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Khan Academy Will Be Ready For Its Close-Up In Idaho

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the required-online-eh dept.

Education 102

theodp writes "Education officials with Northwest Nazarene University and the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation say they are arranging to have Khan Academy classes tested in about two dozen public schools next fall in Idaho, where state law now requires high school students to take online courses for two of their 47 graduation credits. 'This is the first time Khan Academy is partnering to tackle the math education of an entire state,' said Khan Academy's Maureen Suhendra. Alas, the Idaho Press-Tribune reports (alas, behind a paywall) that next fall would be too late for film director and producer Davis Guggenheim (Waiting for Superman, An Inconvenient Truth), who will be in Idaho in January filming The Great Teacher Project, a documentary which will highlight positives of education, like the Khan Academy pilot in Idaho. Not to worry. For the film, a few teachers will implement Khan Academy in day-to-day teaching starting in January, before the entire pilot program launches in fall 2013."

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Required online courses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42467261)

Why would they require every student to take online courses?

Re:Required online courses? (3, Funny)

negRo_slim (636783) | about 2 years ago | (#42467401)

So they can demonstrate competency and commitment in acquiring knowledge and meeting objectives via a computer? Hell if it can just gird them to deal with Pearson's wonderful online software then it's a requirement well met, imho.

will they have the stink that other online schools (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#42467431)

will they have the stink that other online schools get??

UOFP get's a lot of that and they have real in person class rooms as well.

Re:will they have the stink that other online scho (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | about 2 years ago | (#42471275)

will they have the stink that other online schools get??

UOFP get's a lot of that and they have real in person class rooms as well.

They have so many classrooms that it's silly to call Phoenix an online school, unless you also want to include on that list other schools that offer both online and campus based programs, like Berkeley, Georgetown, Brandeis, UNC-Chapel Hill, George Washington University, University of Virginia, etc.

To save money (1)

crow (16139) | about 2 years ago | (#42467469)

I'm pretty sure the idea of online courses it that they're cheaper than in-person courses.

Re:To save money (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 2 years ago | (#42468075)

No, it's not to save money. We voted out their stupid "Buy Every Kid A Laptop" to save money program because any moron knew it was going to cost a lot more money then all the teachers they cut to spend the money on Laptops. They just wanted to give HP 150 Million every few years. We voted out the stupid "Lets Bust the Teachers Union" to save money because we're already a right-to-work state, they just wanted to do some useless union busting. We voted against requiring students to have online courses because the K-12 [dianeravitch.net] online program does nothing but make more dropouts than a public school. But they helped pay for the Super Intendents campaign a few years back so he figured he owed them. We figured it was a waist of money.

It's not about money ether. We originally voted in a 6 cent sales tax that was marketed as money that was supposed to go to our public schools. Once past, the legislature turned around and said the state constitution says ALL REVENUE goes into the general fund. Boise, the best school district in the state, passed it's own tax increase to counter all the budget cuts the State Legislature has put though.

This is being done because the Legislature thinks that Khan Academy can be used to rout the public school system. Nothing more, Nothing less. On the other had, Khan Academy is honestly trying to help, and if they can prove to be a benefit then they will be adopted.

Re:To save money (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#42468387)

I'm pretty sure the idea of online courses it that they're cheaper than in-person courses.

"First, disconnect battery cables, ignition wiring harness, air intake hose, remove fan cowling. Drain cooling system and set coolant aside. Place lift hooks into engine lift attachements. Next place support beneath transmission and loosen engine mounting bolts from transmission ..."

Damn, but this is hard to do in a second floor flat.

Re:Required online courses? (2, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 2 years ago | (#42467475)

Two guesses:

1. Someone noticed that kids who took online classes were doing better than average in school. The geniuses in the Idaho state legislature assumed that correlation is the same thing as causation, and thus decided that if EVERYONE took online classes, everyone would do better than they were now.

2. The Idaho legislature spent too much money and/or cut taxes too much. Someone pointed out that teachers cost more money than an internet connection. Someone else suggsted raising taxes to pay for teachers' salaries. That second person was laughed out of the building.

(To clarify, I'm cynical about state legislators, not online classes or specifically the Khan Academy, which could indeed be a big improvement over public school teachers.)

Re:Required online courses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42467773)

This is Idaho we are talking about. They are probabily more focused on getting people to leagally own bazookas than providing a decent education for the future.

Re:Required online courses? (3, Insightful)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | about 2 years ago | (#42468363)

The majority of people in Idaho live in or around the Boise area you ignorant fuck. We're not all hillbillies. I'm not saying that our legislature doesn't comprise a good portion of ignorant hicks doing what ignorant hicks do, but there are some sensible people here too trying to get somethings changed for the better, especially for our children. It's just really hard to do when you have a republican stranglehold on EVERY conceivable state government outlet.

Re:Required online courses? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#42468831)

The majority of people in Idaho live in or around the Boise area you ignorant fuck. We're not all hillbillies.

Boise's a great place. Wonderful people. I lived there for 3 years, early in my career.

But drive 40 miles in any direction and you might as well be in Kazakhstan.

Re:Required online courses? (1)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | about 2 years ago | (#42468881)

I'd suspect they are more civilized in Kazakhstan than in some of the more rural area's in Idaho. Probably drive better too.

