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Khan Academy Pilot Educators On Khan Academy

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the but-who-will-shop-at-walmart? dept.

Education 110

theodp writes "In what may surprise Khan Academy backers Google and Bill Gates, educators from the Los Altos School District where KA was initially piloted and implemented have responded to some recent KA critiques with a blog entry which notes, 'Teachers in our district have determined that the greatest value of the Khan Academy lies, not in the videos, but in the exercise modules and data generated as students work practice problems.' Not too surprisingly, when it comes to revolutionizing student learning, teachers are bullish on teachers. 'Key to this revolution are the Los Altos teachers,' the educators conclude. 'Teachers in our district are highly valued for their pedagogical perspective, content knowledge, experience, and creative abilities. When district administrators put tools in the hands of teachers and give them room to work, amazing things happen for students. Tools will come and go, but it's the teachers who create meaningful learning experiences that challenge students to grow.'"

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Sponsoded by Bill Gates and M$ (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41221435)

Who would use it when it's sponsored by M$ amirite?

School Motton (2, Funny)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 2 years ago | (#41221499)

"We offered them order!!"

And who is surprised? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41221467)

Why would this surprise anyone? Establishment tends to protect itself by embracing change in limited ways while re-emphasizing why "it" is valuable. This is no different than a homeopathic doctor saying "While I respect alopathic medicine, I think their real value is in their diagnostic techniques. The real benefit that myself and the other doctors at my practice play is bringing our wealth of homeopathic understanding to each issue at patient bring in." Not to equate all teaches with homeopathic physicians, but clearly for at least some students (and at least some incompetent teachers, protected by teach unions...) I don't think that metaphor is far from the truth. But nonetheless, why would this surprise ANYONE?

Re:And who is surprised? (0, Flamebait)

aurispector (530273) | more than 2 years ago | (#41221535)

It doesn't. In california, the teachers union (along with other unions) operates like the mafia. Tax dollars come in and are funneled directly to the unions via the public school districts. The unions in turn use their voting bloc and monetary support for the democratic party to cement control.

They have a stranglehold on education dollars and they control the legislature. Nothing even vaguely threatening to the current union system will get to the floor for debate much less come to a vote. The losers are the taxpayers and the students.

Re:And who is surprised? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41221571)

It doesn't. In california, the teachers union (along with other unions) operates like the mafia. Tax dollars come in and are funneled directly to the unions via the public school districts. The unions in turn use their voting bloc and monetary support for the democratic party to cement control.

They have a stranglehold on education dollars and they control the legislature. Nothing even vaguely threatening to the current union system will get to the floor for debate much less come to a vote. The losers are the taxpayers and the students.

As someone who donates money to a friend who works as a teacher just so she can afford extra paper for her students, you're full of shit.

Re:And who is surprised? (5, Insightful)

Worthless_Comments (987427) | more than 2 years ago | (#41221875)

Maybe you should ask your friend for some tutoring in reading comprehension. The unions =/= the teachers. You see, the teachers are individuals. The union is the group. Yes, McDonalds made billions last year, but that doesn't mean you want to work for them.

Re:And who is surprised? (4, Insightful)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#41222555)

I question those who would target the very group of people that we entrust the giving of knowledge to our children with. And a malignant educator does not represent the thousands of educators. It is easy to cast doubt, put to cast light appears to be a little beyond the reach of some that have the courage to impose their opinions based on proud ignorance upon the public. I've read about such people that cause public debate by first telling a big lie, and then repeating it. I've also noticed that certain people about 70 years and older are very concerned about some of the more materialist types that call themselves Conservative.

Re:And who is surprised? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41223873)

Well now you know why these people target education, don't you? They feed on people's ignorance.

Agreed (5, Insightful)

arcite (661011) | more than 2 years ago | (#41221895)

In North America, Teachers are consistently one of the least respected, poorest paid professionals, yet they work some of the longest hours (out of altruism) of anyone. Those teachers who don't burn out after their first few years, and continue to make it a career are the true heroes.

Re:Agreed (2, Informative)

hilltaker7 (2718495) | more than 2 years ago | (#41221999)

I too am a fan of teachers. However, teachers != teacher's unions. Here in Colorado, as in many other places, the local teachers have to fight their own union (ran by politicians, not educators) constantly, especially if they are one of those truly awesome teachers value their student's education over their student's indoctrination. The unions feed directly off the government's teats taking their money before the teachers here even get it and cycle it back into the Democrat party. It should be illegal, and it is certainly immoral, and quite a few of our "heroes" feel the same way.

Re:Agreed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41223951)

Amen to that. Teachers unions (really all public unions) need to disappear for the good of the country, and those they "represent"

Re:Agreed (-1, Flamebait)

meta-monkey (321000) | more than 2 years ago | (#41222125)

No, they're glorified babysitters. I (very briefly) dated an education major in college. She was stressed out over a project she had due for one of her classes in which she needed to make a lesson plan for third graders. Really challenging program there, eh? That's why the saying in the engineering halls was "If you can't hack it, the College of Education is over that way."

Re:Agreed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41222553)

What do you call a second year engineering student? A communications major.

Re:Agreed (1)

locketine (1101453) | more than 2 years ago | (#41222675)

I'm sure if she wanted to just copy what her third grade teacher did it would have been a cake walk. Coming up with new ways to teach is very difficult and was probably a requirement of the assignment since plagiarism is grounds for getting expelled. If the bar for a meaningful job is that it requires someone smart enough to get an engineering degree then there's very few people with meaningful jobs out there. At my engineering school the joke was that you should join the College of Business.

your teh l33t hax0r (2, Insightful)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | more than 2 years ago | (#41222981)

No, they're glorified babysitters. I (very briefly) dated an education major in college. She was stressed out over a project she had due for one of her classes in which she needed to make a lesson plan for third graders.

So you briefly dated one (lucky her), and from that experience alone, you came with the conclusion they are all glorified babysitters. Flawless logic based on extensive experience in the field. Today is not raining, ergo, it never rains. Modus ponens whoring ftw!!!!!!

Really challenging program there, eh?

I cannot say what challenges said person had (assume that person ever existed), but I have to ask: have you ever made a lesson plan? For 3rd graders? Also, a program is perceived as challenging depending on a variety of factors, and not just on the intrinsic nature of the problem or the person's skills when observed from a vacuum. What this person you dated burdened by other factors that are independent of her skills and the complexity of the task at hand?

That's why the saying in the engineering halls was "If you can't hack it, the College of Education is over that way."

And how long have you been waiting to expout that line? Please let get out of your chest. The more that people partake on such 3rd-grade e-jock mentality, the more a sociopath that person is (or it is a tremendous compensation for something severely missing in one's personal or professional life.)

Don't get me wrong. I used to partake on the same Business/Education bashing when I was in school. We all did (well, except the few who didn't revel in sociopathic/narcissist tendencies.) Fortunately, I grew up to recognize it's just an infantile, narcissist, callous and ultimately useless look-at-me-mine-is-bigger kind of thing. I suggest you grow out of it, too.

Re:your teh l33t hax0r (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41223809)

Too bad your original supposition was correct.
1. As a teacher who sits in a teacher's room between class, a very common comment heard is "I hate children."
2. Most teachers teach because it's a paycheck, and it's better than working at a call center.
3. A classroom with more than eight students turns into a babysitting situation. Learning should focus on letting student's produce. Both medium-sized and large lecture halls focus on the students listening to the teacher present.
4. Often one bad student ruins the entire classes ability to participate and learn, but it is impossible to remove problem students. The only good students in a class are the students who never needed a teacher. Good students already know all of the material plus extra, because their parents actually take the time to teach them and provide good learning materials.

