Digital media is having a big impact on classrooms for students of all ages, and no name is more recognizable in the field than Salman Khan, the founder of the popular video tutorial site Khan Academy.
Khan often hits a nerve among teachers, who are quick to point out that his videos are no replacement for good teaching. In a blog post for Slate yesterday, I look at a constructive moment between two frustrated teachers and Salman Khan, who is a big-name innovator but has little classroom experience:
In their low-tech, Mystery Science Theater 3000-style video, [math teachers John Golden and Dave Coffey] spend roughly 11 minutes commenting on a Khan Academy video about multiplying and dividing positive and negative integers. It’s not smash entertainment, but the teachers solidly critique small missteps that Khan makes during his tutorial: putting a positive (“+”) sign in front of some positive numbers but not others, for example, or not citing his sources.
The video filtered up through the ranks of ed bloggers to Justin Reich’s blogin the trade publication Ed Week, and within five days of going up on YouTube reached Salman Khan. To his credit, Khan took down his original video and released two new, better lectures in its place within two days. He also sent a comment to Reich saying that he appreciates the feedback.
This anecdote struck me for two reasons. First, it highlights what to me is an undeniable strength of digital media: it can adapt and respond to users very quickly.
Second, everybody won in this exchange. What if moments like this happened more often? What if teachers regularly turned their frustration with educational materials into this sort of open peer review, and if developers truly saw teachers as partners when making content? Would children’s media have progressed faster, or into better learning products?
Read the full post here.