Re:Required online courses? (1)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | about 2 years ago | (#42468897)

*areas. God damnit.

Re:Required online courses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42469359)

... Probably drive better too.

That's a very low bar to meet. I drove a cross-country loop from Idaho to Florida and back 3 years ago. Probably passed through half the states in the union during that trip. I can say confidently that the Idaho drivers were the most situationally unaware of them all. And God help you if you get stuck behind anyone with "2C" plates.

Re:Required online courses? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 years ago | (#42473221)

Why does Texas have the oil and Idaho have potatoes?

Idaho had first pick.

Re:Required online courses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42469383)

Dude,

Boise is the liberal armpit of Idaho (Sun Valley and Ketchum are the other liberal armpit)... Go back to California.

-signed-
Rural Native Idahoan

Re:Required online courses? (1)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | about 2 years ago | (#42475473)

I was born and raised in this state. Keep your rural roots, I shed mine years ago thankfully.

Re:Required online courses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42472409)

If the people around Boise who don't consider themselves to be hillbillies resort to terms like "ignorant fuck" I can't imagine the conversation with their country cousins.

Re:Required online courses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42474415)

Ahhh, nothing is as fun as the rage of mid-westerners bitter about their lot in life. Boise is a hell hole, it may be 'liberal' by Idaho standards, but it's still one of the worst places I have ever had the misfortune of visiting.

Re:Required online courses? (1)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | about 2 years ago | (#42475409)

Again, Boise is part of the Northwest, no where near the mid-west, you ignorant fuck.

Re:Required online courses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42476019)

Ahhh, nothing is as fun as the rage of mid-westerners bitter about their lot in life. Boise is a hell hole, it may be 'liberal' by Idaho standards, but it's still one of the worst places I have ever had the misfortune of visiting.

And we thank you for not staying.

Re:Required online courses? (2, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 2 years ago | (#42467493)

High school is less about learning information than it is about learning how to learn. Learning from an online source is how a lot of people are going to continue their education after school and being able to learn in that environment is important to success. When you don't know how to code something, do you look at the local colleges for classes or do you Google around for a tutorial? I would encourage high schools to make every student take a self directed course of the student's choice, but there's no way they have the teaching manpower to do it effectively. This provides at least a glimpse of what real world (read: after high school/college) learning is about.

Re:Required online courses? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42467763)

Um, High School (at least in the US) is less about learning anything and more about fitting in and trying to be as popular as possible. For those less inclined to popularity, high school is less about learning and more about trying to survive humiliation and degradation day to day in order to hopefully get to college, where one can then be saddled with explosive nondischargable debt in the hopes of conforming to some vague materialistic notion of a middle class existence.

Your insinuation that government-sponsored "education" is anything more than just taxpayer funded mandatory day-care and indoctrination is laughable. Keep reaching for that rainbow, Citizen!

Re:Required online courses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42467945)

No it's not. Just because you didn't fit in doesn't mean it's high school's fault. Take a look at yourself instead of blaming others for your failings.

Re:Required online courses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42468275)

My high school experience was nothing like his, but you'd have to be seriously blind to not see that most people are imbeciles in general. Even though I technically 'fit in', I could see that most of the other students were ignoramuses who were incapable of accepting others who were even the slightest bit different (people with no expensive clothing, people who are homosexuals, people who look like nerds, etc.). Granted, not absolutely everyone was like that, but to say it's always your fault that you're being picked on is quite wrong.

That said, anyone with a brain knows that high school is actually about rote memorization and teaching to the test.

Re:Required online courses? (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 years ago | (#42468389)

Maybe the schools in your state need to be improved. I basically didnt need to study in Bio 101 a few years ago because I remembered a lot of the info from 9th grade biology. The math class I was required to take for my degree was several notches below the Calculus, trig, and even algebra 2 classes I took in 10th, 11th, and 12th grades. The civics class I took in 10th grade is responsible for a great deal of my working knowledge of how our government works.

Honestly, if more people had paid attention in Civics, we might be in a much better situation politically than we are across the board. Maybe YOU should have paid more attention in highschool.

in order to hopefully get to college, where one can then be saddled with explosive nondischargable deb

Sounds like you could have also learned about fiscal responsibility and cost-benefit in highschool too-- though I will agree most places dont warn you about the dangers of $30k+ tuition, one would think a rudimentary math education could serve as a warning. Most in-state tuition runs less than $6k [cnn.com] , which is earnable (after taxes) by waiting tables-- I know because I did it, and ended with 0 college debt. One could attend UVa ($12k / year), Va Tech (~$7k / year), William & Mary (~$6800 /year), or GMU (~$6500 / year) without breaking the bank, and I believe theyre all considered "top universities".

The trick is to go to in-school colleges that you can afford; and if you consider it a "big deal" to go to a certain university that you cannot afford to pay out-of-state for, you could always establish residency there. The trick is also to make your decision with a mind to reality and your ability to pay for tuition; but it seems from the entitlement mentality on slashdot at least that that is a lesson still not learned.

Re:Required online courses? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 years ago | (#42468413)

Apologies those were per-semester rates, except for UVA which was indeed the per-year rate.