Re:your teh l33t hax0r (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41224337)

And doctors hate patients, lawyers hate clients, engineers hate machines, programmers hate computers.

Damn, it's like you have no idea what people act like.

Re:your teh l33t hax0r (2)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | more than 2 years ago | (#41225159)

And doctors hate patients, lawyers hate clients, engineers hate machines, programmers hate computers.

Damn, it's like you have no idea what people act like.

^^^ Exactly this. A million times this. People who engage in 'X people hate their clients or whatever' or 'people who do X sucks' (or simply 'we are better than people who do X') are just taking a crap with there asses aiming at the zenith, never thinking their own crap will eventually land on their faces, gravity and all that.

Generalizations are the root of all evil in general (no pun intended), and the root of stupid, kindergartenish fallacies in particular. Particularly so when the generalization is aimed at a different group or trade different from the ones we belong to.

Supposedly in Slashdot, the reading nerd crowd who is supposed to be highly educated, living by the rules of Occam and the scientific method, cannot raise themselves above that level. They might revel on the fact of being able to pull a few technical tricks unaware of their own spiteful idiocy.

Your spats are crooked sir and you look pedestrian (1)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 2 years ago | (#41228355)

Don't get me wrong. I used to partake on the same Business/Education bashing when I was in school. We all did (well, except the few who didn't revel in sociopathic/narcissist tendencies.) Fortunately, I grew up to recognize it's just an infantile, narcissist, callous and ultimately useless look-at-me-mine-is-bigger kind of thing. I suggest you grow out of it, too.

Hear Hear, spoken like a true gentleman, sir! Lets not lower ourselves to pointless name calling and other such common behavior. Its boorish and undignified of an educated individual.

Especially since one should be basing philosophy majors, those filthy little beggars are the vermin of Academia! Why, I I hear they aren't even circumcised!

Re:Agreed (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#41224273)

In North America, Teachers are consistently one of the least respected, poorest paid professionals, yet they work some of the longest hours (out of altruism) of anyone. Those teachers who don't burn out after their first few years, and continue to make it a career are the true heroes.

And yet, somehow they (or at least a plurality of them) still feel that the unions are doing them a service by being around to protect them from abuse! Despite the fact that the unions soak up untold millions of dollars every year for their own (mostly political) purposes, and protect the teachers that work way less instead of way more (there are plenty of those types around too) they willingly still get behind such a detrimental organization...

Something is really wrong with the way that works.

Re:Agreed (1)

iamwahoo2 (594922) | more than 2 years ago | (#41225177)

I guess everybody's experience could vary by location, but in my state (Ohio), all teacher salary information is available online at http://www.buckeyeinstitute.org/teacher-salary [buckeyeinstitute.org] . When I search on the elementary school in my neighborhood, the 2011 salaries for full time employees range from 25K to 91K (this includes everyone from janitor to principals). The median employee is making just over 60K. That may not be great for some areas of the country, but here in Ohio, that is a good salary and based off of their workload and level of education, it is a more than fair salary.

Lies (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41221603)

In california, the teachers union (along with other unions) operates like the mafia. Tax dollars come in and are funneled directly to the unions via the public school districts.

You know that's all public record, right? Why don't you request those balance sheets and publish it in the newspaper if it's true? The answer is because it's not, the unions are funded by union dues paid by the teachers ... of course, you don't know what's really going on or how really poor most schools and teachers are, you're just regurgitating talking points against unions that Glenn Beck or someone fed you.

Re:Lies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41221697)

The answer is because it's not, the unions are funded by union dues paid by the teachers

But the union fees are paid out of salaries, and the unions ensure that salaries stay high so that their members can keep them going. It's absolutely ridiculous that teachers can make $25,000 a year or more. Without unions, we would see teacher salaries go down to something more commeasurate with their work, and something that local governments can actually afford.

Re:Lies (2)

hrvatska (790627) | more than 2 years ago | (#41222011)

It's absolutely ridiculous that teachers can make $25,000 a year or more. Without unions, we would see teacher salaries go down to something more commeasurate with their work, and something that local governments can actually afford.

$25,000/year is ridiculours? Are they supposed to get by on minimum wage?

Re:Lies (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41222091)

Yes, it's ridiculous. Teachers deserve at least 3 times that.

Re:Lies (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41222325)

you sir, just earned douchebag of the year. $25,000/yr is pigeon feed in comparison to the work they do. Teachers are horribly underpaid, $25,000 is nowhere near enough. Thats barely enough to live off of, even with a very tight and strict budget. sure, if you are 12 yrs old $25,000/yr seems pretty awesome. but if you're a teacher, and you have a spouse, and kids, and a house to take care of, $25,000 barely supports any of that at all. In my ideal world, I would say teachers should make no less than $35,000/yr. thats still not a ton, but its pretty "average" and enough to help support your family a little. it still doesn't come close to compensating them for the work they put in.

Re:Lies (1)

morgauxo (974071) | more than 2 years ago | (#41225015)

only 35?

Re:Lies (3, Insightful)

fuzznutz (789413) | more than 2 years ago | (#41222375)

It's absolutely ridiculous that teachers can make $25,000 a year or more. Without unions, we would see teacher salaries go down to something more commeasurate with their work, and something that local governments can actually afford.

This kind of shit is why I no longer self identify as a Republican anymore. Teachers are overpaid at $25,000???? I guess you think all US labor should be minimum wage so capital can get richer. Son, that's what starts revolutions...

Republicans used to be about limited government, now it's all about the race to the bottom. I am astonished at the uneducated lemmings that have taken over the party.

--> No sense of value
--> No understanding of economics
--> No recollection of history

It's truly incredible...

Re:Lies (1)

StingyJack (1598631) | more than 2 years ago | (#41223819)

WIll you please run for office?

Re:Lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41223373)

You missed the leading 1. His and her escalades for our neighbors in NorCal, v.s. less than the cost of daycare in rural Georgia. There's a reason my wife quit teaching. There are only 3 corrupt parties. The parents, the unions, and the administration.

Re:Lies (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41223997)

You might want to take a look at the salaries of the administrators. Most of the waste is there.

Re:Lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41228241)

I'm presuming this is just flame bait but none the less...25K is an insult to someone with a teaching degree. Tell me...where can you buy a home on a 25K/yr salary that is not drug infested and crime ridden? Based on a 2000 hour work year (40 hrs/wk x 50 weeks) that is $12.50/hr. Ok sure, teachers don't work 50 weeks a year - maybe bump it up to $15/hr. Do you really expect someone to get a Masters degree to make $15/hr?

Buddy - I wouldn't even get out of bed for $15/hr.

FWIW....I think the problem has less to do with the teachers and more to do with the administrative layers of fat that lie between the classroom and the politicians. Maybe the unions have a hand in that...I dunno. It just seems to me that if you eliminate some of those layers then more of the money gets into the classroom.

Next thing I'd do is raise teacher salaries. That's right, raise them not lower them. But only if the unions would agree to have real controls in place to get rid of teachers that are not performing or are just burned out and need to go. If we want to attract talented people to the teaching profession then we need to pay them as professionals. Hold them accountable to deliver, but for the ones that do, pay them well. For the top teachers, give them bonuses or other forms of recognition. Just like, you know, in the real world.

how about this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41221731)

School district levies tax.
School district hires school teacher
In many states, School teacher forced to join union in order to keep job (paycheck is auto-deducted and given to union)

If that isn't auto feed, I don't know what is.

Re:how about this? (1)

fuzznutz (789413) | more than 2 years ago | (#41222413)

School district levies tax.

