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Software and Education

July 16, 2011 12:54:27.256

It's taken until now - and the advent of Khan Academy - to see how software can really be used in education. I suspect there will be massive resistance, since the pattern illustrated below blows away the traditional "lecture model" that is used now:

Initially, Thordarson thought Khan Academy would merely be a helpful supplement to her normal instruction. But it quickly become far more than that. She’s now on her way to “flipping” the way her class works. This involves replacing some of her lectures with Khan’s videos, which students can watch at home. Then, in class, they focus on working problem sets. The idea is to invert the normal rhythms of school, so that lectures are viewed on the kids’ own time and homework is done at school. It sounds weird, Thordarson admits, but this flipping makes sense when you think about it. It’s when they’re doing homework that students are really grappling with a subject and are most likely to need someone to talk to. And now Thordarson can tell just when this grappling occurs: Khan Academy provides teachers with a dashboard application that lets her see the instant a student gets stuck.

The funny thing is, any educator who considered this would realize that it makes them invaluable. The students can get the lecture from the internet, but what they can't get there is a walkthrough on a specific problem - the hints and "aha moments" that come from working through a problem together.

posted by James Robertson

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