Whether you love or hate them, the sheer volume of their repository and the fact that some videos are useful has them in the limelight -- Bill Gates, their primary benefactor, also pushes them there, even though many of their videos have come under fire. This is an app to test and note.
"Non-profit Khan Academy, an organization dedicated to “providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere,” does so primarily through online video courses and lectures. The over 3600 videos are free and access is open to anyone (anywhere), allowing K-12 students to study math, science, computer science, finance & economics, humanities, and test prep. The organization was founded in 2006 by MIT and Harvard grad Salman Khan, who began by tutoring relatives and friends in Bangladesh while he worked as a hedge fund analyst in the States. His videos became so in-demand that he decided to quit his job and distribute them full-time, funded by donations from individuals and major donors like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation."
A parody critiquing Khan Academy is making the rounds and more of them are sure to come in since "Mr. Meyer, along with Justin Reich, a blogger for EdWeek, is sponsoring a competition offering $750 in prizes to the best user-submitted videos critiquing Khan Academy lessons."
Khan is a start and has a very powerful supporter in the Gates Foundation, but after talking to those using the site for math instruction, I understand that the gamification elements behind working the math problems are what many teachers like. Some students use the videos to find answers and instruction when their teachers don't explain things well. However, I do agree that many of the videos could be improved. Of course, we need better videos to have an alternative because critiques right now are like chosing a set of store bought chocolate chip cookies or nothing. We need more elegant, informative videos for sure, but where to put them and how? Many open education services are providing the videos, but much of Khan's benefits are the searchability and the sheer volume of videos. What do you think?
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