Whoa Hoss. Just stop right there. In my state the district can place a tax levy on the ballot, but the voters decide. And just who do you think the "district" is anyway? It's your friends and neighbors that give up their time and effort to do the job that your bitching about. Fuckwit...

Re:how about this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41224433)

Whoa Hoss. Just stop right there.

School district levies tax. School district levies tax. School district levies tax. School district levies tax.

I don't know why you think that is not the case. School district levies tax. If I don't pay that several hundred dollar tax, men with guns kick me out of my home. If I come back they will kidnap me and stick me in a room with metal bars. That is called a tax. I live in Texas, In the six years I've been here, I've never had a chance to "vote" on how much tax I pay to the school district, and I vote in municipal and primary elections in addition to the national ones too. In your unnamed state (which for convenience I'll call "Confusion")

It's your friends and neighbors that give up their time and effort to do the job that your bitching about.

.

For which they are paid. By the way, even incompetent people have to live somewhere. And more importantly - you are not responding to the above post. The post complains about teacher's unions not the teachers themselves. And then you insulted for no real reason.

Re:Lies (1)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | more than 2 years ago | (#41222791)

With the way for profit schools work, and with charter schools producing worse outcomes than ordinary schools, there's plenty of money to pay anonymous shills on the internet to attack teacher's unions. In turn the teachers were being paid out of the value add to homes, which the people paying the property taxes hoped to recoup on sale, because home prices went up faster than wages and inflation combined. Now that the treadmill is broken, the result is an economic train wreck where services are gutted, because people don't see the value to them. In some cases, such as hockey rinks, ok, that's for the community to decide whether to pay for it, for other cases, such as education, this perverse incentive system injures the country more, and the obvious result would be to have a higher level of government step in, one that would have to pay for the results of under-education.

Re:Lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41223883)

You know that's all public record, right? Why don't you request those balance sheets and publish it in the newspaper if it's true? The answer is because it's not, the unions are funded by union dues paid by the teachers ... of course, you don't know what's really going on or how really poor most schools and teachers are, you're just regurgitating talking points against unions that Glenn Beck or someone fed you.

OK, I call bullshit. See this [sacbee.com] for one example of Los Angeles school distract salaries. Considering the average education levels, local cost of living, and the schedule I would say that these salaries are high on average. On top of that the unions consistently keep bad teachers in the classroom.

Re:And who is surprised? (1)

BorisSkratchunkov (642046) | more than 2 years ago | (#41221701)

1) Introduce analogy:

This is no different than a homeopathic doctor saying "While I respect alopathic medicine, I think their real value is in their diagnostic techniques. The real benefit that myself and the other doctors at my practice play is bringing our wealth of homeopathic understanding to each issue at patient bring in."

2) Nullify analogy:

Not to equate all teaches with homeopathic physicians,

Just keep on weavin' that illogic there bro.

Re:And who is surprised? (2)

ralatalo (673742) | more than 2 years ago | (#41222263)

Does anyone really think teaching is that much different than any knowledge driven task?

I mean, programming tools certainly write better software, and search tools certainly provide a better coverage of a subject than individuals. Teaching someone is not about presenting the knowledge and reasons, not even if if it includes a rigorous explanation. Teaching is about taking someone from some lower level of understanding and knowledge and bringing them to a higher level of understanding and knowledge. There are literally multiple ways that subtraction can be taught, or multiplication for that matter, and while any individual likely has a belief that one method is superior, easier, simpler or even conceptually clearer, they all deviate from the concept in some way. One who understands the concept can understand how each method reflects and models the concept, and a good teacher can use the differences to help a student better understand the concept and learn it. No program can understand the concept, and even a skilled individual who is capable of explaining the concept with each of the various methods can't predetermine which method may be best for an individual student.

Previously I had read that many Teachers believed the best use of the videos were to give the lectures and introductions as homework to allow them more time to give the individual assistance and help students with the finer points and understanding. If this notes the benefits of the example it would likely be due to giving the Teachers a point of focus for mus-understandings and a place to focus on further and alternative instruction.

More like a programmer looking at automatically generated code and realizing that if the order of required steps is done differently the amount of required work would be decreased, like filtering before sorting, if the filtering won't change the results.

Re:And who is surprised? (2)

The Second Horseman (121958) | more than 2 years ago | (#41222761)

Yes, it is. First off, you're not just dealing with the students, you're dealing with (sometimes) batshit-crazy parents, in addition to your own supervisory chain. You're dealing with 25 students in a room, 12 of which have IEPs or 504 documentation, and you may or may not have any in-room support for those kids, depending on the subject area and district. And you're having to deal with students who just won't do the work or are disruptive, you're likely to get little support from the school in terms of disciplining the kid, and often less from the kid's parents.

Most programmers - most professionals - don't have to deal with that many individual people - and aren't expected to both cater to them and produce results - to the same degree as teachers. It's exhausting. And when you look at what charter schools are attempting to get teachers to do (and mind you, the charters often do a crap job of actually supporting their teachers), it's little wonder that a high proportion of charter school teachers quit after one or two years. BTW, the least effective teaching years for a teacher? The first two or three years. If your school has a high percentage of teachers with less than four years of experience, it's not going to be as good. I'm sure some of the /. readers will object to that, but there are a significant number of studies that have shown it over the years.

In addition, there's the pressure that if you can't get through to a kid, they're behind next year, and maybe more the year after that. And trust me, that bothers them. You're constantly battling to get kids to recognize that something is in their long-term benefit. Most goddamn adults can't figure that out.

Re:And who is surprised? (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227517)

You are a good example of why honest conversations can't be had about education in America. Your claiming that a classroom that has 50% disabled kids is common enough to be even worth discussing? If even close to 50% of our population under the age of 18 is disabled, our species is in total collapse. It isn't an education issue, it is an issue of the impending extinction of the human race.

Of course, we all know that your claim is total BS, but the fact that you would think it was even plausible as a discussion point shows just how poor people are at having honest discussions on public education.

Teachers see writing on the wall (3, Interesting)

GeneralTurgidson (2464452) | more than 2 years ago | (#41221489)

The fun of teaching is doing the teaching part, not being the physical replacement students beat on for some guy on TV.

Re:Teachers see writing on the wall (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41221579)

I can't learn as well on TV. I can't concentrate on it like I can with a book or an interactive lesson on the computer. TV lessons go way too slow or too fast. It's the same with lectures.

Guided self study works the best - for me anyway. Which sucked for me in school because instructors demanded class participation.

Re:Teachers see writing on the wall (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#41221651)

Guided self study works the best - for me anyway.

More or less the same here. I've never really learned anything non-trivial "from a teacher", learned all on my own or out of a book.

Which sucked for me in school because instructors demanded class participation.

Keep ahead of the class... I knew how to integrate by parts long before I sat in the boring lecture, so answering questions wasn't much of a challenge. Learning how to sit quietly while bored is good training for the workforce, we call it "meetings".

Re:Teachers see writing on the wall (2)

mx+b (2078162) | more than 2 years ago | (#41223309)

More or less the same here. I've never really learned anything non-trivial "from a teacher", learned all on my own or out of a book.

Many people are like this, it doesn't mean teachers are useless. A good teacher has the knowledge and experience to help guide your self-study. A good teacher will recommend books or subjects or projects to enhance your learning. Reading is great and all, but sometimes you kind of flail in the dark on your own because you don't know what is important to your topic, and what isn't. You don't as a novice know what has already been done, and what is still unknown. A good teacher is there to bounce ideas off of and get some guidance on how to effectively pursue your interest.

