Jump to content
House Price Crash Forum

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

cashinmattress

Khan Academy Gets $5 Million To Expand Faculty & Platform & To Build A Physical School

Recommended Posts

link

Khan Academy announced this morning that it has raised $5 million from the O’Sullivan Foundation (a foundation created by Irish engineer and investor Sean O’Sullivan). The money is earmarked for several initiatives: expanding the Khan Academy faculty, creating a content management system so that others can use the program’s learning analytics system, and building an actual brick-and-mortar school, beginning with a summer camp program.

The $5 million marks the latest in funding for the non-profit, which has received over $2 million in grants from the Gates Foundation and from Google.

Part of the lure of the Sal Khan narrative is this idea that he is single-handedly educating the world through his self-made YouTube videos. No doubt, you can point to page and video views to make a case about his impact.

Khan has long kept full control over the “instruction”, or rather the video creation — all the content has been created by him. That changed last month, as I reported here, when Khan Academy struck a partnership with SmartHistory, bringing on that organization’s Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker as art history instructors. The money from the O’Sullivan Foundation will be used in part to expand the Khan Academy further, to at least 5 full-time-equivalent teachers.

The O’Sullivan Foundation grant will also be used to build what’s described as “a crowd-sourced content management and curation system.” Details are sketchy on exactly what this entails, but the press release compares it to Wikipedia, saying it’s a “similar outlet for dedicated professionals to develop quality instructional content.” The system will also enable others to tap into some of the tools and analytics that Khan Academy is developing.

Khan Academy intern David Hu offered some great insight this week into what these analytics look like. In a blog post entitled, “How Khan Academy Is Using Machine Learning to Assess Student Mastery,” Hu detailed the efforts underway at Khan Academy to rethink how its model for student proficiency works. Currently, it relies on a “streak” — that is, students must get a certain number of questions right in a row in order to move on. Hu proposes an alternate approach to ascertaining whether or not a student has gained proficiency (defined as a 94% or greater likelihood of correctly answering the next question asked involving that skill) using a logical regression model. Hu hypothesizes that with this new proficiency model, learning outcomes should increase, in part by moving students off of problems that they’re good at more quickly.

With its current level of funding, no doubt Khan Academy has been able to attract some real super-star engineering talent to its team — a team that has remained fairly small. There are, I think, under 20 employees, including the recent SmartHistory additions. But it’s worth noting that while the engineering brainpower is sizable here, the number of teachers (past or present) on board is small.

“Teachers don’t scale,” I remember Sal Khan saying to me when I interviewed him last year. What can scale, he argues, is the infrastructure for content delivery. And that means you just need a handful of good lecturers’ record their lessons; the Internet will take care of the rest.

But online instruction clearly isn’t enough, and as “blended learning” becomes the latest buzzword — that is, a blend of offline and computer-mediated/online instruction — Khan Academy is now eyeing building its own school. The money from the O’Sullivan Foundation will go towards developing a “testbed for physical programs and K-12 curricula,” including an actual physical Khan Academy school. This will begin in June 2012 as a series of summer camps.

“The school of the future will not resemble the school of today,” Khan says. “In the past, the assembly-line, lecture-homework-exam model existed because that’s what was possible in the no-tech and low-tech classrooms of their day.” His team now have $5 million to take that lecture-homework-exam model into the high-tech classroom… or something.

http://www.youtube.com/user/khanacademy

Anybody who's studied in the sciences in the past few years, or just those who are interested by practical and theoretical mathematics will know Salman Khan.

Good on him and hopefully this works out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

link

http://www.youtube.com/user/khanacademy

Anybody who's studied in the sciences in the past few years, or just those who are interested by practical and theoretical mathematics will know Salman Khan.

Good on him and hopefully this works out.

Mixed-model delivery using a large element of 'net-based technology makes a lot of sense. It's a shame our Open University seems so often to be a Cinderella.

The global leader is Pearson group, better-known in the UK for publishing. Their higher-education is centered in Boston (USA), a very impressive operation from the 'merkin Cambridge - home of both MIT and Harvard.

From what you say, this Khan academy sounds like an interesting though smaller centre of excellence in the sector.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of all the things that made the invention of the net so important, this is probably number one.

People can no longer artificially restrict the access to education, and expect to be paid well for doing so.

Dedicated HPCers should watch the sections on banking, currency and the credit crisis. There will be a test, which will last between now and about 2020.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't know when I first heard of him, but I was under the impression I was part of a select few this side of the pond.

Have watched quite a few of his vids, including the financial ones.

The brilliance of his formula is both in the simplicity, and the realisation (if indeed that's what it is) that genuine students appreciate being taken through a thought process. This can make the lessons seem chaotic at times, but this extemporising has two effects:

1 ) it gives the student time to absorb and reflect;

2 ) it gives the student confidence they are dealing with somebody who really has a grasp of the subject (rather than the method of teaching per se).

Returning to the simplicity of presentation, what a stroke of genius to throw out the plethora of visual aids available to us nowadays in favour of a good ol' blackboard and chalk (all be it digital). Pretty pictures are real nice, but a stickman has no brand of shoes to moon over, no bmi to fret about. Real world examples and images are clearly superior demonstrations of a concept, but as tools to explain, they probably introduce far too many distractions for our already cluttered brains.

My only concern is that somehow the money will spoil things.

To me the lesson of Khan academy is that if you have knowledge, you can share it w/o expensive infrastructure. You don't need to look like a presenter. You don't need a physical building. You don't need to be a name in the field of the subject. All you need is a thorough understanding. That makes teaching an incredibly democratic thing, and just how liberating is that? Time will tell if that spirit can be maintained. My suspicion is it will be the ultimate casualty, and that would be a dreadful shame.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • 294 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.