15 September 2010

Another Nail In The Coffin . . .


Of statist academia's control of education - The Khan Academy. Most readers here know of my passion for homeschooling. I post on the subject often and how homeschoolers, along with racing technological advances, are revolutionizing educational models. The "classroom" model - as most of us know it - is a dinosaur: slow, expensive, cumbersome, inefficient, resource wasting, and bloated with bureaucrats. It is dying a slow, painful, but needful death. There is a paradigm shift occurring and most academics are either woefully ignorant or fearful. It is being embraced by more and more people and will eventually dominate the landscape. There is just so much to say about this subject as it relates to everything from teaching, public policy - even to history blogs. It is truly revolutionary - in a good way. The Khan Academy is an absolutely amazing advance and a textbook (no pun intended) of how and why freedom, liberty, the free market, choice, and creativity work and why academia's stifling control over the process will cause it to collapse from its own weight. More to come soon. An excellent resource for homeschoolers:

11 comments:

13thBama said...

Awesome resource! I immediately showed this to my daughter so that she could shore up some of the things she is learning in public school.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

The breadth and depth of what they offer is amazing.

David Rhoads said...

I don't know. I checked out a couple of the history videos and they seem both slowly paced and superficial at the same time. Sixteen minutes on Napoleon's invasion of Russia, punctuated by interminable and pointless writing on a virtual chalkboard, don't add up to a "world-class" education to me. I suppose the history videos are aimed at elementary or middle school students, in which case they might be okay, but I'm guessing most kids that age will find them boring. Not only that, what I saw amounts to little more than transposition of the "classroom" model to video minus the benefit of immediate interaction with the teacher that the real thing provides, dinosaur though it may be.

No doubt I'm a Luddite, but I still think that reading one well-chosen book--Chandler's The Campaigns of Napoleon, for example, if one is interested in that topic--will serve a student better than watching almost anything offered up on video. The Google books initiative, therefore, strikes me as a far more revolutionary undertaking than does the Khan Academy.

But maybe the math videos are better...

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

David - it's not perfect and its not for everyone, but certainly another tool. My point is that advancements are making the traditional structured classroom obsolete.

Lawrence Underwood said...

Books over film anytime. The work of reading develops much more than just a knowledge base. It develops the ability to think critically, orthography, rhetorical skills, and more; that is if what is read is written well. Reading is intrinsically active. Watching is intrinsically passive.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Lawrence - no argument. The technology aspect of this isn't meant to replace a book w/a video, it's logical application could, however, replace the structured classroom. Why spend millions of dollars on buildings, school buses, etc, etc, when a student can get the same information digitally at a fraction of the cost?

13thBama said...

I like it in that a student can review a lesson over and over again if need be. If teachers would record lessons, anyone out sick could easily catch up before they came back to school.

My daughter cannot concentrate when there is a lot of noise in the room. This would alleviate that problem. Bored kids, who act up, would not prevent others from learning.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

13B - exactly. Very efficient. Video conferencing is being used by businesses, courts - all kinds of organizations. There's no logical reason it should not be widely implemented for education, except the fact the teacher's unions will resist it.

Lawrence Underwood said...

I here what you are saying, Richard. And, I agree. I just hate to see us becoming more and more dependent upon electronic technology in education. I think that the best education occurs under the parents direct supervision using the old classics of pen and paper. But, then I'm a Luddite, too. I think all of us home school parents are from what I read. I reckon those who say that never think to look at our children and how well they do. I'd better stop before I get up on the stump.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

"I think that the best education occurs under the parents direct supervision using the old classics of pen and paper."

Again, no disagreement. I guess my thought is "don't make the good the enemy of the perfect." I see this technology as an additional "help" or "tool" for parents to use in some of the more difficult subjects. Also, it might help some parents to homeschool who would otherwise be hesitant. We used video when we homeschooled, in addition to books, etc.

Lawrence Underwood said...

Oh, we do. I just see a growing trend in homeschooling parents to abandon traditional 'pen and paper' for techno tools. The usual reason is because it is 'so much easier'. The problem is that I am also watching what happens to their children. They are not doing well. They may have some knowledge, but they are not being educated. Additionally, I see this walking hand in hand with a lessening of the discipleship/training factor of home education.

I do believe it is possible to use both, but wisdom must prevail.