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A free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere: this is the goal of the Khan Academy, a passion project that grew from an ex-engineer and hedge funder's online tutoring sessions with his niece, who was struggling with algebra, into a worldwide phenomenon. Today millions of students, parents, and teachers use the Khan Academy's free videos and software, which have expan A free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere: this is the goal of the Khan Academy, a passion project that grew from an ex-engineer and hedge funder's online tutoring sessions with his niece, who was struggling with algebra, into a worldwide phenomenon. Today millions of students, parents, and teachers use the Khan Academy's free videos and software, which have expanded to encompass nearly every conceivable subject; and Academy techniques are being employed with exciting results in a growing number of classrooms around the globe. Like many innovators, Khan rethinks existing assumptions and imagines what education could be if freed from them. And his core idea-liberating teachers from lecturing and state-mandated calendars and opening up class time for truly human interaction-has become his life's passion. Schools seek his advice about connecting to students in a digital age, and people of all ages and backgrounds flock to the site to utilize this fresh approach to learning. In THE ONE WORLD SCHOOLHOUSE, Khan presents his radical vision for the future of education, as well as his own remarkable story, for the first time. In these pages, you will discover, among other things: * How both students and teachers are being bound by a broken top-down model invented in Prussia two centuries ago * Why technology will make classrooms more human and teachers more important * How and why we can afford to pay educators the same as other professionals * How we can bring creativity and true human interactivity back to learning * Why we should be very optimistic about the future of learning. Parents and politicians routinely bemoan the state of our education system. Statistics suggest we've fallen behind the rest of the world in literacy, math, and sciences. With a shrewd reading of history, Khan explains how this crisis presented itself, and why a return to "mastery learning," abandoned in the twentieth century and ingeniously revived by tools like the Khan Academy, could offer the best opportunity to level the playing field, and to give all of our children a world-class education now. More than just a solution, THE ONE WORLD SCHOOLHOUSE serves as a call for free, universal, global education, and an explanation of how Khan's simple yet revolutionary thinking can help achieve this inspiring goal.


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A free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere: this is the goal of the Khan Academy, a passion project that grew from an ex-engineer and hedge funder's online tutoring sessions with his niece, who was struggling with algebra, into a worldwide phenomenon. Today millions of students, parents, and teachers use the Khan Academy's free videos and software, which have expan A free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere: this is the goal of the Khan Academy, a passion project that grew from an ex-engineer and hedge funder's online tutoring sessions with his niece, who was struggling with algebra, into a worldwide phenomenon. Today millions of students, parents, and teachers use the Khan Academy's free videos and software, which have expanded to encompass nearly every conceivable subject; and Academy techniques are being employed with exciting results in a growing number of classrooms around the globe. Like many innovators, Khan rethinks existing assumptions and imagines what education could be if freed from them. And his core idea-liberating teachers from lecturing and state-mandated calendars and opening up class time for truly human interaction-has become his life's passion. Schools seek his advice about connecting to students in a digital age, and people of all ages and backgrounds flock to the site to utilize this fresh approach to learning. In THE ONE WORLD SCHOOLHOUSE, Khan presents his radical vision for the future of education, as well as his own remarkable story, for the first time. In these pages, you will discover, among other things: * How both students and teachers are being bound by a broken top-down model invented in Prussia two centuries ago * Why technology will make classrooms more human and teachers more important * How and why we can afford to pay educators the same as other professionals * How we can bring creativity and true human interactivity back to learning * Why we should be very optimistic about the future of learning. Parents and politicians routinely bemoan the state of our education system. Statistics suggest we've fallen behind the rest of the world in literacy, math, and sciences. With a shrewd reading of history, Khan explains how this crisis presented itself, and why a return to "mastery learning," abandoned in the twentieth century and ingeniously revived by tools like the Khan Academy, could offer the best opportunity to level the playing field, and to give all of our children a world-class education now. More than just a solution, THE ONE WORLD SCHOOLHOUSE serves as a call for free, universal, global education, and an explanation of how Khan's simple yet revolutionary thinking can help achieve this inspiring goal.

30 review for The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined

  1. 4 out of 5

    Karen.s

    I am an English teacher in Israel in the Bedouin sector, a sector with multiple handicaps in education. I don't have a background in education but have been quite successful in teaching my students. Many of my unconventional methods were stumbled upon or found by trial and error. Salman Khan of the Khan Academy is someone I have admired since I first heard of him earlier this year and a kindred spirit I believe. I didn't know he had published a book, so when I happened upon his article in Time m I am an English teacher in Israel in the Bedouin sector, a sector with multiple handicaps in education. I don't have a background in education but have been quite successful in teaching my students. Many of my unconventional methods were stumbled upon or found by trial and error. Salman Khan of the Khan Academy is someone I have admired since I first heard of him earlier this year and a kindred spirit I believe. I didn't know he had published a book, so when I happened upon his article in Time magazine this week, I immediately downloaded the book. I wish I could make it mandatory reading for every teacher in the world! This book more or less outlines Khan's vision for the future of schools: that each student should learn according to his own pace and learning style, the fundamentals would be presented in short videos available online or DVDs that would be watched whenever the student wants and class time would be devoted to actual practical application of the fundamentals. Teachers are available to help but students can help each other as well. That's the vision in a nutshell although Khan goes into greater depth and expands the concept of learning. After reading this book, if I can't join his institution, I want to adapt whatever parts I can on my own! That is the definition of an inspiring book. I had feared that this book would more or less be a blatant advertisement for the Khan Academy. Even though Khan would have every right to brag and push his "business", he seems to be a humble man who just wants to best educational possibilities for every student in the world. He often repeats a line to the effect of "students can use video tutorials from Khan Academy or elsewhere". Though he could envision a business model where his name is stamped on a multitude of schools and he makes millions, he provides simply the well-thought out vision and offers his experiences. This makes him all the more admirable. Possibly what I liked best about this book, is it's simple and to the point presentation. It is not an education theory textbook, heavily padded with lofty language and concepts. It is concise, easy to read and understand, which makes it easily digested by anyone from student, parent, academic or investor. That's great.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Roopa

    This is the best book ever. I know, I know, but it really is. I love the topics Sal covers, and how he basically lays this book out in an inculcative format that would make a decent knowledge map. The history of American education, the explanations about the science of learning, the way things would/should/could be in Sal's opinion, all of it is great. The story of Khan Academy is nothing less than inspiring and heartwarming, you can't help but love Sal. Disclaimer: I've been drinking the Khan Ac This is the best book ever. I know, I know, but it really is. I love the topics Sal covers, and how he basically lays this book out in an inculcative format that would make a decent knowledge map. The history of American education, the explanations about the science of learning, the way things would/should/could be in Sal's opinion, all of it is great. The story of Khan Academy is nothing less than inspiring and heartwarming, you can't help but love Sal. Disclaimer: I've been drinking the Khan Academy Kool-aid for a long time now. (I can't believe I waited this long to read Sal's book.) This book did nothing more than amplify my love for the platform and possibilities of incorporating technology into the classroom and home. If you already love growth mindsets, this book feeds that fire as well. Now if you'll excuse me, I'd like to go reread all those classics that I didn't appreciate as a 14 year old.

