Educational instruction or instructional technology?

How’s this for a conundrum?  A computer might actually accelerate a student’s learning processes because it can be slowed down.  When people realized a computer can be rewound, replayed, and reinvented, according to what the student needed, they realized the format of education would be turned upside down.

Does an educational system really even need a teacher anymore?

***Note: I am immensely grateful to the teachers and professors I have had, for even the ones who drove me nuts were, in all honesty, good at giving me a new perspective—thus teaching me even when I didn’t want to be taught.***

But anyway, as students continue to lose attention span and focus, how do teachers compete for attention?

Salman Khan (no, not the Bollywood actor) says, don’t.

He says, get a first-rate education for free: visit instead.

His philosophy, coupling new media with education, has created a new type of education.  Instead of threatening education with his innovations, he has created short, easily-digestible videos to educate just about anyone on almost any one subject.

But his videos do not a typical YouTube format; they span several topics, and the Bangladeshi-American never appears on screen, unlike the Jenna Marbles

of the world, who parade around like selfconscious peacocks.

The most interesting part, to an international setting, however, is the breadth of the videos available.  These days, not only are his videos broadcast in English, but they are getting translated into Spanish, Chinese, and Urdu, and has received world-wide attention.

And now…others have been inspired to replace education.

(also, my wonderful cousin works for Sal, and says the founder is just as cool as he seems.)

– Tara


3 thoughts on “Educational instruction or instructional technology?

  1. Well, I’ve always thought that I could have saved $200,000 by listening to NPR everyday instead of going to college 😛 Unfortunately, that was not an option, for the same reason that Khan Academy is not: neither offer credentials. For example, I may learn everything there is to know about astrophysics from spending hours studying on the internet, but if I don’t have an actual degree, NASA probably isn’t going to hire me! Khan Academy truly looks like an amazing resource, but unless it can offer a degree or certificate (“badges” probably won’t cut it), I don’t see it as a viable alternative to accredited institutions.


    P.S. Sorry for being a Debbie Downer. Wah wah.

  2. I’ll also jump on the bandwagon, and say that the Khan Academy is very innovative in its approach to education, but without any marketable, tangible “degree,” it is pretty senseless. I do, however, think that this approach, coupled with the traditional model of higher education, could make the capacity for learning overall easier. I think that we’re becoming more and more used to educating ourselves at our own pace. Even in grad school, I think that most of what I actually reap from a class is the independent work and study I do. I think that the Khan Academy, if it structured itself as a supplemental education system, could probably position itself a little better. Also, Jenna Marbles is hilarious, even if she is a self-conscious, self-centered, self-affirming egomaniac.


  3. I do agree with Tory that this format is incredible but won’t mean as much until you can get credentials out of it unfortunately (reminds me of the movie Accepted if you are familiar with it). However, I think this could certainly spawn a style of learning in accredited establishments eventually. We are already doing online classes left and right, and albeit their structure is not always as accessible as this one, it is a start. I think the ability to “rewind” or “slow down” a lecture is really important- Claire actually even mentioned this in our review session in regards to some professors not allowing laptops, and how they could help us type faster to “keep up” with the professor. What I think is missing, and this component is really vital to education, is the discussion atmosphere. I think I learn a lot more in my classes where we are able to have real discussions and hear many opinons on the matter. So my thought is that this is a really amazing idea, but it should be combined with a few other components to make it even better!


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