Re:Required online courses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42468717)

Sounds like the lament of a bitter neck-beard to me ...

Public schools provide a semi-structured framework for education, both academic and social. Learning how to "fit in" or how to get along while not fitting in is all part of the process. This is a valuable life lesson and you obviously never picked it up.

Taxes provide the facilities and faculty and raw materials. They can't make you learn calculus and they can't make you learn how not to be a dejected, self-pitying loser. That's on you. Grow a pair.

Re:Required online courses? (1)

Howitzer86 (964585) | about 2 years ago | (#42469459)

You sound bitter. Financial Aid debt sucks for sure. If you don't make enough to keep up with your loan repayments, sign up for either Income Based Repayment (if you're below the poverty line) or Income Contingent Repayment (easier to qualify). It does what it says on the tin, and as an added bonus, if you've continuously fail to make a decent wage the loan debt will be forgiven after 30 years.

Re:Required online courses? (1, Troll)

uncqual (836337) | about 2 years ago | (#42468597)

Khan Academy classes do little, if anything, to teach the student to learn and seek out information in less structured environments. A link to outside information is rare (vs. links to videos and exercises within Khan Academy that are related to the current video or exercise). Searching within Khan Academy for information on a simple concept can be problematic as well - esp. if you don't know exactly what you're looking for.

Although I like Khan Academy and think it could have a role in the classroom, it needs a lot of improvement. If such improvement doesn't happen at a faster pace than it is, Khan Academy is likely to fade into the sunset taking donor's money with them.

The folksy nature of the videos is tiring and the sloppy execution just wastes students' time and confuses them. If a "live" classroom teacher makes an error, as all humans do, it impacts about 30 students for a few minutes and the teacher can correct the error and get immediate feedback from the students about if they are still confused by the original error and clear up the confusion. Worst case, a bit of material gets deferred to the next class for those 30 students due to the delay caused by the error. When a video in Khan Academy makes an error, and then corrects it 30 seconds later, it leaves many viewers (perhaps hundreds of thousands) confused and there's no ability for Sal et al to sense that the students are confused and address that issue. If any significant error is made in a video, the video should be remade or edited as needed - failing to do so smacks of laziness and arrogance and demeans the value of the viewer's time while failing to set an expectation to students of what is expected of a public presentation.

Production quality is low as well. The simple thing of making the text as Sal scribbles easier to read, even something as simple as abandoning the black background and using slightly wider lines, would help.

It's obvious that the video lessons are not planned well. While the conversational tone and the "handwriting" helps keep attention, it's just painful to watch Sal stumble around deciding (and narrating his on the fly decisions) to "let's make that a different color" while he undoes and rewrites what he just did. I know Sal is very proud of the fact that he doesn't prepare for the videos -- but it comes off as arrogant (perhaps because it is arrogant).

And, of course, we all know about the sloppiness. Is (2 - -3) "subtracting a minus 3 from 2" or "subtracting a negative 3 from 2? Some such things float by in live classroom situations without causing problems, but why not get it right (or at least consistent across all Khan videos) when all you have to do is reshoot or edit a video?

The "coach" role is a joke for use by a teacher who is managing a classroom and responsible for monitoring student progress. If a school is going to invest significant instructional time/money using Khan Academy as a teaching tool, these problems MUST be addressed. The tools are clumsy to use and fail to provide good visibility into student progress in a meaningful way. For example, there's no way to direct students, during class times, to work first/only on exercises or videos that were assigned and this creates problems with focus and allows simple errors, such as when a student picks the wrong video and works on it for ten minutes, to go undetected (I've seen that often). For another example, "Teachers" should be able to set goals for their class and individual students and those goals should be "lockable".

Sal is enjoying his 15 minutes of popular media fame too much and isn't working hard enough to actually improve education.

Re:Required online courses? (1)

TheSync (5291) | about 2 years ago | (#42469489)

Production quality is low as well. The simple thing of making the text as Sal scribbles easier to read, even something as simple as abandoning the black background and using slightly wider lines, would help.

Are Khan Academy original video sources available for download? If we could crowdsource people using video editing software to simply cut out his "umms" and "ahhhs" I think it would be a good start!

Re:Required online courses? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42467511)

There are probably several reasons. One, use of the computer for a course ensures that you must know how to use it. Two, it eases the strain on facilities by requiring fewer in person classes. Three, it enables teachers to use the internet more fully in their class. Fourth, it enables more classes to be taught with the same amount of effort. Fifth, a lot of colleges and universities are going much more toward online classes, so it is useful to get used to them. (In my experience, CS classes have become entirely dependent on online components to their class, though they still require in person attendance as well). Sixth, we are a highly technological society, and we have often mandated the use of technology in education, so this isn't really any different.

Re:Required online courses? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42468277)

I'm from Idaho, this article is misleading. The laws that were to require students to take classes online were overturned by voter initiatives last November.

Online Income (-1, Offtopic)

gujamari (2807759) | about 2 years ago | (#42467273)

as Jane responded I am alarmed that a single mom can profit $6422 in one month on the computer. did you look at this webpage http://www.cloud65.com/ [cloud65.com]

Union busting quacks (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 2 years ago | (#42467349)

Ignorant hedge fund billionaires using poor people's kids pawns in their war against the unions. That's "education reform."

http://edworkersunite.blogspot.com/ !!!!!