  3. 4 out of 5

    John Stein

    Really interesting book on several levels. First, the khan academy online lessons are great, and understanding the guy and vision behind the program is very worthwhile. Second, though a little utopian in its vision, the book is a good starting place for the "how would education be different if we started with a blank page" conversation. And finally, as someone interested in social entrepreneurism, it is an interesting case study - still being written- about how and if a great idea can maybe buil Really interesting book on several levels. First, the khan academy online lessons are great, and understanding the guy and vision behind the program is very worthwhile. Second, though a little utopian in its vision, the book is a good starting place for the "how would education be different if we started with a blank page" conversation. And finally, as someone interested in social entrepreneurism, it is an interesting case study - still being written- about how and if a great idea can maybe build into a someone real

  4. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    When a colleague asked me about the educational philosophies of Salman Khan and the use of Khan Academy by my students to support their math journey, she wanted to know if this would put teachers out of a job. She wanted to know if I was worried. No way! For anyone who has had the opportunity to investigate or use Khan Academy, reading this book of education reimagined is a must to understand the fundamentals behind how educational reform can and should happen in our 21st century. When I first st When a colleague asked me about the educational philosophies of Salman Khan and the use of Khan Academy by my students to support their math journey, she wanted to know if this would put teachers out of a job. She wanted to know if I was worried. No way! For anyone who has had the opportunity to investigate or use Khan Academy, reading this book of education reimagined is a must to understand the fundamentals behind how educational reform can and should happen in our 21st century. When I first started teaching ten years ago, I was looking for something like Khan Academy. I explored a variety of internet based websites that ranged from too cumbersome for my students to navigate, too overloaded with ads, or ultimately too expensive to be accessible by all my students. Khan has achieved the vision I had! I now have this fabulous tool available to supplement what I teach, how I teach it, and when I teach it. As a teacher, I am not going away. As I tell my students, Mr. Khan is my 24-7 assistant. Read this book. It is short, sweet, and to the point. You'll find yourself agreeing with Sal. If you haven't discovered Khan Academy yet, it is time to get started. Thank you Sal for helping me be even more successful with my students in rural Colorado!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Juliana

    First of all a thank you to Lynda Weinman, Lynda of lynda.com for giving every single one of the company's employees a copy of this book over the holidays. Books make the best gifts and when I start a job and first thing they hand me is a stack of free books I know I've landed in the right place. You have heard of Salman Khan the creator of the Khan Academy and this book published by TwelveBooks serve as an introduction to his story and his thoughts or manifesto on learning. I was inspired by First of all a thank you to Lynda Weinman, Lynda of lynda.com for giving every single one of the company's employees a copy of this book over the holidays. Books make the best gifts and when I start a job and first thing they hand me is a stack of free books I know I've landed in the right place. You have heard of Salman Khan the creator of the Khan Academy and this book published by TwelveBooks serve as an introduction to his story and his thoughts or manifesto on learning. I was inspired by this book. Sal started out tutoring one student--his cousin Nadia and before he knew it he was spending his spare time tutoring more family members. He was very good at it. And from there his teaching starts to spread, his ideas start to catch on and now he is on a mission to create a free world-class education for anyone, anywhere. I could relate to Nada's issue. She had missed one important concept and that put her on a lesser school track. When I was a freshman in high school in my first Algebra class--maybe I was talking...maybe I was sleeping... but I missed something important. That semester I received my first ever D! My teacher told my mother I was lazy and she needed to take my television and music away from me. (I knew the woman hated me! And yeah I was probably too busy talking.) From then on I was put in the more basic math--not the college prep and I had to repeat the semester in order to change my grade for college transcripts. The next semester when I took the class, I took the textbook and studied on my own. Then it clicked and I spent the rest of semester doing my homework during lectures. This time I received an A. And I do owe a big apology to my older brother the engineer who didn't talk alot in class and studied harder. He actually tried to sit down and teach Khan-style concepts before I received my D. At the time I just wanted to learn how to do my homework, I didn't want to learn the concepts he attempted teach me. C'mon I had Brady Brunch re-runs to watch! Luckily he seems to have had a better student in my niece. I like what Salman has to say about learning--covering the basics and practicing until you can prove you've got it to move on, and to also move at your own speed. Okay--you got me. The guy speaks my language. After all my career has been all about learning--first in creating how-to technology books to self-paced elearning, ILT courseware to certs and now in online video training. Not ironically, a career that has also called on my "talking" skills so there Algebra teacher! Technology loves self-learners and there is plenty to learn. This book did make me think about what concepts are basic and essential for the business technology subjects I cover. I've also spent a lot of time on Khan Academy the past few days. I always regretted that I never really made it past basic Algebra and Geometry. I thought it was because I hated math, but the fact is I've loved puzzles. I've done quilting which requires a lot of math. And I use data analysis and statistics regularly to uncover business insights. So I'm going back to the basics--starting at the beginning just like Salman Khan suggests (and how can you not respect someone that Bill Gates says is his favorite teacher!). His site also has Science, Art History and more. Stuff I want to learn. Check out his book and the Khan Academy site.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dina

    I think of this book as a dream of Khan's. I do think it has some ideas for practical applications but on a large scale I find it hard to believe that this can be the future of education. The biggest obstacle is motivation for students. Khan doesn't address how to motivate students in general, he believes that all students are motivated in some area and without being disciplined and will engage in online videos of mathematics on their own. I certainly don't think this will happen, for instance, I think of this book as a dream of Khan's. I do think it has some ideas for practical applications but on a large scale I find it hard to believe that this can be the future of education. The biggest obstacle is motivation for students. Khan doesn't address how to motivate students in general, he believes that all students are motivated in some area and without being disciplined and will engage in online videos of mathematics on their own. I certainly don't think this will happen, for instance, I had many types of mathematics software as a child. But given the choice to work on the software or go play with a friend of mine, I would most certainly play with my friend every time. In his book, Khan suggests an enormous school house where students of all ages are let loose to play with each other and at the same time learn about english, geography, mathematics etc. But nowhere does he address the possibility of all the kids, not engaging with the coursework but instead just having a day long recess. I enjoyed the book, but again, at this point the book is not exactly a guide to education, it is more of a dream that needs to be thought out a bit more carefully. I will take some good points from it, such as trying to engage my students more instead of having them passively listening to every lecture.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gail