Try to ask questions. I know in my classes I am always open to good questions, and we will routine stop my "lecture plan" and pursue the answer to a question of interest from a student. Participation doesn't need to be boring.

Re:Teachers see writing on the wall (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#41225503)

Many people are like this, it doesn't mean teachers are useless

Right on, I have little use for them personally, but a very similar analogy is I don't want to eliminate or de-fund eyeglasses, for example, just because they're not my thing. The main point was if you are teaching yourself, make sure to say ahead of the class and then class participation is a breeze, the claim that self teaching = no class participation is a false dilemma.

You mean ... (5, Informative)

dywolf (2673597) | more than 2 years ago | (#41221495)

You mean we can't just point the technology at the kids and make them learn? It takes actual teachers actually teaching, and not being rigidly restricted to rote scripts?

Whoa....who'd a thunk it?

Re:You mean ... (4, Interesting)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#41221683)

It depends on the student really. Some kids have the get up and go to do it themselves, others don't, for various reasons. I think their parents and family can play as much of or even a far more important role in encouraging learning. Really we need to ingrain a personal responsbility ethic into the education system, it would be beneficial in many ways. I could see teachers changing from knowledge dispensers to effective tutoring aides over time though.

Re:You mean ... (2)

dywolf (2673597) | more than 2 years ago | (#41222363)

Oh ya, not denying that. I just being sarcastic at the nothing that once again, the technology magic bullet isnt one, and, zomg!, letting teachers teach is what actually matters.

My wife is one, and she complains often about all the various requirements dont leave much time to go beyond "the script", and the rules even dont allow for it. teachers today arent really teachers or educators, they are isntructors. instructors are like what I had in tech school training for my MOS in the marines. "this is this and then you do this"..."why?"..."who cares why, you just do it Marine!"

if you see where i'm going. like a teachable moment happened, where a kid shoved another for being different in some way. kid was just being a kid, you know how they are, but wife took a moment to lecture about what it means to be tolerant, accepting, how its an American ideal, etc etc etc. But it was outside the curriculum for that time slot, so my wife got reprimanded, officially for teaching history as a music teacher (she's the "cool music teacher" the kids go see for 45 minutes a day), but essentially for going outside the script. Utter BS is what it is though.

Re:You mean ... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227665)

This is one side of a good point showing how people refuse to have honest conversations about education. On the one hand, the drum is constantly beat on how teachers are underpaid because they are doing a great job at educating our youth, and on the other hand, their hands are tied, and they have become simple instructors, barred from actually teaching. The two arguments are mutually exclusive. (I know that you did not make both arguments)

Our education system is a total failure given the resources poured into it. Until honest conversations can be had concerning it, we can't make it better. Better for the students. Better for the teachers. Better for society as a whole.

Re:You mean ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41221941)

"You wasted $150,000 on an education you coulda got for $1.50 in late fees at the public library." - from Good Will Hunting
or
"The true university of these days is a collection of books." - Carlyle, Thomas

Re:You mean ... (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 2 years ago | (#41223585)

Wikipedia says the second one is:

"What we become depends on what we read after all of the professors have finished with us. The greatest university of all is a collection of books."

Which is subtly, but IMO importantly, different.

Though perhaps he said or wrote both things separately.

An extremely useful resource. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41221515)

A family member of mine quit high school a year ago when she was just beginning 11th grade. At that time, she didn't even understand fractions and could only do the most basic of basic math. Still, she got to grade 11 just by memorizing material, regurgitating it on a test, and then forgetting it. After she quit (she convinced her mother to let her learn math on her own), she started using Khan Academy. She's currently learning calculus and actually seems to understand the material (unlike many public school students). While Khan Academy may not be revolutionary or perfect, it's an extremely useful resource. You can't, however, just watch the videos passively and expect to learn. You have to actually think about the material, do things on your own, and attempt to understand it.

Re:An extremely useful resource. (2, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#41222323)

A family member of mine quit high school a year ago when she was just beginning 11th grade. At that time, she didn't even understand fractions and could only do the most basic of basic math. Still, she got to grade 11 just by memorizing material, regurgitating it on a test, and then forgetting it. After she quit (she convinced her mother to let her learn math on her own), she started using Khan Academy. She's currently learning calculus and actually seems to understand the material (unlike many public school students).

I have an uncle who thinks he's Napoleon. That doesn't mean I'm going to post anonymous astroturf forum comments asking people to enlist in his army.

You have to actually think about the material, do things on your own, and attempt to understand it.

Um, that's also how school works. The only difference with Khan! Academy is that you cannot camp out on the professors doorstep to berate him into changing your grade. That, and accountability.

Let's not bullshit here. Education is one of those last big pots of money sitting out there that corporations have not completely been able to make entirely their own. There is no surprise that's where they have their sights, because there are fewer and fewer of those big pots. Peoples' pensions was one, and they turned that into 401k's. Peoples' houses were another and we had first the Savings and Loan debacle and then in 2007 the job was complete and we're becoming a rental society. Every nickel that society has heretofore set aside for some social purpose is getting raided.

The few pots left are Social Security, which takes in a shit-load of cash every year, and we know what the corporate elite want to do with that, and education.

Once those are gone, I wonder if they're going to come for the fillings in our teeth. Just for the record, my fillings are all composite resins. Worthless on the secondary market.

Re:An extremely useful resource. (3, Insightful)

The Second Horseman (121958) | more than 2 years ago | (#41222853)

Absolutely right. This is an attempt to take billions of dollars and shift it to private industry. Romney referred to us as "Company" and not a "Country" the other day. We're at the point where I'm nostalgic for Bush II calling us "Consumers" instead of "Citizens". The middle class was created when wealth was redistributed down. Those at the top have spent the last 60 years working to reverse that, and they've nearly succeeded. Four years of Romney with a Republican congress will seal the deal.

Re:An extremely useful resource. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41222999)

The few pots left are Social Security, which takes in a shit-load of cash every year, and we know what the corporate elite want to do with that, and education.

Er. too late. Under Bush SS taxes were overcollected to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy. The largest holder of our national debt is SS.

All the talk about evil "entitlements" is aimed at not having to repay SS. Your McJob burger flipper pays more (total percentagewise) in SS and Medicare taxes (counting the employer's bite which doesn't show up in his paycheck) then Romney did/does in income taxes and Romney pays no SS/Medicare as he has no earned income.

Re:An extremely useful resource. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41225221)

The few pots left are Social Security, which takes in a shit-load of cash every year, and we know what the corporate elite want to do with that, and education.

blah blah BOOOSH'S FAULT!!!!! blah blah blah

FTFY

Heh. That utter dodging of responsibility is serving President Empty Chair wonderfully, ain't it?

Re:An extremely useful resource. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41223793)

I have an uncle who thinks he's Napoleon. That doesn't mean I'm going to post anonymous astroturf forum comments asking people to enlist in his army.

What the hell are you talking about? I just shared a good experience that a family member had using Khan Academy.

Um, that's also how school works.

I explicitly called it a resource and said that it wasn't perfect. Like a book, it is only a resource. Some people can teach themselves and others can't. Teachers are not one-size-fits-all solutions, and I did not say that everyone could do this. You don't have to drop out of school to use it, either.

But I will say this: right now, it's a hell of a lot better than our inefficient, soul-crushing public schools. At least it has been for her.

Re:An extremely useful resource. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41225183)

I have an uncle who thinks he's Napoleon. That doesn't mean I'm going to post anonymous astroturf forum comments asking people to enlist in his army.

