Sunday, June 12, 2011

Dis'en the Khan Academy

If you're following some of the online discussion about the Khan Academy you might feel there's a battle going on about it's effectiveness. Some strong words are being said about how great it is and how horrible it is. Since I used it almost exclusively during my last trimester and plan to use it for a good portion of my classes next year, I worry that maybe I'm moving in the wrong direction.

I follow several blogs that have mentioned KA recently. Dan Myers' blog is one. I'm going to summarize what I think he was saying in his post and about the comments made about the post. My apologies if I didn't get this right.

Dan and others feel that KA is just the same old, same old delivered in a different way. That the videos still just cover the material the same way texts or teachers might in the classroom. That the deeper questions that need to be used to "really" understand math are not there. I agree, they are not.

But I do like the fact that I can have my students watch the KA videos and ones that I make myself, outside the classroom and that I can use my classroom time with the students to help them work on the concepts. For this, the KA works great and I can tell you that my students are a lot more enthusiastic and energized during class then they were when I was lecturing during class.

I think it would be great if I could take the time to delve deeply into a math concept and really get my students thinking and questioning what was being discussed. Unfortunately, in my "real world," I cannot do this because, whether I like it or not (and I don't), I am judged, my school is judged and my students are judged on how well they do on the state tests.

Math instruction and instruction in general needs to be totally overhauled. I think many of us agree with this. But until this happens we are still limited by having to prepare our students for the standardized tests. Until, they change the test or how they evaluate, I need to spend a significant amount of time during the school year teaching to the test.

Next year I hope to still use KA, but add some project-based learning for part of the week's work. I hope I can find a balance.

Note: I'm new to blogging so be nice. Your comments are welcome, but please be constructive. Thanks

1 comment:

  1. Your blog is interesting, please continue, and don't be afraid of what people think. It's people like you who are driving the education revolution.