    In “The One World Schoolhouse,” Salman Khan sets forth a compelling - though admittedly imperfect and imprecise - vision for the future of education based upon the success of Khan Academy, a not-for-profit website that features free ten-minute instructional videos, software-generated exercises, and data analysis (e.g., alerting teachers when a student is “stuck” on a particular concept). Despite my initial (and apparently common) “fear that computer-based instruction is all about replacing teach In “The One World Schoolhouse,” Salman Khan sets forth a compelling - though admittedly imperfect and imprecise - vision for the future of education based upon the success of Khan Academy, a not-for-profit website that features free ten-minute instructional videos, software-generated exercises, and data analysis (e.g., alerting teachers when a student is “stuck” on a particular concept). Despite my initial (and apparently common) “fear that computer-based instruction is all about replacing teachers or lowering the level of skill needed to be a teacher,” Khan largely wins over both the parent and former teacher in me by demonstrating that “[t]he exact opposite is true” in his reimagined classroom where “initial exposure to a concept online” is followed by personal and personalized instruction as well as plenty of socialization. Driving Khan’s pedagogical philosophy is identification of myriad ways in which schooling as we know it is incompatible with learning as neuro and social science know it: age-organized classrooms, “broadcast lectures,” hour-long class periods, balkanized subject matter (knowledge broken down into discrete lessons, units, and subjects rather than a flow of concepts that facilitates associative learning), testing, homework, summer vacations, grading, and, most importantly, communal pacing. “[L]essons should be paced to the individual student’s needs, not to some arbitrary calendar[, average student of similar age, or clock].” “In most classrooms in most schools, students pass with 75 or 80 percent. This is customary. But if you think about it even for a moment, it’s unacceptable if not disastrous [since] . . . basic concepts need[] to be deeply understood if students [a]re to succeed at mastering more advanced ones.” “Homework becomes necessary because not enough learning happens during the school day. Why is there a shortage of learning during the hours specifically designed for it? Because the broadcast, one-pace-fits-all lecture . . . turns out to be a highly inefficient way to teach and learn.” “The danger of using assessments as reasons to filter out students . . . is that we may overlook or discourage those whose talents are of a different order - whose intelligence tends more to the oblique and the intuitive.” “What should be fixed is a high level of comprehension and what should be variable is the amount of time students have to understand a concept.” “With self-paced learning . . . [i]f a given concept is easily grasped, one can sprint ahead, outrunning boredom. If a subject is proving difficult, it’s possible to hit the pause button, or to go back and do more problems as necessary, without embarrassment and without asking the whole class to slow down.” I see these points, and I wholeheartedly agree with many of Khan’s big-picture assertions: “Discovering - and nurturing - the natural bent of the child; isn’t this the proper goal of education?” “We limit what students believe they can do by selling short what we expect them to do.” “[I]f you give students the opportunity to learn deeply and to see the magic of the universe around them, almost everyone will be motivated.” “Since we can’t predict exactly what today’s young people will need to know in ten or twenty years, what we teach them is less important than how they learn to teach themselves.” I also desperately hope that the efficiency gains he discusses (accomplishing as much as a student currently does during a full school day and several hours of homework at night in just a few hours of computer-based learning followed by practical, physical, creative, and fun exercises) are real and replicable. Yet I struggle with some aspects of Khan’s vision. He complains that “[c]onventional curricula don’t only tell students where to start; they tell students where to stop.” I can see his perspective, but I think an artificial stopping point is a two-sided coin. Counterbalancing the risks of boredom, loss of inertia, and lack of growth is the fact that capping kids’ efforts protects childhood and prevents burnout. Internal and external pressure will drive at least some kids off the deep end if pace is totally unfettered, especially when you mix in competition assessed not by grades but by Khan’s alternative measure of work completed vis-a-vis the entire world. Khan also doesn’t totally condemn homework, in my view selling short the burdens on at-risk kids (like working afternoon and evening jobs, caring for siblings, and dodging bullets) in the name of raised expectations. Finally, his justification for mixed age classrooms seems a bit off the mark to me. He writes, “The older ones take responsibility for the younger ones. . . . The younger ones look up to and emulate the older ones. . . . [N]ature would not have made it possible [for twelve year-olds to procreate] unless adolescents were also wired to be ready to take responsibility for others.” I was tasked with teaching a class of thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen year-olds structured around this concept (it mixed "honors" and "special ed" kids on the theory that the former would help teach the latter), and it was an unmitigated disaster. Kids tutoring each other sounds wonderful, but throw hormones and social standing in the mix and things get a lot more complicated. (I also bristle at Khan's treatment of adolescence, a developmental period that needs to be fiercely protected; teenagers in some ways are capable of taking on responsibility but in others are physiologically incapable.) I’m not saying his vision of a bustling, cooperative classroom is naive or impossible, just a bit trickier to accomplish than he makes it sound. I’m also not sure what to make of Khan’s clear focus on math and engineering. I’d love to hear his ideas fleshed out in the K-12 liberal arts context. I understand how software can generate math exercises, but improved sentence structure? Brainstorming? Outlining? I’m sure there are ways (diagramming sentences, for starters), but they aren't as readily apparent in the context of teaching skills like writing. At the end of the day, Khan proposes a paradigm shift: “The current system is rife with inefficiencies and inequalities, with tragic mismatches between how students are taught and what they need to know; and the situation grows more urgent with every day that the educational status quo survives while the world is changing all around it.” He presents many smart, intriguing ideas (including ones for higher, adult, and continuing education) as well as a track record of success that is as exciting as it is modest. Like Khan himself, I’m not ready to say Khan Academy ought to be the new paradigm, but I think it’s a contender and that his case for reform is well worth the reading time.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lars

    I love Khan Academy and owe to it many of my late successes in math and other quantitative subjects. Sal is not only a first-rate teacher, but also a brilliant engineer. Case in point, educators and authorities have been worrying for years over how to construct a system that takes into account the varying skillsets, learning styles and countless random variables that go into a student's performance. KA presents a workable, effective solution; let students learn at their own pace with short, easy I love Khan Academy and owe to it many of my late successes in math and other quantitative subjects. Sal is not only a first-rate teacher, but also a brilliant engineer. Case in point, educators and authorities have been worrying for years over how to construct a system that takes into account the varying skillsets, learning styles and countless random variables that go into a student's performance. KA presents a workable, effective solution; let students learn at their own pace with short, easy-to-understand videos, and make them master their skills with randomly generated problems. Sprinkle some algorithmic magic and videogame-inspired reward systems to tie it all together, and you suddenly have a plausible alternative to the standard classroom setting. The system has worked very well for me and I am extremely grateful to Sal and his team. However, I do have some reservations about the contents of this book. "The One World Schoolhouse" is seven parts good and three parts bad. Seven parts good for its inspiring anecdotes and thought-provoking ideas. Three parts bad for its occasional overreach and Valley-style evangelism. Having seen Khan Academy work in some experimental settings, Sal is encouraged by the results to argue for a radical departure from the classic, "Prussian-style" classroom learning with grades, lectures and homework. Instead, he says, kids should be in mixed-grade classes using KA-style videos to learn at their own pace. Instead of giving final grades, teachers should be using a computer-assisted, comprehensive approach to assess a student's potential. A lot of it is really interesting. But then there are parts like this: "The vari­ous outposts of our schoolhouse would therefore be intercon­nected as well, through things like Skype or Google Hangouts. Students and teachers in San Francisco could interact with those in Toronto, London, or Mumbai. Imagine students in Tehran tutoring students in Tel Aviv or students in Islamabad learning from a professor in New Delhi." This is utopian dreck. Passages like these are the stuff of Thomas Friedman columns, or a second-rate TED talk, not a serious treatise on school reform. Many of Sal's suggestions (such as free-form semesters) seem to me to require idealized children, the type that has a genuine desire to learn when not supervised. The kind that does not care for the innumerable distractions of on-demand TV series and first-person shooters, and shows the respect necessary to not indulge in them during school hours. The kind that is not inclined to use time on school iPads to draw dongs and send pictures of cats. Adults frequently develop a blind spot for this side of adolescent behavior, and it grows ever larger when they start having children of their own. Khan Academy does fine when it is presented as an supplement to, or alternative to the traditional system. But what happens when Sal's system is the institutional norm? Does it retain its freshness and appeal to kids? I have my doubts. Would I recommend this book? In a certain sense, absolutely, because everyone should be supporting Sal and his efforts. Many of the ideas contained in the book are fresh and thought-provoking. But they are too detached, not real enough for me to fully embrace yet.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Bringhurst Familia