1. Irrelevant straw man.
2. What's the effective difference between calling yourself "Anonymous Coward" and "Pope Ratzo"? How about "none"?

Um, that's also how school works.

ROFL. What color is the sky on your planet?

 

... accountability.

BWAA HAA HAAA!!!! [cbslocal.com]

Let's not bullshit here. Education is one of those last big pots of money sitting out there that corporations have not completely been able to make entirely their own.....

Oh NOES! Teh EVIL CORPORATIONS are coming to take over EDUCATION!!!!

Re:An extremely useful resource. (1)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 2 years ago | (#41226501)

If you didn't actually quote the OP, I would have thought you replied to the wrong post by accident. What do corporations have to do with Khan Academy, which is a non-profit funded by donations?

I mean, I fully agree that the 'privatization' of certain government services is a bad thing, I just don't see how it's relevant. If anything, Khan Academy can save our education system from the abysmal failure it's been for years. Best of all, it's a solution that doesn't depend on charter schools, which is the whole privatization attack on education. Khan Academy allows public schools to save massive amounts of money by unchaining them from the parasitic relationship textbook publishers have with them and gives them a useful purpose for all those computers laying around (really, until Khan Academy, I thought all those computers in K-12 schools were a huge waste of money).

So, what are you complaining about?

Re:An extremely useful resource. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41224605)

I understand this is your family member you're talking about, so I don't mean to be disrespectful, but the story you're telling is nothing new.

People have been dropping out of school early for decades, long before this online education stuff like Khan Academy. Some of them go back, some of them approach education with a different approach (like your family member), and some of them never finish.

I'm glad she likes Khan Academy, but the fact that it's helping a high school dropout doesn't mean it's the optimal way to learn, or that your family member made the best decision. Maybe if she had approached her work the same way then, things would have been different. Who knows.

I think these online educational opportunities are wonderful, but can never substitute for in-person education with a good educator.

If all you think education is is sitting back and listening to people, and working through a preset activity or quiz, then, yes, you can get that through Khan Academy. But that's not the same as a good education, and you could have gotten it in the past as well--through distance learning, by picking up a textbook and doing the exercises in the back.

The only education bubble here is the online education bubble.

Think about it this way: let's say you're going to see a physician, and have two choices, both of whom are newly minted MDs. One of them did all of their training online, and one of them had in-person training. Who would you choose to see? Honestly?

You could make the argument that certain fields require hands-on in person training, etc., but the reasoning about it applies everywhere.

Re:An extremely useful resource. (1)

iamwahoo2 (594922) | more than 2 years ago | (#41225591)

I am not intending too bash educators or the classroom experience, but I do not believe that you have supported your argument in favor of in class learning. In a perfect scenario, the in class experience has all of the advantage of the online experience with the added benefit of an instructor that can answer our question in person and adapt the course to the needs of the class. What about the real and all too imperfect world? Much of my public education involved some of the following problems that would not be present in online learning:
1. Inability to make up a missed lecture.
2. Unruly classrooms causing wasted time.
3. Most teachers that wasted student time by having them grade each other's papers.
4. Lesson plans that were put on hold when teachers were sick or absent.
5. Curriculums that could not accomodate the pace and needs of the students and parents.
6. A system that expects every parent to find the means to accomodate an inflexible schedule.
7. Much higher cost. ...And I am sure that is just the beginning.

My point is that the optimal solution is probably somewhere in the middle. A combination of parent directed online learning and teacher provided public/private education.

Did I Miss Something? (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#41221517)

Not too surprisingly, when it comes to revolutionizing student learning, teachers are bullish on teachers.

Is the purpose of this to revolutionize student learning or augment it? It's important because I think some people are thinking that students will not have to go to school anymore and instead just log into Khan Academy whereas I think the appropriate spot is as an aid or augmenting tool for educators everywhere -- parents, teachers, professors, you name it.

Also in that blog article:

While we don’t have official study results yet, great things are happening in our district for students and some of them are directly related to our use of Khan Academy. Teachers who have used Khan Academy as an instructional tool, have rethought their use of instructional time and are spending more time in math class on less traditional teaching methods effectively changing the student experience. Students are excited about the use of Khan Academy for several reasons: They get direct feedback when they are working a set of problems, they are able to visually see areas where they have excelled in math, and they are able to take some ownership of their own learning. Students are motivated in math and are excited to take on new challenges.

Which sounds pretty positive -- like the teachers are learning from the videos on how to more effectively teach math. They also say:

It is no secret that Khan Academy videos have come under fire in recent weeks. As educators in the Los Altos School District where Salman Khan’s free product was initially piloted and implemented, we would like to share our experiences utilizing Khan Academy as an instructional tool in a blended learning environment. By sharing our experiences, we hope to provide accurate information on how Khan Academy can be effectively used, clear up a few misconceptions, and share some of the lessons we have learned on our journey thus far.

The whole blog posting sounds like a departure from what the summary lead me to believe. I don't think anyone would be shocked or surprised to hear that teachers are using this as an augmenting tool and as for them being "bullish" I don't really see it. They are cautiously optimistic about this pilot program and say that it has resulted in good things inside the classroom.

E learning does work (4, Interesting)

arcite (661011) | more than 2 years ago | (#41221789)

E-learning does work. It works well in developing countries too, where local teachers may be weak and lack even the most basic skills. However research consistently shows that having a real teacher is superior (for a variety of reasons) to just relying on some static videos or interactive tutorials on a computer. Interestingly, training teachers in developing countries is still much cheaper and sustainable than deploying e-learning technology (ie. computers). Bill Gates has many technology initiatives in developing countries, but dig a little deeper, they have accomplished little (well, aside from getting some schools free Microsoft products).

Re:Did I Miss Something? (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 2 years ago | (#41224345)

The idea is diagnosing issue between a student and a content. In a traditional classroom this would be done by a quiz, after which a student would review what was missed. This is time consuming for the teacher and student and often is not adequately implemented. In a computer classroom, ideally, the content would be introduced, some questioned answered, and based on those answers topics reviewed. In both cases a motivated student will take the questions seriously and use the feedback to increase learning. A less motivated student will simply try to complete the questions as quickly as possible, this making the review material much less target, more random.

In this blended case the content is delivered offline, the students work problem sets online, and the data from these problem sets are delivered to the teacher so customized review sets can be developed. This is really useful, but Khan is far from unique. Without really analyzing the problem sets and seeing them in action, it is difficult to know if they provide long term useful information. The advantage is that the service is free. That said, IMHO, an integrated solution in which review and assessment is integrated is the better model.

Obligatory James T. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41221523)

KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!

Re:Obligatory James T. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41221889)

James Tiberius Khan?

Re:Obligatory James T. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41222455)

aw come on, no! :D
i should have put "Obligatory James T. quote" in the title.
I missed a word there.

Missing the point (5, Informative)

Hevel-Varik (2700923) | more than 2 years ago | (#41221565)

I am a middle aged, self-taught programmer/technologist who dropped out of math way, way too early. There's a ceiling to my ladder of growth in this, and that ceiling is math. I'm making my way through all the math videos on Khan--been at it for a half year or so-- and am starting to see cracks in the ceiling. He's an excellent teacher and there's a vast math playlist there. All this talk about KA's role in replacing/supplementing formal education obscures the concrete reality of there now being an unprecedented resource on-line for learning and self-empowerment. Also, little noted is just how good a teacher Khan really is. He's clear, humble, knowledgeable and very much into providing the intuition in addition to the mechanics. I thank G-d for Khan Academy everyday.