REQUIRES?!?!? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42467367)

Whos pocket got lined to make that a requirement... wow.

I'm all for online education. but required? really? looks like the start of another govt mandated money grab.

Re:REQUIRES?!?!? (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 2 years ago | (#42467533)

Yeah! I'm sure the Kahn academy is rolling in the dough from this arrangement! Wait- what's that you say? Kahn academy's courses are free? Oh... um... EVIL Government socialists! Get your hands off our (publicly financed, ran, and mandated) education!

Practice section is still lacking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42467419)

I don't know why they limited themselves to a few templates in the 'text questions' section, that removes the whole point of having them. While doing them I just had to read the first word, then look at the numbers and calculate the answer.

Cheating (1, Insightful)

knopf (894888) | about 2 years ago | (#42467471)

As long as these online teaching systems cannot eliminate cheating, the earned credits worthless for attesting a basic education (in contrast to extended learning). As a straightforward exploit, one person can register multiple times with different identities and then blindly copy&paste the answers for the questions. While the cheater will still learn more compared to just failing or not taking the course it is questionable whether this method will allow the cheater to learn the required minimum to earn the credit.

Re:Cheating (2)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | about 2 years ago | (#42467789)

You mean the same cheating that traditional classrooms eliminated... never?

Re:Cheating (2)

flimflammer (956759) | about 2 years ago | (#42468189)

No, not even in the same ballpark as the kind of cheating that goes on in class.

I never truly realized how bad online coursework was until my kid sister was required to do some of them in her high school this year. She was almost downright encouraged to cheat on them just to keep the classes moving. They were allowed (and supposed to) do coursework at home, and the software they used is so stupid about detecting cheating that it's basically worthless. (The software would forbid new tabs from being opened in the current browser fine, but would not stop or detect new windows from being opened).

My sister then showed me the true power of Google, where she could copy the question in its entirety to the clipboard, paste it into Google, and the first 6-7 results would be the exact question on something like Yahoo answers or a variety of other sites, where the answer is easily given.

She's attending a normal high school in San Diego. I was dumbfounded by how this online coursework is conducted.

Looks like they're just trying to offload teaching from teachers to computers. It's sad, really.

Re:Cheating (1)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | about 2 years ago | (#42469371)

So... like test banks at any college club?

In the end, it's either lazy teachers not willing to come up with new material or lazy students not wanting to learn the material. You can't fix lazy and the cheaters will be outed eventually.

Re:Cheating (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 years ago | (#42468707)

As long as these online teaching systems cannot eliminate cheating, the earned credits worthless for attesting a basic education (in contrast to extended learning). As a straightforward exploit, one person can register multiple times with different identities and then blindly copy&paste the answers for the questions. While the cheater will still learn more compared to just failing or not taking the course it is questionable whether this method will allow the cheater to learn the required minimum to earn the credit.

Which for something like math is not only trivially avoided, but also easy to do. Just make each person have a different set of numbers to calculate!

One class of mine did it by using a seed based on your student ID, so there's a repeatable way to generate the questions and answers, but everyone's is unique.

Other ways involve different reading material and question pool from each, pulling a few questions from the pool for each person. Doesn't eliminate cheating, but if the questions in the pool are identical despite the reading....

Khan is not "math" (0, Offtopic)

tulcod (1056476) | about 2 years ago | (#42467549)

Disclaimer: I am a math student.

Can we please stop calling this bullshit "math"? Mathematics is about axioms, rules, logic and proof. It's not about sin(x), integration and Pythagoras' theorem. It's about abstract ideas in a platonic world, and communicating those ideas reliably. This is not something you learn about in high school, although occasionally it is hinted at. What high school *should* be about is Peano arithmetic, logic and *perhaps* some introduction to te *theory* of integration.

None of all that can be found on Khan. Khan offers you the tables you need to *calculate* the integral of some functions. Khan teaches you how to multiply and divide natural numbers. None of all that is something computers cannot do.

It's bad enough that high school does not teach you anything about what real mathematics is, but putting all this crap on a website endorses it, and makes people accept the fact that there is no high school which actually teaches you mathematics. Stop calling the calculations you do in high school "math", because it's nothing more than playing calculator.

Re:Khan is not "math" (2)

Ironchew (1069966) | about 2 years ago | (#42467629)

It's bad enough that high school does not teach you anything about what real mathematics is, but putting all this crap on a website endorses it, and makes people accept the fact that there is no high school which actually teaches you mathematics.

Do you know what this is? It's the world's smallest violin, and it's playing just for you.

If students are motivated enough, they can find plenty of online math resources on their own.

Re:Khan is not "math" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42469205)

Do you know what this is? It's the world's smallest violin, and it's playing just for you.

Topologically, the world smallest violin is no different than the worlds biggest.

Re:Khan is not "math" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42467631)

Disclaimer: I am a math student.

A math student? Yes, I can tell.

Re:Khan is not "math" (2)

BitterOak (537666) | about 2 years ago | (#42467807)

What high school *should* be about is Peano arithmetic, logic and *perhaps* some introduction to te *theory* of integration.