    A couple of years ago, I started hearing rumors about some mysterious and amazing online learning tool called Khan Academy. Being well immersed in the literature on the evils of screen time for children and jaded about all the companies springing up to take advantage of insecure parents, I ignored what sounded like just the latest homeschooling fad. Finally though, my curiosity got the better of me. Sure enough, my five-year-old was soon hooked on the math knowledge map, while I myself sampled v A couple of years ago, I started hearing rumors about some mysterious and amazing online learning tool called Khan Academy. Being well immersed in the literature on the evils of screen time for children and jaded about all the companies springing up to take advantage of insecure parents, I ignored what sounded like just the latest homeschooling fad. Finally though, my curiosity got the better of me. Sure enough, my five-year-old was soon hooked on the math knowledge map, while I myself sampled videos on everything from the Napoleonic Wars to plate tectonics. So from a functional perspective, I was already in love with Khan Academy. But when I found out that Salman Khan's mission is to provide "a free world-class education for anyone anywhere," he became my hero. This book is about that dream, and the extraordinary man who is making it a reality for millions of people around the world. The chapters about the "broken system" were similar to what I'd read in a dozen homeschooling books (notably Gatto's The Underground History of American Education: An Intimate Investigation Into the Prison of Modern Schooling). But what I really enjoyed was the story of how Khan Academy came to be, in the exuberant words of Khan himself. Especially interesting were the chapters at the end on how he envisions making Khan Academy available in even the most remote and difficult of circumstances in developing countries. This is a fascinating and inspiring read for anyone who believes that education can change the world.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Akemi G.

    We know the problem: Current school system is broken. Education is essential for individuals, and in tern, for the sustenance and prosperity of the society. However, few intelligent people want to become teachers (and who can blame them?), public schools are all about following rules and government-defined curriculums, private school are about making money, both are authoritative and no fun for children, therefore kids hate schools. Learning is actually fun, but not many people ever get to know We know the problem: Current school system is broken. Education is essential for individuals, and in tern, for the sustenance and prosperity of the society. However, few intelligent people want to become teachers (and who can blame them?), public schools are all about following rules and government-defined curriculums, private school are about making money, both are authoritative and no fun for children, therefore kids hate schools. Learning is actually fun, but not many people ever get to know it. Is there a solution? This book presents a possibility. I have checked their online system (it's open to all ages), and I like it. Great teachers, who know what they are talking about, and a flexible system that allows students to learn at their pace. "At their pace" might sound like the euphemism of "slow" but their game-like presentation might stimulate fast learning. All this for FREE -- and I believe it's basically available worldwide. The author has a no-nonsense way of discussing issues, which I enjoyed. He is kind, too. The whole thing started quite personally to help his teenage relative. He knew she was smart, and was surprised that she failed at one of the critical exams. He wanted to help. Boom. And he emphasizes that this online system does not eliminate the need for human interactions. People -- especially rapidly-growing youth -- need mentors and friends. Their online system is one of the possibilities of new form of education. I think the book can help us start "imagining" other approaches as well.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Brent

    Khan Academy is one of those things I really wish I would have had back in high school. I didn’t discover it until I was toward the end of my undergrad. Sal Khan emphasizes deep learning or mastery learning over the traditional “learn for the test” model that is so prevalent in today’s schools. Students rush to cram for an exam only to forget the majority of what they learned as soon as the test is over. For subjects such as mathematics, which require having a solid foundation of basic principle Khan Academy is one of those things I really wish I would have had back in high school. I didn’t discover it until I was toward the end of my undergrad. Sal Khan emphasizes deep learning or mastery learning over the traditional “learn for the test” model that is so prevalent in today’s schools. Students rush to cram for an exam only to forget the majority of what they learned as soon as the test is over. For subjects such as mathematics, which require having a solid foundation of basic principles before moving on to more advanced concepts, this can become a real problem. Sal Khan calls this “Swiss Cheese” knowledge. By.filling in the gaps many students are able to excel in subjects they didn’t think they were good at because they incorrectly believed they weren’t smart enough to be successful in learning a subject. The only reason they weren’t able to advance in a subject is because they didn’t catch on to a core concept before the teacher moved on to a new subject. Once the core concept had been learned many students go on to be high performers. Very interesting book that I highly recommend.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    While Khan has a few solid points, he misses the marks on a lot of things and fails to provide legitimately practical solutions. Overall it sounds like Khan is trying to sell an educational utopia. Several sections of the book are spent discussing how Khan Academy came about and how it developed into what it is now. There are lots of personal anecdotes scattered throughout the book and and lot of the word "I" and personal experience and opinions by the author. I only mention this to create the d While Khan has a few solid points, he misses the marks on a lot of things and fails to provide legitimately practical solutions. Overall it sounds like Khan is trying to sell an educational utopia. Several sections of the book are spent discussing how Khan Academy came about and how it developed into what it is now. There are lots of personal anecdotes scattered throughout the book and and lot of the word "I" and personal experience and opinions by the author. I only mention this to create the distinction that this is Khan's opinion and experience regarding education, and not a book that is completely devoted to presenting evidence to support the argument as would be expected from a collegiate text or article. While Khan does cite some studies and quotes, it isn't to the full extent it should be for making a logical, solid argument. The argument is good, yet it is still lacking in the long term. Some of the things Khan focuses on are the current model of schools, teacher-student ratio, subject comprehension,testing, homework, and the division of school subjects. While his comments on a few of these make legitimate sense, others fail to hit the mark for me. I personally don't believe that the current school system is broken and I don't believe technological education will be as revolutionary as some people think. I think software like Khan Academy could be good aids if implemented well, but technology won't take over the job of a teacher, nor should they and they shouldn't be the main focus overall. They should be supplements that can add on to the curriculum and help solidify concepts that have been covered to further ensure student comprehension. While I think that schools don't do everything right, I do believe they do a lot of good and with some tweaks could become even better. Khan suggests potential solutions for taking education to a more global level but none of the approaches seem practical in the long term and he mentions money being put in, but my question is why not go for broke? Instead of having tiny technological elements introduced, why not build a technological center and begin improving the entire community? Why haven't Microsoft and Google started that kind of initiative? Is it too expensive for Gate's pocketbook to handle? I doubt it, but it probably wouldn't turn a good enough profit to be a worthwhile investment I suppose. Khan also runs himself in circles when he says that the arts need to be appreciated, but then says that public schools are doing students a disservice by having extracurriculars such as band. Even though I understand where he's coming from, I don't feel like he has taken his idea and pushed it to its farthest potential even in his own mind. He hasn't provided any solid, practical solutions to many of the problems raised in the book and the ones he does provide are usually in his and his software's best interest. I don't want to downplay his achievements in the educational field, but more has to be done and some of these ideas aren't the appropriate approaches. The school system isn't broken, it just needs to adapt and become more efficient. I personally feel that my public school education provided each student with equal opportunity from 1st grade on (I did not attend kindergarten so I have no real experience or opinion on it overall). Anything extra in years to come, came from students pushing themelves to achieve more and be more. Everything that happened was not a result of the school's tracking or the testing results, sometimes the student just has to decide to excel and find ways around their own problems. It starts with students, parents, and teachers. You can't change personalities, but you can provide resources that might help each of them get engaged. You can't make a horse drink, regardless of how close to the watering hole you bring it. You can implement all the technology in the world and some people still won't take advantage of it or won't have enough intiative to engage with it. There are many more factors involved than Khan expresses. His system builds student confidence and helps solidify knowledge of certain subjects which is fantastic, but what else can it do for others? Does it present the beauty of literature, the basics of grammar, and the time periods of art? Does it encourage anything outside of STEM? Khan presses that STEM subjects are as creative as the humanities, but can his system create that creativity or will his opinion of that have a difference in societal perspective? He says that "not everyone can major in english or history at a traditional college", but in my experience I've seen more STEM majors turning out than liberal arts ones and the STEM majors get much more respect and overall opportunities offered to them. Everyone cannot major in Engineering or the hard sciences at a traditional university. Furthermore, I don't believe tracking has much overall effect on students. I'm sure I was tracked, but my academic success had nothing to do with it. I was in some APs but I missed out on a couple pre-APs because my school didn't put me in the right courses I registered for, which was pure technical error that wasn't fixable, but that doesn't mean I did any poorer in the classes. I was just surrounded by different students who were more likely to goof off than buckle down in their studies. That is a personal decision made by the students themselves, not a direct product of the school. Whether you are tracked or not, the smartest kids in elementary school were still the ones at the top of the class come graduation. Their potential was theirs to use or waste, as is everyone's. I don't feel like my school did anything to hinder or further me in the long term that would have been considered unequal in comparison to other students. I enjoyed this book overall, but I think the approach of Khan Academy could be applied in many more ways and needs further tweaking in order to efficiently provide for students across the globe. The current school system isn't broken, it just needs to adapt and realign itself in certain regards and address the current shortcomings. A good book, but not the best supported argument I've ever read or the best book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joleigh

