The Wrath Against Khan: Why Some Educators Are Questioning Khan Academy

Audrey Watters, Hack Education, Jul 21, 2011
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This is a good summary of some of the discussion around the Khan Academy after Wired's post on the learning initiative last week. Though most known for the videos, there's three major parts: the videos, learning games (that give 'badges' for success), and a dashboard for teachers and parents. This summary blurs some of the sharp divide between Khan and his critics. As the Wired article has it, Stager responds that "The videos and software modules... are just a high tech version of that most hoary of teaching techniques—lecturing and drilling. Schools have become 'joyless test-prep factories.'" Well maybe he says that. But as Watters says, Wired author Clive Thompson "waters down Constructivism (or constructionism, as the article says), the learning theory supported by these two Khan-objectors, to the 'idea that students won’t really understand math unless they discover each principle on their own.'" Which is a caricature of the position. I think there's a lot that Khan could do better. But I also really like the bare-bones low-tech approach that can function as a structure we can link to other more MOOC-like more constructivist or constructionist-like learning activities.
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