Task 3- We can’t teach Maths but the computer Khan… (sorry!!)

Posted by Charlotte on Apr 6, 2016

After having read the article and watched the video, I’m left feeling a little stumped, if I’m honest. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a real advocate of the use of youtube videos to help my understanding of parts of my studies and have used them all the way through from GCSEs through A-Levels and my degree and even now. However, I feel that I have always used these videos to recap and refresh on ideas and theories, not to base my first understanding of a topic on.

Much in the same way that I worry about the ‘Maths Mastery’ as a company techniques and strategies for lesson planning, I worry about this being used in the classroom. I worry that, if the Education System were to approve the use of Khan Academy in the same way as the Los Altos schools district have, this could well have the desired effect with the majority of dedicated teachers, but I feel that the minority of teachers would use this as an excuse not to plan any lessons and to take the easy way out. I understand that there is a lot of pressure and strain on teachers with the amount of work that they have been set, but I have been first hand to this abuse of resources, both as a student and as a TA.

This being said, I feel that and have always felt that everyone has the ability to do Maths. As Willingham suggests in his article, there is an innate ability for children from a very young age to understanding the concept of number and space. Throughout my degree I was always interested in the work of a Psychologist named Piaget, who demonstrated the ability of children to conserve number, length and volume during their Concrete Operational Stage of development and so can see links with Willingham’s ideas. If this is the case, that everyone should be able to do Maths, then the way in which students are being taught must have an impact on the way that they are missing out.

I think that Khan’s idea of the Swiss Cheese could be explained by the gaps created in teaching rather than innate ability. Khan Academy and other MOOCs are a great way of fulling in these gaps in knowledge in a non-threatening and non-embarrassing way. I was especially interested in the family who had written in about using the videos etc to help to teach their son with SEN, when nothing else had worked. This, to me, is a perfect example of this being used to its full potential, as a home schooling guide or a homework tool. I understand that in many ways it can be seen to address the ‘one size fits all’ approach to teaching and see that every once in a while it’s great to flip the learning experience, I just don’t feel that it could work a large scale rolling out across the country to replace teachers delivering their own lectures to suit the class that they have come to know as individuals.


  1. Martha
    12 April 2016

    Nice play on words there Charli!! Your article made me think that actually the videos might be more revolutionary for parents helping their kids with h/w than with the kids themselves!

  2. pepsmccrea
    12 April 2016

    Great to hear that the articles have had an impact on your thinking (even if that impact may be that you’re ‘stumped’!). Some important questions posed, and connections made – I’d be interested in hearing more about the links with Piaget.

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