    For most of my life I have been involved in education. Over those many years I have been saddened by the potential wasted in classrooms. The system has needed change forever! Salman Kahn is making that change happen. This book presents his ideas for the future and should be read by everyone: teachers, administrators, parents, students, entrepreneurs, EVERYONE! The good news is that Bill Gates and others have already recognized the brilliance of this man and are supporting him monetarily and othe For most of my life I have been involved in education. Over those many years I have been saddened by the potential wasted in classrooms. The system has needed change forever! Salman Kahn is making that change happen. This book presents his ideas for the future and should be read by everyone: teachers, administrators, parents, students, entrepreneurs, EVERYONE! The good news is that Bill Gates and others have already recognized the brilliance of this man and are supporting him monetarily and otherwise. When I was taking education courses back in the 60's and 70's, I came across Summerhill and A.S, Neill. Kahn has, whether knowingly or not, stumbled on a plan for education that echoes Neil, only with computers. I, as a classroom teacher, saw this potential and strove in my English classroom to stick to the curriculum, but still provide as much Neill and computers as possible. My last five years of teaching I was able to team with a special ed teacher in an inclusion classroom where we used computers, and every other adaptive device we could get, to work creating much the same atmosphere as Kahn envisions. We added Kathy Nunely's Layered Curriculum and had a wonderful time. Students were eager to go from activity to activity and, whether labeled or not, took advantage of the the "toys" we had. Many voiced the opinion that our's was the best class ever and the only one they wanted to come to. The good news is that their scores on the tests showed they were learning "stuff." After those good years, I saw the handwriting on the wall and realized the ideal learning environment my co-teacher and I had created was heading for the trash, as money got tight and "experts" had better ideas about how to provide inclusion. I was lucky enough to retire and go out on a high note. Mr. Kahn, were I ten years younger, I would be sending you my resume and begging to sign on to work on the language arts and literature for Kahn Academy. Your vision of the future of education from K-12 through college should come to reality. I only hope it happens in time for my granddaughter who is ten and already struggling within the structure of standardized education in New York State.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    I've been interested to hear more than a TED talk length discussion from Khan since the Khan Academy first started taking off. This book did the trick. It's very good. It's in simple language, so that even those not from an education background would follow his discussion. As he points out, much of what he's advocating isn't entirely new. Lots of it is being done to some degree in some educational settings. He does, however, advocate for a wider adoption of active learning/flipped teaching/inqui I've been interested to hear more than a TED talk length discussion from Khan since the Khan Academy first started taking off. This book did the trick. It's very good. It's in simple language, so that even those not from an education background would follow his discussion. As he points out, much of what he's advocating isn't entirely new. Lots of it is being done to some degree in some educational settings. He does, however, advocate for a wider adoption of active learning/flipped teaching/inquiry driven/problem-based-learning models than currently exists. The main issue that keeps me from giving this a five star rating, or recommending it to everyone I know, is that I would have liked to have seen more discussion of the possible consequences and outcomes of the idealized educational model that Khan describes. He's radically rethinking all education, from the beginning through college. I have first hand participated in discussions where people express concern about even relatively small modifications and how that could impact the students' education, the teachers' ability to create learning opportunities, or even the structure of the institution. I cannot imagine the complexity of (1) changing the system in a fundamental way and (2) what unintended consequences might come of such changes that might not be all that positive. For example, for much of Khan's book I found myself thinking that if you really subscribed to this model, homeschooling is the only real option at this point--which is only available to people in certain economic situations. Further, If a student progressed very rapidly through content, and the lines between ages and classwork become blurred, would younger people be pushed into the market earlier? All that to say, I do generally believe in what he's saying. I just think it's important to have a full discussion of all the possible implications, not just the ones that are obviously good.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Shirley Freeman

    I loved, loved, loved this book. Everybody who cares about, thinks about, and influences education should read this. Part of the book is personal: Hedge Fund analyst Salman Khan began tutoring his 12 year old cousin in math. Through a process of trial and error, he began making short you-tube videos to help his cousin and her friends gain a deeper understanding of their math work. He wrote software to collect data on how the videos were used, what was helpful and how quickly problem sets were co I loved, loved, loved this book. Everybody who cares about, thinks about, and influences education should read this. Part of the book is personal: Hedge Fund analyst Salman Khan began tutoring his 12 year old cousin in math. Through a process of trial and error, he began making short you-tube videos to help his cousin and her friends gain a deeper understanding of their math work. He wrote software to collect data on how the videos were used, what was helpful and how quickly problem sets were correctly completed - indicating mastery of material. The videos went viral, Khan got more and more involved in learning about education and what worked and what didn't. Gates Foundation and Google began funding Khan Academy. In the process of becoming educated about education and being willing to question everything, Khan developed big ideas and big dreams about how to reimagine education. Why do we divide kids into age-level classrooms? Why do we change classes after 50 or 70 minutes when the bell rings? Why do we divide learning into seemingly unrelated (but not) subjects - science, math, history, etc. What do tests really measure? How did the current system evolve and is it serving 21st century needs? And if it is no longer serving the world's needs, how can we do it better? Khan follows up with many great ideas - some of which involve better use of technology and some of which involve going back a couple hundred years to the one-room schoolhouse concept of multi-age classrooms. I hope this book is a catalyst for discussion in school systems all over the world.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Taylor