You're operating under the incorrect assumption that the only target audience for math courses in high school is future mathematicians. Most people who take math do so, not because they want pure math as a career (although some might), but rather because math is an essential tool for a vast array of careers, among them: engineering, medicine, architecture, accounting, actuarial work, systems analysis, sciences (physics, chemistry, biology, etc.), I could go on and on... High school math is about providing a foundation for all those careers, as well as for early undergraduate math courses which are also essential for many of the above mentioned fields, as well as for pure math studies.

Re:Khan is not "math" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42467899)

High school math is about providing a foundation for all those careers

Which it utterly fails to accomplish (at least in the US). Rote memorization of processes and equations != understanding math.

Re:Khan is not "math" (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 years ago | (#42468547)

I dont believe it is possible to do Calculus by "rote memorization" except in the very general sense that learning and using rules and patterns is "memorization"-- but then I guess ALL learning must be considered memorization as well.

Re:Khan is not "math" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42468657)

US math 'education' is simply awful. I speak more of having an intuitive understanding of why something works. US public schools often fail to accomplish this, and most students walk away only having memorized a few equations but never truly having understood them. Memorization is necessary, but the way most US public schools 'teach' math is just disgusting.

Re:Khan is not "math" (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 years ago | (#42468863)

I speak more of having an intuitive understanding of why something works.

Not everyone's brain works that way, and its silly to demand that everyone have an intuitive grasp of mathematics.

Very possibly there are ways to improve our system, but you cant expect everyone to love mathematics or have it be second nature to them.

Re:Khan is not "math" (1)

RevSpaminator (1419557) | about 2 years ago | (#42469377)

I have a degree in math and physics and now work as a computer programmer. The most difficult math I've had to deal with is some statistical analysis. What we need to teach our children is critical thinking and analysis, whatever tools they have to work with. Someday people will look to them for an answer, with no cheat sheet or book to refer to. They have to learn to be thorough in their analysis and confident of their conclusions. That is the survival tool kids need.

Re:Khan is not "math" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42467847)

This "math" you talk about sounds interesting. Much more interesting than the years I wasted in school learning to calculate shit like polynomial equations that I have never needed to do again after I passed the test. I have heard about this beautiful math, but have no idea how to approach learning about it. I would guess that many are in the same boat as me and could use the same advice. Where do we go since Khan isn't it?

Re:Khan is not "math" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42468017)

This "math" you talk about sounds interesting. Much more interesting than the years I wasted in school learning to calculate shit like polynomial equations that I have never needed to do again after I passed the test. I have heard about this beautiful math, but have no idea how to approach learning about it. I would guess that many are in the same boat as me and could use the same advice. Where do we go since Khan isn't it?

Find a copy of Euclid's Elements and work through it.

Re:Khan is not "math" (1)

tulcod (1056476) | about 2 years ago | (#42468053)

Most of the "basics" of real math are taught without a good book, so I am struggling to find a good reference, but something along the lines of Hamilton's "Numbers, Sets and Axioms: The Apparatus of Mathematics" would do.

After that, jump into abstract algebra, real analysis (not calculus - engineers do calculus, mathematicians do analysis) and topology. From there, I'm sure you'll find your own way.

Re:Khan is not "math" (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 years ago | (#42468557)

Quick, as part of an equation I need to calculate area under a curve.... but im not an engineer, so apparently I cant use calculus?

What about calculating limits, are they off-limits to me as well?

Re:Khan is not "math" (1)

rroman (2627559) | about 2 years ago | (#42467871)

Integration, sin(x), statistic, differential equations and this stuff is, what makes mathematics useful in real life. I don't argue that the very core of mathematics consists of axioms, proofs, theories and so on, but for most people mathematics is the part of "math" that is most used.

So in short, no, we can't :)

Re:Khan is not "math" (1)

tulcod (1056476) | about 2 years ago | (#42468023)

That is bullshit and you know it. That, or you have never studied real mathematics.

Real mathematics is applicable in *all* cognitive processes, and it gives mathematicians a step ahead in *any* science.

Forget about numbers, mathematics is an exercise in proper, formulated thought, and if there's anything applicable in the world, it's the ability to think straight.

Re:Khan is not "math" (1)

rroman (2627559) | about 2 years ago | (#42468245)

I don't argue that mathematics is ubiquitous in sciences, human interaction, society and the rest of the universe even in its pure form. I just say, what the word means for ordinary people and that we can not force them to change the way they understand it.

Re:Khan is not "math" (1)

tulcod (1056476) | about 2 years ago | (#42468559)

Oh sorry, then I take back my swearing :)

Yes I agree.

Re:Khan is not "math" (1)

Jeng (926980) | about 2 years ago | (#42468393)

Forget about numbers, mathematics is an exercise in proper, formulated thought, and if there's anything applicable in the world, it's the ability to think straight.

just an fyi, I only have a high school education, so take what I say below with a grain of salt.

Ok, you are looking at mathematics in a way that probably only around 1% of the population does. In my opinion once you get past simple arithmetic you start getting into the philosophy of problem solving, which is what you are talking about.

Some people get a glimpse of that when they take algebra, but very few advance beyond that.

Re:Khan is not "math" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42468677)

Holy fuck. NERD FIGHT!

