Khan Academy and SBG

@CmonMattTHINK put forth a comment on twitter a couple of mornings ago:

Salman Khan TED-talks about classroom inversion: Very exciting, yes. But I must be the cranky old man and say..
SO much of this (and SBG) is about skill-mastery. If we let our students believe that math = skill-mastery, we’re doing them a disservice.

I think its an interesting point. And I agree that the Khan Academy is absolutely focused on skill-mastery.

Khan Academy

The Khan Academy videos take any and all “color” out of a subject. I think that is what Matt is getting at with his quote about doing math students a disservice. Take out anything interesting about presenting a subject… and you’ve got the Khan video. Relying on Khan videos for teaching math is relying on saltines and water for your survival. Sure it may work, but who would CHOOSE that path? Rarely are there discussions in Khan videos for the WHY of a subject. Even less so the HOW a subject is used in the real world is totally missing. Replacing a classroom with Khan videos would be a travesty, and I’m not sure that Bill Gates and Sal Khan see this.

That said, I haven’t yet written off Khan videos as a supplement to the classroom for students who get lost in the minutiae of math procedures. Its possible that they’ll dovetail with the classroom, for some students, some of the time.

Standards Based Grades

Almost as a throwaway, Matt throws SBG in with Khan videos as a math = skill-mastery problem. I’m really glad he did, because it made a bunch of things with SBG much more clear to me. For instance:

Stuff SBG is (to me):

  • A more accurate representation of where students’ knowledge is, and where it isn’t. After trying SBG out full time this year, I have a much better idea about specifically what they are having trouble with and what they have down cold. This is my viewpoint as a teacher. I am responsible for getting all of my students to “know geometry”. It is important for me to see the class as a whole, to see what topics need more time, and to see what topics can go quicker.
  • Responsibility for the learning is more clearly on the student. They now know where they stand in geometry much clearer than the did in the past. Before they knew if they were failing, passing, or doing very well. Now each student knows what topics they struggle on, and what topics they kick ass at. If this was it, SBG would be worth it. But the students buy cialis Taiwan also have the ability to “re-learn” and reassess topics. They can now fill in the gaps of their knowledge with no penalty. Some students will not take this responsibility, but I’ve seen many more students strive to fill their gaps in, because they now know where their gaps are. Funny thing.

Stuff SBG is not (to me):

  • A way to teach. In no way do I see SBG influencing how I teach geometry. I’m still giving the students geometer sketchpad investigations. I still give the students actual 3D objects to measure LA,SA, and V. I still utilize group work to allow students to observe and try different learning methods. And yes, I still use “old-school” notes for some topics. SBG did not change the how, it only changed the measuring stick.
  • The end all and be all of motivational techniques. No way. I still am failing to motivate all students to learn geometry. No excuses. I still have students failing to do what is necessary to pass the Regents exam. I still have students that choose not to work. I know that if there is no gas in the tank then the car can’t go, but I too haven’t helped pay the gas bill for some of my students. SBG did not greatly affect this problem.

In the end I’d like some feedback from all of you. How do you view the Khan academy or SBG? Also, much thanks to Matt who pushed me to think about this stuff in more depth.

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14 Responses to Khan Academy and SBG

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