    More than any other individual, Salman Khan is reshaping education. To paraphrase a certain Vulcan, "It's education, Jim, but not as we know it." Khan started the Khan Academy and its aim now is "A free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere." The first part of the book "Learning to Teach" tells how through a serendipitous series of events he started the Academy. In "The Broken Model" he looks at the problems with conventional education. "Into the Real World" talks about how the Khan Academy More than any other individual, Salman Khan is reshaping education. To paraphrase a certain Vulcan, "It's education, Jim, but not as we know it." Khan started the Khan Academy and its aim now is "A free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere." The first part of the book "Learning to Teach" tells how through a serendipitous series of events he started the Academy. In "The Broken Model" he looks at the problems with conventional education. "Into the Real World" talks about how the Khan Academy is being used inside classrooms to achieve education's real aims. The last part, "The One World Schoolhouse" outlines what the future of education could be like. I stumbled onto the Khan Academy after watching Salman Khan give a TED talk. My maths skills had vanished since I finished high school nearly 20 years ago and had never used them in the real world. I'm a writer, what use is maths to me? It took me a week to pass through all the primary school topics and get my maths skills up to a high school level. I like this book because I know Khan's approach to education works. If you're a teacher of any sort or want the best education for your kids, or you are a student - either in school or as a lifelong learner - then you'll benefit from reading how Khan challenges the assumptions our education system is based on and has a solution that works in the virtual and the real worlds.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Damian

    I'm as much an admirer of the Kahn academy as the next guy. But reading this book ACTUALLY made me think that Sal Kahn himself does not know that much about the institution he is trying to disrupt. His characterizations of the classroom as it traditionally exists ("teachers lecturing for hours at a time") are wrong, and his insights are often shockingly mundane, at least to teachers with whom I've talked about the book ("children tend to have a 10 minute attention span"? This is not news to anyo I'm as much an admirer of the Kahn academy as the next guy. But reading this book ACTUALLY made me think that Sal Kahn himself does not know that much about the institution he is trying to disrupt. His characterizations of the classroom as it traditionally exists ("teachers lecturing for hours at a time") are wrong, and his insights are often shockingly mundane, at least to teachers with whom I've talked about the book ("children tend to have a 10 minute attention span"? This is not news to anyone.) Reading about the explosive growth and early success of the Kahn Academy was indeed interesting, and his stats- and feedback-heavy approach make tremendous sense, are, I think, legitimately revolutionary. But as I see it Kahn Academy is going to settle into a given role in our education system -- and that role, while important, will be only a small part of the big picture. I just hope he understands the small picture too.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Shantel U

    3.5 -- Full of great ideas but seemed like an extended magazine article. Light on facts -- heavy on opinion. I read this book because my daughter's sixth grade math teacher tried to implement Khan's ideas and it was a disaster. I'm not blaming Khan -- just wanted a better understanding of the concepts.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Erin Barnes

    This one will make you take a long hard look at education as it is. I have often said that we need to move away from the old way we educate. I think I am settled in nicely at a school that has a different take on education. After reading this book however, I know we still have room to grow. Salcon uses common sense with his Ivy League education to enlighten the reader.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jess d'Artagnan

    Salman Khan is most well known as the creator and leader of the Khan Academy, a tool used frequently across education facilities. I think he prefers to go by Sal so he isn't confused with the famous Bollywood actor Salman Khan (rawr). The One World Schoolhouse documents the process Khan went through in creating this resource. It all started when Sal started tutoring his niece long distance and needed some tools to make their work together more effective. This resulted in a set of videos that tau Salman Khan is most well known as the creator and leader of the Khan Academy, a tool used frequently across education facilities. I think he prefers to go by Sal so he isn't confused with the famous Bollywood actor Salman Khan (rawr). The One World Schoolhouse documents the process Khan went through in creating this resource. It all started when Sal started tutoring his niece long distance and needed some tools to make their work together more effective. This resulted in a set of videos that taught basic math and a fledgling Youtube channel that made the videos easily accessible. Khan attempts to provide a broad history of the American education system and why the system functions the way it does. This section was highly problematic. Khan cherry picked his research, failing to show the entire story and leaving out seminal, groundbreaking work by scholars like Jean Piaget and Benjamin Bloom. It was almost unethical the way the information was presented. He made it seem like he was giving readers the full story but he really wasn't. I couldn't help but feel like he could benefit from taking a few more courses in research and writing. He bias towards math and sciences over art and humanities was painfully obvious. The arts and humanities were always mentioned as secondary to STEM rather than being a critical part of education. Another problem with Khan's assessment of the educational system is that he functions under the assumption that the only way students' learning is being assessed is through formal tests (think bubble sheets and scantrons). This is far from what educators are actually doing to assess student learning. Educators are using tests, yes, but they aren't stupid. They understand that a test isn't necessarily the best was to assess learning. That is why there are other assignments (the dreaded HOMEWORK that Khan bagged on in one of his chapters) such as papers, multimedia projects, and group assignments which Khan fails to mention in any way except negatively. The rest of the book can be summed up by the last part of the title: reIMAGINED. Imagined. Imaginary. The rest of the book where he discusses the future of higher education was a rambled fantasy. It had no basis in reality or in current research or academic trends. I wish I could meet him so that I could say, "Hey Sal, my university had been doing the things you describe in your book for almost a decade before you published your ideas." Truly, the ideas he had that were solid weren't entirely new (and not ENTIRELY HIS. He tapped dance on plagiarism through the whole book!) and the ideas that were new had no basis in research or educational theory. or even economics. Bottom line: the best part of this book was learning about how the Khan academy was developed and that would honestly be better told in a magazine article rather than in a book. Recommended for: readers who like Khan academy and what to learn about how it was create BUT who can also read with a critical eye toward the lack of research in the rest of his writing. Not Recommended for: readers who want an ACCURATE depiction of the educational system.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Evon

