Education Reimagined by Salman Khan

March 21, 2013

I just got a copy of Salman Khan’s new book The One World School House – Education Reimagined.  He founded the Khan Academy and his TED video has been viewed by millions.  I just started the book and wanted to share a few items from the first few pages to get you thinking about education and to buy/​​read his book!  You may notice that the points I included here are points I’ve been taking up in my blogs and talks, but I really like his clear take on the entire subject!

On the lecture-model classroom, he writes:

“The old classroom model simply doesn’t fit our changing needs. It’s a fundamentally passive way of learning, while the world requires more and more active processing of information. The old model is based on pushing students together in age-group batches with one-pace-fits-all curricula and hoping they pick up something along the way. It isn’t clear that this was the best model one hundred years ago; it certainly isn’t anymore.”

About change in the education system, he said:

“Between the old way of teaching and the new, there’s a crack in the system, and kids around the globe are falling through it every day. The world is changing at an ever faster rate, yet systemic change, when it happens at all, moves glacially and often in the wrong direction; every day–every class period–the gap grows wider between the way kids are being taught and what they actually need to learn.”

“But instead of acting, people just keep talking about incremental changes. Either for lack of imagination or fear of rocking the boat, the conversation generally stops well short of the kind of fundamental questioning that our educational malaise demands, focusing instead on a handful of familiar but misplaced obsessions like test scores and graduation rates. Those are by no means trivial concerns. Still, what really matters is whether the world will have an empowered, productive, fulfilled population in the generations to come, one that fully taps into its potential and can meaningfully uphold the responsibilities of real democracy.”

And when it comes to thinking about education, he asks:

“How do people actually learn? Does the standard classroom model–broadcast lectures in school, solitary homework in the evening–still make sense in a digital age? Why do students forget so much of what they have supposedly “learned” as soon as an exam has been taken? Why do grown-ups sense such a disconnect between what they studied in school and what they do in the real world? These are the sorts of basic questions we should be asking. But even then, there is an enormous difference between bemoaning the state of education and actually doing something about it.”

And that is why I am sharing this with you, hoping you will (or are) doing something about it.  I hope I got you thinking about education, and interested in buying or reading his book!  I may not agree with everything he says, as I haven’t finished reading it, but so far I’m on his side.  Put it on your shelf next to Inevitable: Mass Customized Learning by Schwahn & McGarvey and you’ll have a lot to think about!  

Posted by marks on Thursday March 21, 2013 at 12:57PM

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