Re:Khan is not "math" (1)

RevSpaminator (1419557) | about 2 years ago | (#42469495)

Axioms, proofs, theories, etc.. are lovely and great, but without sin(), stats, diffy q's and the rest, the other stuff is pointless. Do we REALLY want our mathematics education so "heady" and devoid of understanding of existing knowledge that our kids have to reinvent the wheel? What about a balanced approach that teaches both the body of existing mathematical knowledge as well as how to think mathematically? That might take time and resources away from teaching how to take a federally mandated test, but in the long run you'll probably have higher scores.

Re:Khan is not "math" (1)

kwerle (39371) | about 2 years ago | (#42467977)

I hear that the entire english speaking world is wrong and you're trying to correct 'em.

How's that working out for you?

Re:Khan is not "math" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42467993)

This is one of the most misguided rants I've seen in awhile.

In all fields there are 2 components (I have yet to see one that doesn't), discreet and experimental. Call them what you want, it doesn't matter.

In discreet of (X), you deal with what perfect conditions might exist of x, and try to figure out the rules that occur from those, this is what you are referencing. The philosophy of a subject.

In experimental, you deal with the practical implementation, this would be accounting of math, or engineers figuring things using Sin(x). This is what happens in the real world.

A good education gives you both tools, but emphasizes the discreet portion of a field for those entering that field. It doesn't help most math majors to know why that the English language evolved from passive to active voice, and why, just that it did. Much like understanding why you can convert from arc integrals to linear integrals is not that beneficial to most engineers, just that you can.

Re:Khan is not "math" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42468201)

You seem to be confusing mathematical philosophy with arithmetic.

Once you get past add this to that and subtract that you start getting into abstractions that have absolutely no place in most peoples lives.

Re:Khan is not "math" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42468267)

Congratulations, you are a donkey [thebestpag...iverse.net] .

Not none of nothing negated (1)

TiggertheMad (556308) | about 2 years ago | (#42468345)

Disclaimer: I am a math student.

None of all that can be found on Khan.

Whew, And here I was worried that you are an English major....

Re:Khan is not "math" (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 years ago | (#42468521)

So what discipline would you put Calculus and Trigonometry under?

You might as well complain that you dont learn Real Science (tm) in high school, since they never get into advanced biochemistry or quantum physics, or that Orchestra is only "fake" orchestra because they dont churn out NSO candidates. Probably we can throw Civics into the "fake" category too, since you dont learn to litigate or draft bills.

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42470509)

This so needs to be repeated. Where are my mod points when I need them?!

This is already happening (5, Informative)

keefus_a (567615) | about 2 years ago | (#42467627)

My brother is a math teacher who convinced the board of his school system to let him try it in two of his classes. Now the entire school system is moving to Khan for the math program.

The major change in his teaching format is that learning a new concept is now homework (through Khan Academy), rather than him droning on about it in class. Then every morning he gets a report for each student and can see who did well and who didn't. That allows him to concentrate on the students that didn't get the concept in class. Overall he has seen a major improvement in the class as a whole since fewer kids get left without a good understanding of the fundamental concepts.

Re:This is already happening (1)

spopepro (1302967) | about 2 years ago | (#42467839)

So he stopped droning on and things got better? Amazing! Lecture has always been the most efficient (in terms of planning and energy), least effective educational method. Khan moves the lecture to a new place and adds some limited formative tools. Not really anything new, and is really more of an indictment of how bad most educators are, rather than how good Khan is. Things *could* be so much better, and certainly much better than Khan, but most of us don't get VC money bankrolling our practice.

Re:This is already happening (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 2 years ago | (#42467927)

My brother is a math teacher who convinced the board of his school system to let him try it in two of his classes. Now the entire school system is moving to Khan for the math program.

The major change in his teaching format is that learning a new concept is now homework (through Khan Academy), rather than him droning on about it in class. Then every morning he gets a report for each student and can see who did well and who didn't. That allows him to concentrate on the students that didn't get the concept in class. Overall he has seen a major improvement in the class as a whole since fewer kids get left without a good understanding of the fundamental concepts.

This is such a simple idea but has so much promise. It's usually called Flip Teaching, where the kids perform exploratory learning at home (what is commonly done during in class time today) and show up to class to do "homework" with the intention that if the work proves difficult, the teacher can step in to educate and make sure the students all have the same capability at the end, instead of simply giving them a failing grade on their homework and skipping on to the next section. It make a lot more sense than a teacher spending 45 minutes reading to the students out of a book (lets be honest, very few teachers are more original than that) and then turning kids loose to figure it out on their own via the take home assignment. The teacher can then do what they (hopefully) do best and actually work with students 1 on 1 to aid understanding.

Re:This is already happening (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about 2 years ago | (#42468147)

It make a lot more sense than a teacher spending 45 minutes reading to the students out of a book (lets be honest, very few teachers are more original than that) and then turning kids loose to figure it out on their own via the take home assignment.

What kind of shitty education did you folks get where things operated this way?