    Emerging Tech Book Report – The One World School House by Salman Khan Evon Pontino EDUT 522: Emerging Learning Technologies June 30, 2016 Robert Hayden Concordia University Irvine School of Education In the book The One World School House Education Reimagined, Salman Khan believes the Information Revolution, the current era we are in, is underutilizing technology. If Americans as a whole were ambitious enough, we could provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. Khan Emerging Tech Book Report – The One World School House by Salman Khan Evon Pontino EDUT 522: Emerging Learning Technologies June 30, 2016 Robert Hayden Concordia University Irvine School of Education In the book The One World School House Education Reimagined, Salman Khan believes the Information Revolution, the current era we are in, is underutilizing technology. If Americans as a whole were ambitious enough, we could provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. Khan believes this after guiding his cousin to close the gaps in her “swiss cheese” understanding of math with tutorial videos he posted on YouTube for free. Despite his enormous success as a MIT graduate and successful hedgefund manager, Khan left that career and aims to educate the way he wished he was, actively and at the learner’s pace. Khan, the self proclaimed “stubborn optimist”, seeks to free American students from the “straightjacket” of an educational system by inserting the idea of creativity into our schools. Our 18th century Prussian model of education of dividing the day into periods and slicing the subjects into disciplines remains unvaried despite the rapidly changing global world we live in. Khan suggests that all subjects should be intertwined to promote mastery learning. “Active learning, owned learning, also begins with giving each student the freedom to determine where and when the learning will occur.” (p. 56) Instead of students taught to be passive learners while the teacher lectures to a full class, students should be given the freedom to determine when and where they will learn. With the use of technology and a blended platform of learning students can view lessons at home and come to school ready to interact. Portability and self-paced learning will aid in active and self-motivated learning. “All students could learn if provided with conditions appropriate to their needs; no one should have to be “held back” or put on a track that leads to academic failure.” (p.38) Khan’s idea of mastery learning fits no where into our current broken model of education. Khan believes the school day should be set up anticipating that everyone will proceed at varying rates toward the same level of mastery. Our antiquated classroom practice with it’s design to move on at a specific speed will by design leave some students behind. Khan promotes that through individual tutoring, peer assistance, or additional meaningful homework, the amount of time students have to understand a concept is variable. Khan proclaims that students are in school to fulfill government mandates and produce creditable performances on standardized tests that will keep our nation from falling behind the rest of world. He exposes that these tactics actually produce the opposite effect. This is an idea Khan has an appetite to reconstruct. His recommendation of helping students discover and nurture their particular talents that make each child unique. He doesn’t consider this training to be for after school, but rather as part of the school day. “Using self-paced video lessons, in combination with the computer-based feedback and team-teaching…fundamental coursework can be handled in one to two hours a day.” (p. 248) This would allow students to pursue their interest and talents. This could include writing poems, working with robots, or participating as an apprentice plumber. I too believe school shouldn’t discourage creativity, but provide the academic foundation for these trades to develop and students to engage in life with purpose. Khan does possess a “stubborn optimist” view of reimagining education for everyone, and doesn’t address how the taxpayer funded institutions will manage public and political demands. However, he produces a convincing argument for transformation into providing free accessible education for everyone when his video lessons on Khan Academy reveal that as of 2012, more than six million people per month have received self-paced tutoring on the website. He exults this volume is more than ten times the number of people who have attended Harvard. These videos cover but are not limited to basic arithmetic, calculus, physics, and biology. I found myself so exited to read what I have been thinking for many years about how our education system needs to change. After reading this book, I am energized to think that day by day in my classroom I can make a change to develop young minds inspired by the ideas of The One World School House. References Khan, Salman. The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2012. Print.

  22. 4 out of 5

    AngryGreyCat

    As a teacher I often use video clips from the Khan academy, along with other sources, to reinforce my instruction, to differentiate, or just to provoke interest and discussion in class. The book had many interesting aspects and topics, however I think that his condemnation of public school education in America is due to the wrong reasons. I'm not saying that there are not problems; it is obvious that there are however, the public school education that he talks about is not what happens in most c As a teacher I often use video clips from the Khan academy, along with other sources, to reinforce my instruction, to differentiate, or just to provoke interest and discussion in class. The book had many interesting aspects and topics, however I think that his condemnation of public school education in America is due to the wrong reasons. I'm not saying that there are not problems; it is obvious that there are however, the public school education that he talks about is not what happens in most classrooms anymore. No one should be lecturing middle school students for an hour at a shot. Teachers are using active learning or discovery learning models. Teachers vary groupings and present material using different methods and techniques. Many districts have given up tracking altogether. The mastery model he discusses sounds to me like outcome based education that many public schools have adopted...and abandoned. He does acknowledge that his videos are not sufficient alone; students need face time with teachers. It is supported by research that children and inner city children in particular, learn best when they have a connection to the person who is teaching them. He also discusses the homework issue, but again seems to think it is used to teach material. I don't know of any teachers that use it to teach material. Homework is about review and reinforcement or perhaps producing independent projects. He is very critical of age based groupings and perhaps that is true if you are only thinking of schools as providing a strictly academic experience, however that is not reality. It is not appropriate for 9 year olds to be in a classroom with 16 year olds. They are at a different places in life, particularly where I teach, in an inner city district. Many 16 year olds(even many of my 13 year old students) are having sex, driving cars, taking care of siblings or other young children, basically being in charge of themselves...no curfew, no bed time, no one telling them what to do or when while most 9 year olds still are subjected to some sort of parental authority. The age based system may not be perfect, however he needs to realize that schools do not just serve academic purposes. This could have been a much stronger book if Mr. Khan did not start off with so many false assumptions about the state of public education today.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jesse

    As an academic and pedagogical enterprise, the Khan Academy gets 5 stars from me (http://khanacademy.org: sign up and learn lots!). The book describing the enterprise is not as good. The personal anecdotes about the humble beginnings of the Khan Academy are the most interesting part of the book. Otherwise, it offers a one-sided history of education (a Prussian plot to contain the masses rather than to unleash their educational potential) and some dreamy, utopian notions for the future. Actually, As an academic and pedagogical enterprise, the Khan Academy gets 5 stars from me (http://khanacademy.org: sign up and learn lots!). The book describing the enterprise is not as good. The personal anecdotes about the humble beginnings of the Khan Academy are the most interesting part of the book. Otherwise, it offers a one-sided history of education (a Prussian plot to contain the masses rather than to unleash their educational potential) and some dreamy, utopian notions for the future. Actually, I share Khan's optimism for the potential of computer-assisted and self-motivated learning. However, I don't think the current learning institutions are as bleak as he portrays them in his book. Of course, there's always room for progress and he offers some practical and inspiring suggestions.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Abdullah Alaqeel

    One of the best views I've seen on education. Sal is a truly remarkable genius and his efforts must be studied.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kilian Metcalf

    I learned about Salman Khan and his Khan academy from a magazine article. I was intrigued by his dream of making free education available for everyone. One of the regrets of my life is that I was forced to abandon the study of math due to pressures of real life. Trying to fit into the traditional school system as a working adult is very challenging. Now I can renew my study of math and go as far as I want. I can study as long as want, whenever I want without the worry of registering, trying to f I learned about Salman Khan and his Khan academy from a magazine article. I was intrigued by his dream of making free education available for everyone. One of the regrets of my life is that I was forced to abandon the study of math due to pressures of real life. Trying to fit into the traditional school system as a working adult is very challenging. Now I can renew my study of math and go as far as I want. I can study as long as want, whenever I want without the worry of registering, trying to find a convenient time, and transportation (and parking) to and from a bricks and mortar college. I loved math and want to know more. Now I can.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rama Ramaswamy

