On his blog Stephen Downes discussed the shift from thinking education is something that is provided for us towards the idea it is something we create for ourselves thanks to a myriad of resources accessible via the internet.
I’ve mentioned the Khan Academy before but it exemplifies Stephen Downes’ point – learning on demand. The founder, Sal Khan was one of the presenters at Cisco’s Virtual Forum for Educational Leaders last week.
He demonstrated how easy it was for students to work at their own pace using the free resources available on his website. Using student data and feedback, Sal is continually reviewing the content to ensure students are able to understand core maths and science concepts.
This process is counter to the current pressures on teachers and students to ‘get through’ the curriculum. Do we ever question what this superficial treatment of the curriculum is doing? Are we displacing effective strategies in place of ‘getting the job done’?
Websites like the Khan Academy are not competing with but rather trying to work with schools to build the instructional core – the connection between student, content and teacher knowledge.