I never had a teacher just read things out of a book. And I never had a teacher turn me loose to learn concepts in homework. When I was a student, concepts were taught in class -- when, unlike with a canned lecture or a book, we could ask the teacher to stop and elaborate on a point during the presentation -- and then re-enforced with homework. (Which is why I often skipped the homework, if I understood the concepts and if it wouldn't affect my grade much. :-) )

If all you expect teachers to do is read out loud from a book, sure, a taped lecture (which is all these "massive open on-line courses" are) can replace that. In fact, if that's the case just skip the lecture and the internet part and give the students the book to read, and stop pretending this is some grand technological breakthrough. But if that's what you expect from a teacher, you've got some shitty teachers.

Shitty Education (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42473857)

I once had a history teacher who spent the first semester orally explaining to us the history lessons that were in the book. I got excellent grades in that class.

Next semester, he was apparently also the basketball coach or something, so rather than teach us everything orally, he told us to read from the book while he did other things at his desk. At that point I started failing the class.

History books are terribly boring, and near impossible to read. You start reading and by the time you reach the end of the page, you realize that while your eyes kept reading the words, your brain got bored and started thinking of other things to pass the time. So then you have to start over, but the same thing happens. Then you just give up. ...or at least that's how it worked for me.

He once asked me what had changed. Being that teachers usually aren't all that up on criticism, I couldn't bring myself to tell him. I just said "I don't know." Note to any teachers who want honest feedback from your students: Put a box somewhere they can sneak a note into when no one is looking. ...and just ignore the bullshit you'll inevitably receive. If you start complaining about what gets put into the box, you'll only deter its use.

Re:This is already happening (1)

eepok (545733) | about 2 years ago | (#42468175)

This is great!

I had no idea there were schools in which 100% of the populations had access to sufficiently capable computers with broadband access! I can't wait to see how well the kids on free lunch respond to this amazing new standard!

Yes, that was sarcasm.

Re:This is already happening (1)

keefus_a (567615) | about 2 years ago | (#42468421)

Point taken. And in the case of my brother's school system they are making a point to address this. They have computer labs available before and after school, and it is my understanding that they are going beyond that for special cases.

Re:This is already happening (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42468253)

This sounds promising, until some brilliant manager at the school board decides that the fraction of students who do "get it" from Khan's online course is "good enough", and they start calculating all the money they can save by firing the real teachers who help the ones who don't get it. I *hope* they wouldn't do that, but don't underestimate the potential for administrators to see a "75% solution at half the cost" as good enough.

Re:This is already happening (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42470163)

I have to wonder how people learn concepts from the KA movies. The movies absolutely do not teach the concepts and don't pretend to; Sal states that you learn concepts by doing a bunch of problems and then you intuit the concepts, but this isn't how most people learn the stuff. His "fundamental concept" instruction includes informing us that an average "sort of represents" a group of numbers, and that two times one is "two plus itself times one." That's right, two plus two is... two.
        And yes, we're tlaking about a guy droning on in lecture format and calling that revolutionary.
        I'm afraid I concur with the sentiment that this is a way to save money.

We Repealed These Laws (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42467677)

From Idaho here, and we repealed the Luna laws last election via initiatives. They were a thinly veiled attempt to break the teachers union and lay off a bunch of teachers.

Did the NYT miss the November election? Because last I heard the idea was dead.

Re:We Repealed These Laws (1)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | about 2 years ago | (#42467851)

What if online learning is just as effective and cheaper? Does it still make sense to pay teachers to do it?

Re:We Repealed These Laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42467959)

Look at the actual laws. They required the purchase of a laptop for every child in the state. The cost of doing that, and maintaining said laptops, makes it unlikely it would be significantly cheaper in the long run.

The laws also required going to a merit based pay for teachers (because that's what we needed, more teaching to the standardized tests), and significantly curtailing collective bargaining rights.

Re:We Repealed These Laws (1)

stoneoffire (1750908) | about 2 years ago | (#42468773)

My wife's school, in Idaho, has been acquiring laptops and iPads for students use for a few years now. They are about to purchase many more iPads because of grant money to eliminate physical text books. For her school it is much cheaper to go to iPads than it is to buy textbooks. Not only do they get current editions constantly they don't have to replace lost or damaged books. They have brokered deals with publishers that assure them current additions for school wide use at a lesser cost than the physical textbooks. Your main argument is the maintaining of the laptops as being a high cost is actually a very weak one when using my wife's school as an example. They have had 2 laptops in the last 3 years that have needed repairs outside of warranty and both times the student was responsible for the cost. The school worked out a deal with Apple to provide them exceptional warranty coverage and modern hardware at a good price, one good enough that I would do it for personal use. The cost of obtaining computers for students has started to drop significantly since iPads (and i would assume other tablets as well) are becoming so convenient and usable. The lease cost, warranty coverage cost, and licensing cost of digital textbooks has been much lower than they originally thought. Their alternative was to pay ~$210 per text book per student, for each of their 4 core classes or ~$500 per student for the iPad lease and digital textbook upfront cost and then a ~$50 per student subsequent years for current editions and extending the lease.

Re:We Repealed These Laws (1)

Bryansix (761547) | about 2 years ago | (#42469921)

Your liberal bias is clouding your logic. Merit based pay makes sense in all jobs. The only problem is making sure the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are all completely under control of the teacher.