Re:Missing the point (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#41229441)

I am a middle aged self taught mathematician, philosopher, scientist, computer programmer, and cyberneticist. I've been using complex numbers and calculus since the schools only offered long division and number lines (~11.5 years old). I found that schooling supplied the very "ceiling" of which you speak. Ignoring my homework and instead advancing my development outside the class room (my Library, and other sources of knowledge: BBSs, and SIG groups at HAL-PC) I surpassed EVERYONE at my school, including teachers, in the areas of Mathematics and Computer Science (applied mathematics).

I put it to you that your own ceiling existed because of your early learning practices ingrained in you from a young age.

Furthermore, I find this ridiculous:
From TFS

Teachers in our district are highly valued for their pedagogical perspective

It's like they think we're morons. Teachers are valued for their pedagogical perspective?! Pedagogy is the science of education. So, Teachers are valued for their perspective as Teachers? What kind of Tautological nonsense is this!? I don't think so, otherwise they'd have learned from pedagogy that every child develops mentally at different rates and has different interests. I learned all I know because I was first fascinated by my ability to modify source code of video games written in BASIC. Today's Teachers have the WORST grasp of pedagogy, rivaled only by repressive governments that outlaw school and the Dark Ages. WTF people, we're not fools! Engineers aren't valued for their understanding of Engineering -- They're valued for their application of it. Teachers fail in the application of the science of learning so badly that it's harmed us all!

For instance, despite my deep grasp of mathematical concepts and application of them in computer science, I've never taken a final exam to prove I know what I know -- I studied economics and the economy of the situation proved illogical. We need entrance exams for jobs, not final exams. Our current system punishes people for learning any other way than the approved method. Merely switch to entrance exams for jobs and we allow people to circumvent tuition fees via Library, and prevent Degree Mills from churning out mindless morons who you will no doubt end up calling a "Manager" or "Boss" at some point...

Information is now at everyone's finger tips. Let those who want to learn, learn. Let those who do not want to learn Serve food and perform menial labor. Fuck the Teachers, they don't even know how to Learn!

Teaching actually does matter (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41221573)

While I would almost immediately agree that this report sounds like they are trivializing KA as just another tool to protect their jobs, there is some value to actually having a good teacher that engages your kid on an individual level. This is born out by smaller class sizes allowing for more individualized instruction, which in turn leads to less of a one-size-fits-all approach that is often derided for creating people who don't think, but just regurgitate information on demand.

Some good teachers can make a difference, but I think they were too busy uniting to cover their asses to make that point.

A video can't answer questions. (4, Interesting)

EWAdams (953502) | more than 2 years ago | (#41221679)

It also isn't nearly as good as a real teacher at inspiring students, and when a student doesn't get it, a video can't think of an alternate way to explain the same issue, or find an analogy the student understands.

This hatred of teachers becomes a downward spiral. We hate them, so we won't raise their pay, so fewer good people are inclined to take up the job -- who needs the hatred and the low pay? -- and so the quality gets worse, and down it goes.

Khan Academy is great, but it's only assistive technology, not a substitute for the real thing.

Re:A video can't answer questions. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41221765)

Khan Academy is great, but it's only assistive technology, not a substitute for the real thing.

I beg to differ. In some cases, people really do learn better when they're self-taught (and Khan Academy is just a resource). Everyone learns in different ways, and teachers aren't one-size-fits-all solutions.

but it can be better then big lecture classes (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#41221769)

but it can be better then big lecture classes where it's about the same with out the DVR control's.

Teachers (2, Interesting)

arcite (661011) | more than 2 years ago | (#41221839)

In North America, Teachers are consistently one of the least respected, poorest paid professionals, yet they work some of the longest hours (out of altruism) of anyone. Those teachers who don't burn out after their first few years, and continue to make it a career are the true heroes.

Re:Teachers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41222005)

Fuck the public school teachers. Fuck them in their fucking useless eyesockets. They want to be useful, they should be fired from public schools, public schools should be shut down and sold off. You want education - buy it like all other products.

Re:Teachers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41222655)

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why public discourse in the US is going to hell - too many aspys with delusions of grandeur. Oh, I'm talking about the libertardian commenter with no social skills, for those of you who need these hints.

Re:Teachers (4, Insightful)

orlanz (882574) | more than 2 years ago | (#41223089)

Why was this marked +4 Interesting? The poster basically posted a random all-encompassing opinion with out any sources.

In North America? Have you traveled to parts outside of the Continental US to make that claim? I don't think Mexico & Canada would like to be put into the same bucket.

Least Respected? You said NA so I am guessing compared to the world. There are many countries out there where the senior students run the school and/or the teachers only show up to work on pay day.

Poorest Paid Professional? Google: http://www.teacherportal.com/teacher-salaries-by-state/ [teacherportal.com]
Average HOUSEHOLD income? Google: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States [wikipedia.org]
Nuff Said (if you compare to most other countries, foreign teachers make less or about the same relative to other jobs there).

Longest hours? Google: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/survey-teachers-work-53-hours-per-week-on-average/2012/03/16/gIQAqGxYGS_blog.html [washingtonpost.com]

53?!? And 6-8 weeks of PTO? WOW. Talk to any IT Developer, 50-100 hours per week. Average, easily 60. I was in Accounting & Auditing and averaged 55 hours (60+ for month, quarter, & annual closes). In IT, averaged 55; 100+ for deadlines. As an IT PM, 50-70 hours. 15-20 days PTO + 10 holidays.

And no, that does not count the hours spent on further education, certifications, and air travel for clients. And in the consulting world, not seeing home Monday to Thursday. Yes, our salaries are higher, 50k starting and growing to 80k+ over 5+ years, but considering the hours, I think comparable to teachers.

BUT COME ON, "consistently one of the least respected, poorest paid professionals... longest hours of anyone"? BULL! Go see a few episodes of Dirty Jobs.

Seniority has nothing to do with teachers becoming "heroes". My teacher heroes can be counted on both hands and they were some of the least paid in the schools (except 2). I respect them to the Nth degree. But the worst teachers, although just 4, made some of the highest salaries (90k+). Every time this topic comes up, I remember those 4 and think how much of a handicap each generation that they touch start off with. All the other teachers were mediocre but I still thank them for their contribution to what I am today.

Re:Teachers (2)

MattskEE (925706) | more than 2 years ago | (#41224075)

Longest hours? Google: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/survey-teachers-work-53-hours-per-week-on-average/2012/03/16/gIQAqGxYGS_blog.html [washingtonpost.com]

53?!? And 6-8 weeks of PTO? WOW. Talk to any IT Developer, 50-100 hours per week. Average, easily 60. I was in Accounting & Auditing and averaged 55 hours (60+ for month, quarter, & annual closes). In IT, averaged 55; 100+ for deadlines. As an IT PM, 50-70 hours. 15-20 days PTO + 10 holidays.

And no, that does not count the hours spent on further education, certifications, and air travel for clients. And in the consulting world, not seeing home Monday to Thursday. Yes, our salaries are higher, 50k starting and growing to 80k+ over 5+ years, but considering the hours, I think comparable to teachers.

Just because you personally and possibly your industry are overworked doesn't mean you should belittle how hard teachers work. Why are you putting in so many hours anyway? In a school the (good) teachers put in extra time out of the love of teaching and their desire to see their students succeed and the teachers are overworked because there's not enough money to hire extra teachers.

Is IT really an important enough job to be putting in 100 hours per week? That's 14 hours/day 7 days/week during crunch time!! Are you at least getting OT or ST for those extra hours? You might be doing it out of love for your job but your manager and company are doing it because they love you putting in ~1.5 people's worth of work for 1 person's pay.

