the history, science, and math for elementary and high school students.
I started to look at a few of the lessons and what struck me immediately was the easy way that Sal Khan had of teaching. He also was good with simple illustrations to make things more clear.
Over the past ten or fifteen years, I have been noticing the growing gap between the computer skills of children entering school on the one hand and of the lack of utilization of these skills by most schools. This is a bold step in the right direction. What this approach does is to give each child access to a good explanation of the material but the speed is controlled by the child and repetition of a point once or twice or ten times is up to the student. As good as any teacher is, they can only move at one speed and that may be too slow for some of the students, just right for some, and too fast for others. This method can accommodate all of the groups of students.
Already, some school districts are working with Khan to tailor the lessons on his YouTube lessons to those that are in sync with what they are teaching. This allows the teacher to introduce the material and give an overview but then to help the students move through the material and master it at their pace. It certainly will not solve all of the problems at school but the computer seems to have a certain inherent magic that will draw some children’s attention much easier than the teacher the teacher can. Add to this the capability of the computer to provide sound and images and color and graphics and….well the variations are considerable.
This may be the technological breakthrough that will help to put students back into their subjects like nothing in recent years. Stay tuned. Better yet, go to the link for the Khan Academy and try it out for yourselves. If you child’s school or teachers are not familiar with this, please tell them. This may be the first step into the schools of the future.
Look at these links before you talk about this:
What this concept is all about:
The Khan Academy Web Page:
How to get started using the Khan Academy site: