The Future of Education
I really enjoyed the positive nature of all the resources: with an open mind, access to good resources and good teaching all can achieve at maths.
Things that really stood out from the Khan lecture were:
- allowing pupils to work at their own pace and especially the charts showing ‘slow learners’ catching up….brilliant to see
- the incredibly powerful diagnostic tools on progress, what students were struggling with and what they were doing well with…a fantastic resource for teachers
- the knowledge tree which directed learning in such a transparent way so you can see where you have been and where you are going …. I found this so empowering, I think, because it sets out a shared journey rather than a teacher pulling topics, seemingly, out of a hat
- the concern that even those getting even high scores in tests may actually have missed a key bit of learning and the future impact of such gaps….a great advert for mastery
- the accessibility of this resource which – returning to a common theme for me – means giving access to educational resources to all across the world
From this you can probably guess that I am a bit of a Khan Academy fan….both before and after this TED talk.
What I hadn’t thought through at all was how to use resources like this in the classroom. .
The idea of a lot of the actual learning being done outside of the classroom, with the classroom being used more for individual teacher and peer support caught my attention. Immediately I begin to pick holes, what happens if one or two pupils don’t do it, can people really learn on line without face to face teaching? But then I knock down my own barriers….the progress diagnostics allow you to know if work isn’t getting done; and I quite like online learning (especially when I am struggling) for many of the reasons that Khan outlined.
Which brings me to the article and the bonus video. The strong sense that we learn most by trying and failing from the video and how this is inhibited in most people fascinated me. My experience to date is that the students are driven by getting the right answer and moreover by the fear of getting something wrong in front of their peers and teachers. If the video is right then this must be stunting learning, One great solution would be to try and change this classroom culture (maybe with greater rewards for trying rather than ‘just’ succeeding) although it seems that Khan is advocating another partial alternative solution being that learning on line takes away some of these pressures.
And then finally to the article. At one level I found the article out of kilter with the other resources but as I think more I can see common threads. The sense of maths potential in all, the ideas that maths has to be both conceptual learning and cementing that learning through rule and practice (compare this with the need to get 10 in a row right before moving on in the Khan Academy), the importance of previous learning as building blocks enabling the learner to solve more and more complex problems…again reflected in the approach that Khan and the Buttkicking thinkers seem to advocate.