Re:Teachers (2)

codepigeon (1202896) | more than 2 years ago | (#41224333)

Are you seriously complaining that teaches ONLY work 53 hours a week? Are you sick in the head?

You seem to making the argument that working 50-100 hours per week should be the goal of every Citizen. Screw that. I want to enjoy life with my family. You can work your 100hrs/week. Enjoy that heart attack at age 45 and leave teachers alone.

Re:Teachers (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227925)

No, he was pointing out that the previous poster was lying about teachers being the poorest paid and having the longest hours. You are a good example of why honest discussions don't happen concerning education. Lies get told, and when the lies are called out, people like you try to shift the focus of the conversation with straw man arguments in an attempt to make it look like the person who called out the lie is being mean to teachers.

Re:Teachers (1)

Seraphim_72 (622457) | more than 2 years ago | (#41225745)

Why is this modderated +4? Its sources are crap.

"Poorest Paid Professional? Google: http://www.teacherportal.com/teacher-salaries-by-state/ [teacherportal.com] [teacherportal.com]"

  Yeah, here is a group I am going to trust. Who owns the site? Oh an ad company. What three colleges are on their site, oh, on-line for profits. Yeah, no bias there to drag the numbers up.

Heres one to try: MYTH: Teachers make just as much as other, comparable professions. [nea.org] It says:

"FACT: According to a recent study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the teaching profession has an average national starting salary of $30,377. Meanwhile, NACE finds that other college graduates who enter fields requiring similar training and responsibilities start at higher salaries:

        Computer programmers start at an average of $43,635,
        Public accounting professionals at $44,668, and
        Registered nurses at $45,570."

Don't like that? Try this:

"The average salary for full-time public school teachers in 2010–11 was $56,069 in current dollars (i.e. dollars that are not adjusted for inflation). In constant (inflation-adjusted) dollars, the average salary was about 3 percent higher in 2010–11 than in 1990–91. " nces.ed.gov [ed.gov]

"Average HOUSEHOLD income? Google: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States [wikipedia.org] [wikipedia.org]"

Now for Google, yeah lets look at that average Household. in 2003 (horribly old as shit data) Households with a person with a professional degree was $100,000 so our average teacher has a spouse making ~$44,000 which means in general the spouse has either a Bachelors or a Masters. What a shock, two college educated people make good money - the horror

"And 6-8 weeks of PTO?"

This old saw? Try 6-8 weeks of unemployment where you are STILL doing your job to get ready for the next year.

"As an IT PM, 50-70 hours. 15-20 days PTO + 10 holidays."

No wonder you are so confused, you are sleep deprived.

"BUT COME ON, "consistently one of the least respected, poorest paid professionals... longest hours of anyone"? BULL! Go see a few episodes of Dirty Jobs."

I don't know the show but do they have lots of PROFESSIONALS on dirty jobs? I had no idea.

Re:A video can't answer questions. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41223161)

Exactly. So the teachers should quit lecturing. They should give them the textbook titles and KA URLs. Then, they should stand by for online questions.

If the teacher then thinks they can make a better lecture, they should feel free to contribute a competing presentation to the KA library. That way, they would be helping students in all places and all times. And wouldn't it be a lasting legacy, if your lecture was still up there after 10 or 20 years?

Re:A video can't answer questions. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41224395)

It also isn't nearly as good as a real teacher at inspiring students, and when a student doesn't get it, a video can't think of an alternate way to explain the same issue, or find an analogy the student understands.

In fact automated learning allows collection of data about exactly what children have a hard time understanding or just think is boring by for example tracking what parts of a video that they replay. That way you can work on improving exactly those magic 30s where there really is a problem and you can get actual, useful, precise, meaningful feedback about whether what you did actually improved things. You can also let students ask for a more thorough presentation on a particular topic and those students can then get an extended version of exactly what they want. You can also use some AI to try to predict what should be shown to a student based on past behavior. I think that teachers are better at understanding the needs of each particular student, but I doubt that in the long run that will be more important than the economies of scale and the benefits of statistical information that automated teaching brings. Of course, what you need to do is combine the two - use a computer AND a teacher.

Re:A video can't answer questions. (1)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 2 years ago | (#41226601)

It doesn't try to replace teachers, it's an attempt to change the role of teachers. Instead of being a lecturer - basically thrown in the spotlight in front of a large group of kids and trying to teach them all at once - a teacher can now work with individuals. The data Khan Academy provides them is phenomenal. They know who is working on what and how well they're doing. This allows the teachers to focus on the kids who need help while letting those who are ahead of the curve continue working at a faster pace.

I have all the love in the world for teachers and I agree they are generally disrespected and underpaid. But one of the main ways they're disrespected is by being forced to teach using an archaic system that just doesn't work no matter how good of a teacher they are. This whole idea that "tenth grade students should test at this level and eleventh grade students should test at this level" is flat out incorrect. Khan Academy may be only an assistive technology, but it's the first assistive technology that can fundamentally change teaching for the better to come about since the chalk board.

Pilot educators (1, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#41221925)

There's no way I'm getting on a plane where the pilot learned how to fly from Khan's academy.

Re:Pilot educators (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41222235)

As long as they get their license, I wouldn't care. I would prefer someone with more experience though, no matter where or how they got it.

Re:Pilot educators (1)

iamwahoo2 (594922) | more than 2 years ago | (#41225781)

There is no way that I am getting on a plane where the pilot learned to fly by sitting in a 30 person classroom with unruly 15 year olds while copying down notes that are written on a blackboard.

Most valuable lessons (1)

Haawkeye (2680377) | more than 2 years ago | (#41222031)

Ok first I am biase because I am a teacher..... I think that one of the most important things being over looked with all the current movements is the social learning that happens in a school. Those of the most valuable things I can do with a child is help them learn coping mechanisms and problems solving skills. When they have a problem with another student or me it is a golden opportunity to learn something valuable. This is not measured or tested. I am glad my own children go to school and have to learn this.

Re:Most valuable lessons (1)

iamwahoo2 (594922) | more than 2 years ago | (#41226125)

Classrooms provide very poor environments for social learning because children are learning from children who are equally immature. Human beings were not meant to be grouped by age and monitored in large groups by a single adult. We only do this for efficiency reasons, not because it is good for the childs social or cognitive development. The average public school is detrimental to a childs social skills. Kids can be downright abusive toward each other and not only do they create a culture where poor social habits are spread but when a child is threatened their fight or flight response kicks in which impairs the ability of their brain to learn. The best way for a child to learn social skills is to raise them in a nuturing and safe environment with plenty of opportunities to interact with mature groups of adults. That ain't new.

The real value of KhanAcademy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41222155)

The real value of KhanAcademy is not in the content quality, but her low cost approach when we compare it with "classical" high cost multimedia production. This low cost make possible content quantity. Replace Knan lecture with high content teacher specialist and you will have bether content than average teacher, for a low cost investment.

Double hitter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41222181)

Yes iKAHHHHN.

Flipping the Classroom (2)

l810c (551591) | more than 2 years ago | (#41222419)

Re:Flipping the Classroom (1)

PotatoHead (12771) | more than 2 years ago | (#41223389)

Yes. My comment down thread touches on this, but this video really does highlight where things can go.

Teachers get the time to figure out the kids. Once they do that, they can mentor and build that kid into the great person they can be, well educated, capable.

Sweet mercy, you mean videos aren't the answer? (4, Interesting)

InvisibleClergy (1430277) | more than 2 years ago | (#41222545)

I loathe watching videos. Hate hate hate. Videos are not effective for general learning. And I know, some people "have different learning styles", but everybody and their brother thinks that it's a good idea to make invariably-shitty videos about things that people want to learn. I want to read something with pictures. I don't want to watch a damn video.

