" . . .So That Teachers Can Diagnose What's Wrong with the Student."
Yeah, yeah, it's all "there."
Any kid's dashboard will be up "there" - "anyone can access it."
- Salman Khan
A Frankenstein Moment?
TED Video Below
I'm cutting to the chase. Anyone who has ever seen this TED video - watch it again.
This time, start at the 10:00 minute mark, or even the 12:30 mark. You will get a different perspective. This talk has been seemingly everywhere of late, and while never feeling the need to watch it since The Daily Riff was familiar with Khan Academy (positively covering it last year when it was gaining notoriety), I finally succumbed and watched it in its entirety.
Glad I did.
Being a fan of many TED videos, I found this one to be the most info-mercial-like in format and tone. Especially in the last few minutes when Bill Gates joins Khan, providing obvious pre-programmed questions answered with overly-scripted buzz-word answers by Khan ("kinda crazy, rock star programmers"), along with TEDsters wildly clapping like seals. I thought, did you hear what they were really saying?
Being a vocal advocate for tech in education in its many forms, I still will not blindly clap at anything just because it has an "e" in front of it (e-learning, etc.), and especially NOT when it is something that crosses the line in the privacy department. I don't want any school "keeping tabs" on MY child this way . . . such as Kahn's admission:
"how long they've (students) been spending every day,
what videos they've been watching,
when did they pause the video,
when did they stop watching . . ."
Last time I checked, data visualizations should bring additional insight by showing trends and patterns, streamlining an overload of random data that we encounter in our modern world. But, do teachers really need to know when a student went to "pause" for a bathroom break?
Worse yet, Khan asserts (18:25 mark) that now this is "not just an in-school thing" and "we can follow these kids . . . on Christmas breaks . . . summers . . . and track them
at home . . . the school district can track these kids . . . at home. . . "
Oh, there's more:
"data that is expected in any other field -- finance, marketing, manufacturing . . ."
"This data can "diagnose what's wrong with the student."
Do we really think knowing how many times a student watches his grammar videos will make
me understand this student better? Or, more importantly, will it inspire Johnny to write? Will
it tell me whether Johnny can write a coherent essay, blog post, or script? Or, dare we ask, an inspiring or convincing one? Or, whether Jane even cares, or what may motivate her?
Let's "arm the teachers with as much information as possible"
Arm the teachers? Yes, let's arm the parents and the students, too, while you're at it. Didn't know this was war. Plus, do you really think teachers need more information -
"We don't want teachers having to ask 'awkward questions' like asking students whether they understand the material or not."
not better information?
We also don't want teachers asking "awkward questions?" Why don't we just avoid talking
altogether? Khan continues to say how Kahn is now "humanizing" schooling so kids can work at their own pace through his program (we all get this already about on-line advantages), and "developed this to be teacher-driven" . . . so class size won't matter . . . because teachers won't have to lecture in class anymore. But, then, why at the 17:58 mark, he notes that the California school has students watching Khan videos in class?
Khan also aligns classroom flipping with Khan Academy. I'm not sure notable names associated with the flipped classroom, such as college professor, Karl Fisch; public high school teacher, Jonathan Bergmann; and private school Math teacher, Stacey Roshan, view Kahn as their spokesperson, since their version of the flipped classroom are their own videos of their own teaching, to be viewed by students at home.
When Kahn gets into his a-student-is-either-gifted-OR-a-student-is-slow tangent, he is sending signals to all who are listening that Khan Academy kids will be saved all from all those horrible labels in school, even though all student results will be posted on a dashboard. We also didn't realize that students were either gifted or slow, with little in-between. Kahn gives kids badges with a leader board, not using gold stars, for "motivation and feedback."
Between the generous clapping and standing ovations, Khan even brought in the heartstrings moment of his performance, when relating about how Calcutta street kids could learn through the Academy. Gates steps in, immediately afterward, on cue at the 16:45 mark.
Now, according to Khan and Gates, everyone can look up a student's dashboard to help him out - tutors, mentors, family members. I'm surprised he didn't add global leaders, or maybe even Bill Gates himself to the list of mentors waiting in the wings to help a child with fractions.
Sure, this sounds so altruistic, especially for kids who have little access to a good education. That is what technology can do. Yet, Bill Gates says that this is the future of education.
It's one option. Because as we know, one size does not fit all.
That includes on-line videos by Khan.
Any kid's dashboard will be up 'there' - 'anyone' can access it."
Sorry, Salman Khan, I don't want my child's dashboard up "there" for "anyone" to see . . .
Originally published The Daily Riff April 2011
Can Young Students Learn from On-Line Classes? NY Times Debate
The Daily Riff posts:
Teachers "Doing the Flip" To Help Learning
Bill & Melinda's Field Trips Plus Big Picture Learning/College Unbound
How to Learn by Diana Laufenberg
What Would Ted Sizer Say About Technology
Is Your Child Learning How to Learn?
High School Stinks
Is This the Best High School in America?
Are We Preparing Students For Our Age or Theirs?
Why We Need Mentors In School and Work Now More Than Ever