Re:We Repealed These Laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42468305)

There is no way that an on-line course can be as effective as a real, interactive teacher. But if it is "just as effective and cheaper", sure. My concern is that school boards will think they see a "good enough at half the cost" solution, cheap out on public education, and a generation later we're going to deeply regret it. As radical a change as this must be evaluated carefully.

Re:We Repealed These Laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42469211)

There is no way that an on-line course can be as effective as a real, interactive teacher.

Only if the teacher is a good one. Only if the teacher has time to do one-on-one chats with each student. Only if the individual student in question learns best in a traditional classroom. That last one is pretty important. School is not a one-size-fits-all environment as some would have us believe.

Oh, and only if the school system is decent. Unfortunately, the current US public school system, which just loves teaching to the test, is simply abysmal.

Re:We Repealed These Laws (3, Interesting)

stoneoffire (1750908) | about 2 years ago | (#42468625)

Husband of an Idaho teacher. Not specifically an attempt to destroy the unions but was designed to take some of their power away. Lay off teachers? Doubtful. A way of rewarding for doing well? Yes, we received a $3,500 bonus from the pay for performance. How? She is a younger teacher that embraced technology and even with it being her first year she had a higher average GPA in her classes than the others, her class' test scores were higher, and in the math competitions students from her classes dominated their divisions, even stomped other students from the same school. Overall her students enjoyed math more than the other classes in her school. She has been using Khan Academy as supplementary material in her classes and her school already has 1 macbook for every 4 students and will soon be purchasing many more iPads because of a grant she submitted for. They have paid for much of their technology through donations or grants and are on the verge of getting rid of physical text books because of what my wife has shown. People get scared of new things, its a habit of humanity, why not embrace the changes and enjoy them?

Factual correction (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42467751)

Actually, the good citizens of Idaho passed a referendum in November to revoke the state law mentioned in the OP. People realized that the governor and his state secretary of education had no clue what they were doing with their education "reforms" and torpedoed all of them.

Re:Factual correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42467845)

education reforms = union handouts. The people who care the least about teaching are the teachers and the politicians who enable them to be lazy.

We already know it works! (huh?) (1)

spopepro (1302967) | about 2 years ago | (#42467915)

I really enjoy the fact that this is a clinical study (although, I use that term very loosely here), yet, a film maker is already making a film "which will highlight positives of education, like the Khan Academy pilot in Idaho." Last time I checked studies and pilots were conducted to figure out if things work. But, like many times before, Khan is assumed to be the answer before anyone even tries it. (P.S. don't cite Los Altos School District, which had the highest test scores in the state *before* adopting the "flipped" classroom. Conincidence that it what the "best" district in the state that happened to be put forward first?)

Academic reference to Khan as "positive for ed"? (1)

fantomas (94850) | about 2 years ago | (#42467949)

Interested in academic references/ well researched critiques of the pedagogy of the Khan academy approach. Lots of media coverage about how it's wonderful, revolutionises children's understanding of various school topics, lots of hype.... but I'd be really interested in academic reviews or articles that have tracked children using Khan academy and identifies how well this approach performs compares to other teaching methodologies.

Cheers! really curious to know what sort of research has been carried out to explore the efficacy of the Khan approach, what its strengths are etc. (real research, not just journalist hype). One assumes these educators have done their research if they are committing to it as a means of teaching, so maybe they've written up their investigations?

Link to the Khan Academy website (0)

Bueller_007 (535588) | about 2 years ago | (#42468055)

Since OP forgot it, you can learn more about Khan Academy here: http://khaaan.com/ [khaaan.com]

Re:Link to the Khan Academy website (1)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | about 2 years ago | (#42468749)

You missed it, it's actually here [youtu.be]

Obligatory Star Trek Reference.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42468269)

  McCoy: Lieutenant, you are looking at the only Starfleet cadet who ever beat the no-win scenario.
  Saavik: How?
Kirk: I reprogrammed the simulation so it was possible to rescue the ship.
Saavik: What?
David Marcus: He cheated.
Kirk: I changed the conditions of the test; got a commendation for original thinking. I don't like to lose.

I find it funny that a subplot for the movie "Wrath of Khan" had to do with "cheating on a test" and now schools are using KhanAcademy in their cirriculum.
Khaaaaaaaaaaaan!

Really? Nobody? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42468293)

Ok fine, I'll say it...

Khaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!!!!

Re:Really? Nobody? (1)

RevSpaminator (1419557) | about 2 years ago | (#42469065)

And I was wondering if this academy offers classes in genetic engineering and cryogenics.

Any curriculum can fail. (1)

Peterus7 (607982) | about 2 years ago | (#42469929)

What they really need to focus on is making sure the students and teachers have all the resources they need to make this work. What I'm afraid of is this giving the Khan Academy a black eye. Still, having used himself a lot, I think the kids will prefer KA over 19 year old textbooks alone.

Foreign Language Requirements (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42471537)

One thing our educational system is really lacking is more foreign language requirements. When we get into the job market all of a sudden many employers want people who speak foreign languages and school simply did not equip us for this. School is supposed to equip us for the job market and it's not working. I think a lot more needs to be done in this arena.

Other countries are way better when it comes to their educational system encouraging students to learn foreign languages.

Fix the errors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42472981)

Will the academy be required to fix the errors in its presentations, or will students still need to peruse the comments to discover where Khan went wrong?

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