Re:Sweet mercy, you mean videos aren't the answer? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#41224005)

I think it has to do with how you learned to learn. I don't want to watch videos either, unless they are very content-dense. But I grew up with a set of encylopedias in my room, and I'm a speed reader. For the average kid who grew up in front of a TV, videos are probably the most effective single method.

MENTORS -- That's the new model (3, Interesting)

PotatoHead (12771) | more than 2 years ago | (#41223271)

Looking back on my own primary school education, which happened in the 70's and 80's, the best education I got was from those teachers who delivered the material well, often relating it to real life things, or concepts that I could understand, and those that took the time to understand who I was, even if I didn't yet. They were the mentors. They helped to change my life for the better. They teased out things they saw and developed them. They are the ones I did contact long after school to say, "thanks."

I can understand teachers -- educators in general getting a bit nervous over something like Kahn Academy. After all, who really needs teachers when kids can just plug in and get smart?

But the thing is, a vast majority of kids won't do that. Some of them can't. Others can, but won't be self-aware and self-directed enough to do that. For most kids, we need teachers at a minimum, and we really need mentors big. A short story:

In High School, I was exposed to Apple ][ computers. There is an Apple //e on my desk that I use regularly to this day. (Electronics, retro programming, writing) We had some programmed instruction material on disks that was supposed to teach us about the computers. Most everybody was new as the computers were only there for a year or two before I showed up.

Basically, the whole idea was to have the teacher shepard the students through the material, answering questions, etc... and most importantly, just make sure they do it. Anyone could do this, given a dry run or two, and some supplementary material to prep on. In fact, as a student, I did exactly that as part of some project.

That's what the teachers fear, and they are right about it too. The thing is, we've been fixated in the US, on test scores and other hard metrics to a point where we totally ignore the real education. Class time is planned down to small increments, test score stakes have been raised right along with requirements in such a way as to dictate what happens in the classroom, and this denies the educator the opportunity to actually educate!

Now, back to that story! These problems were not really manifesting themselves during my time. Some changes could be seen, but for the most part, my High School education was robust, as it happened before we really started the ugly changes. A few of us found out that we could type ctrl-c on the keyboard and break the flow of the BASIC program contained on the disks! Of course, it didn't take long to LIST the program, and then change it, saving it back onto the disk, which we did.

Back then, material would be contained on copied floppies with those floppies distributed each day from the stack. One never really got the same floppy, and students would sometimes carry their own data floppy too, depending on what they were doing. A group of four of us modified that program, with the goal of introducing some jokes in the hopes of the floppy shuffle putting them in the hands of other students! It worked great! The day after we did it, one of us got the modified disk, no fun, but three other students got them too, and the laughter triggered questions leading back to us!

Now, why do we need educators? How does mentoring play out in this digital age where we've got so much information available? This is why:

That teacher, who doubled as the geometry teacher, took us aside and talked about it. He could have disciplined us at that time, really impacting lives, but he didn't. Instead, we got assigned a different track. Our requirement for that year was to learn all we could. We had to decide to do something, state why, then actually do it. If we did that, we got the A grade. If we didn't, we were back in the planned track, just doing the rote exercises, and probably a B grade, because he knew better.

That year changed my life, and that of my four friends! We went from running games to cracking them. We learned binary math the hard way, having just the computer, some photocopied reference material and problems to solve. Problems like, "how do we use these small integer numbers to do real things?" kinds of problems. Signed math, boolean ops, programming in BASIC, PASCAL, LOGO, and 6502 assembly language. Actually, it was machine language first, because we didn't know about the little Mini Assembler, until after we had written a few small CALL routines as DATA statements in Applesoft.

The machines got CP/M upgrades, and honestly we got those because the educators were running some CP/M school apps and wanted help! My senior project was to teach LOGO, and I did. Wrote out a whole semester of exercises, handouts, lecture notes, the works, all under the watchful eye of our mentor, who saw it happening and did what he needed to in order to see it maximized. That guy fetched books, sometimes people, and made things possible. We would be there peering at the ROM listings to make our own 6502 reference, then a day or two later, a data book showed up... And throughout he asked the hard questions and held us to some standards, like doing what we said we were going to do, then doing something else.

The four of us went on to careers involving computing. I thank that guy every so often when I feel that spark of seeing new things, wanting to learn. He taught us how to learn how to learn, and inspired us to do it too.

Back then, resources were hard to find, no Internet, no Google, lots of just thinking, talking and trying stuff. Today, it's different. We need the mentors and the people builders far more than we need people just making sure kids sit in the seat and do what they are told while watching some videos... Those people change lives, and those changed lives --those adults will be taking care of us when we get old, and they will carry our legacy forward, build on it, and do great things. ...or they get ignored, those bits of potential not teased out to shine, just doing ordinary things in ordinary ways largely because nobody actually showed them how to be extraordinary.

We all see the fantastic kid who got on the Internet, built some thing, blah, blah, blah... There will always be those, and they are great just by who they are and the freedom they might have to exploit that. For most everybody else, we need teachers to teach, but we also need them to mentor and build and leverage all this information in ways that builds great people.

let's get this straight (1)

trippytom (569403) | more than 2 years ago | (#41223437)

Education majors enter college with the worst scores and leave with the highest grades. And we are listening to them? http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505145_162-37245744/heres-the-nations-easiest-college-major/ [cbsnews.com] From personal experience in the an undergrad Math department, the Math education crew were largely though of as do gooders along for the ride. They were conspicuously absent form upper level Math and CS courses, but the History of Math elective I took was filled with them. It is sad so few choose to get into teaching for the right reasons, but understandable. More links ... http://www.campusexplorer.com/college-advice-tips/7DF05979/Easiest-College-Majors/ [campusexplorer.com] http://www.thebestcolleges.org/top-10-easiest-and-hardest-college-degree-majors/ [thebestcolleges.org] http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/06/education/edlife/why-science-majors-change-their-mind-its-just-so-darn-hard.html?pagewanted=all [nytimes.com]

Khan Academy is a huge win for teachers (1)

bob8766 (1075053) | more than 2 years ago | (#41223701)

Khan Academy teaches a topic to a classroom, then tests and generates reports on who knows the particular lesson and how well they know it. The teacher can then spend time with the few students who are having trouble with it and let the 80% of students who grokked it move on to other material. Teachers can spend their time teaching to the students who need help learning, instead of a largely bored classroom of people who got it the first time.

It also tells you how good the software is. If 80% of the people are getting it, that's good. If only 25% of the people are getting it, it's time to rework that lesson.

Humans need other humans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41223845)

I am a big advocate for online learning. I have a masters in Electrical Engineering but switched fields to Software Engineering 5 years ago. I myself have augmented my Computer Science knowledge by auditing course materials from MIT and Princeton. This has been highly valuable to me in my journey. However, when my brother in-law who has a PhD in computer Science, answers one of my questions it does a few things for me.
1. The question gets answered well.
2. I am now more motivated to learn because I had some human contact instead of being all alone on my journey.
3. Exposes even more questions than I had considered previously.

We need a human in the loop somewhere. However, the role of traditional lectures where the human sits and drones on and on what students can easily read isn't necessarily the best use of time. If you look at what MIT is doing with MITx on their own campus you start to see the future of education. Read "Is MIT Giving away the Farm" at the following link to see what I mean http://www.technologyreview.com/mitnews/428698/is-mit-giving-away-the-farm/

In conclusion, human in the loop is necessary. However, we need to use that human more effectively.

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