    The One World Schoolhouse is Sal Khan's vision for the future of schools - where each child learns at his or her own pace, enjoys the process and is motivated to self-learn beyond the realms of conventional curriculum, teaching methods, standardised testing, deadlines with rigid approaches and many more such set conventions that plague our education system today. Yes, its a mighty vision, magnanimous, one would say. But after reading the whole book, I can confidently say that Sal Khan is a very The One World Schoolhouse is Sal Khan's vision for the future of schools - where each child learns at his or her own pace, enjoys the process and is motivated to self-learn beyond the realms of conventional curriculum, teaching methods, standardised testing, deadlines with rigid approaches and many more such set conventions that plague our education system today. Yes, its a mighty vision, magnanimous, one would say. But after reading the whole book, I can confidently say that Sal Khan is a very humble and kind human being who genuinely is troubled enough by what he sees of the education system today to do something about it. Not for himself or for his family or for motivated, privileged kids or for the kids with 'potential to excel'. That is what sets him apart. He envisions this for everyone. And he does this with all that the modern world has to offer today - internet and technology as the main resources. We've all been there. I can see so much of myself as I read through this book. As a mother to a 8 year old, I am very conscious of the mistakes that happened with me to not let it happen with my child. Unfettered time to think, create and play, encouragement to explore new avenues, making things available to them as they move from one stage to the next - these are all things that every parent understands the need for. But at school there are things that not necessarily work for you - moving from one chapter to another because you need to follow curriculum and deadlines - without bothering to check that every child has grasped every aspect of it. This is most acute in the case of mathematics - not grasping fundamentals but moving on to learn more complex ideas based on those very fundamentals. But this is of course no restricted to maths alone - such education pattern hinders a seamless understanding of everything that is supposed to groom you into a well-informed individual. It is so easy to see why maths is a deadly subject worldwide to millions of children and adults alike. It is after I've had a child of my own that I have come to believe more than ever before that every child is born with potential, every child can learn and excel if given the resources and opportunity and each child is creative and needs the space to grow and find his or her own calling. It may very well sound dreamy but it is the truth. There is no defined time to begin imparting/accumulating knowledge or get done with it. And knowledge has very less to do with what happens inside a classroom. A sign that Khan has the right interests at heart is shown by the fact that conventional teachers have approved his vision and methods and have brought it into their classrooms. It is a perfect example of genius and noble intentions coming together. Indeed, the world will benefit at large with the One World Schoolhouse. Some absolute gems in Sal Khan's admirable and amazing vision - 1. "I hoped to convey the sheer joy of learning, the thrill of understanding things about the universe. I wanted to pass along to students not only the logic but the beauty of math and science. Furthermore, I wanted to do this in a way that would be equally helpful to kids studying a subject for the first time and for adults who wanted to refresh their knowledge; for students grappling with homework and for older people hoping to keep their minds active and supple.” " 2. “In my view, no subject is ever finished. No concept is sealed off from other concepts. Knowledge is continuous; ideas flow.” 3. Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young. —HENRY FORD. It is utterly false and cruelly arbitrary to put all the play and learning into childhood, all the work into middle age, and all the regrets into old age. —MARGARET MEAD” 4. “Can you imagine if someone told Einstein, Okay, wrap up this relativity thing, we’re moving on to European history? Or said to Michelangelo, Time’s up for the ceiling, now go paint the walls. Yet versions of this snuffing out of creativity and boundary-stretching thought happen all the time in conventional schools.” 5. “Today’s world needs a workforce of creative, curious, and self-directed lifelong learners who are capable of conceiving and implementing novel ideas. Unfortunately, this is the type of student that the Prussian model actively suppresses.” 6. “In a traditional classroom, the spread between the fastest and slowest students grows over time, [and so] putting them all in one class cohort eventually makes it exceedingly difficult to avoid either completely boring the fast students or completely losing the slow ones. Most school systems address this by... putting the "fastest" students in "advanced" or "gifted" class... and the slowest students into "remedial" classes. It seems logical... except for the fact that it creates a somewhat permanent intellectual and social division between students.” Had you considered this? I always thought this was a good way to motivate the children who need to be challenged further to keep them engaged in a classroom. Now I realise this is a very convenient option, if your child happens to be a part of the advanced class. If your child is on the other end, you and your kid just end up with the stigma, temporary or permanent, of someone who is not so 'bright' and needs to toil to get accepted socially, intellectually and practically in a world that only celebrates the conventional high-achievers. I also liked the way Sal Khan presents educational aspects like maths and engineering as creative pursuits rather than something required to make your mark in this dog-eat-dog world. Its not a matter of memorizing formulas to get “the right answer.” He says "Even engineering, which is in fact the process of creating something from scratch or putting things together in novel and non-self-evident ways, is perplexingly viewed as a mechanical or rote subject. This viewpoint, frankly, could only be held by people who never truly learned math or science, who are stubbornly installed on one side of the so-called Two Culture divide. The truth is that anything significant that happens in math, science, or engineering is the result of heightened intuition and creativity. This is art by another name, and it’s something that tests are not very good at identifying or measuring." This is so true. We always look at it as 2 cultures - creativity on one side and maths and engineering and the like on the other - whereas if you really look, they are different sides of the same aspect. My question is, if we view it as such or are repelled by subjects as such, isn't it this very system to blame for it? It has always flummoxed me that quite literally every single stand-up comedian in my country is a person with an engineering background. Isn't this the by product of the system that presents it in such a rigid form? Yes, it sounds fantastic. Utopian, if you will. So there are many things in Sal Khan's construct that you will find impossible to achieve or trust. But consider the fact that Khan Academy grew from a handful of Youtube videos made by Khan for his cousins to what it is today - a tool adopted and widely used by teachers in schools. It has worked. And there is reason to think it will work further. A non-profit organisation with the best minds at work and committed to make a change in the world. To bring education to the most under-privileged and ignored sections of society worldwide. What is there to not be inspired and or to mistrust? My husband and I often talk about teachers or educators who have inspired us in any way or have left an indelible mark on us for the right reasons. And it takes us a long, long time to come up with a name. The One World Schoolhouse makes it possible to expect for our children such influential, engaging and path breaking teacher-student interactions. With modern tools doing the job of instructing and establishing fundamentals firmly in them, it leaves a whole lot of time for personalised interaction with the teachers at a comfortable pace. It is thrilling to think that our children can be encouraged to think and perform beyond convention and curriculum, with support from parents, teachers and society at large, because failure will be taken as a learning experience and exploring will be appreciated rather than frowned upon. I love Sal Khan. I can't believe I took this long to read this book. This book is highly recommended, its a must-read. It is his passion at his work that has rubbed onto me!

  27. 5 out of 5

    C. Patrick G. Erker

    I know that I'm five or six years behind in reading this book, and that much of what Sal Khan dreamt he has turned into reality in the form of today's Khan Academy. That having been said, his vision for what education should be in today's world remains as poignant and relevant in 2018 as it did in 2012. Coming from a strong personal perspective-the son of immigrants, never far from the financial stress, a bright student at MIT who decided that lectures were a bad way to learn and so instead skip I know that I'm five or six years behind in reading this book, and that much of what Sal Khan dreamt he has turned into reality in the form of today's Khan Academy. That having been said, his vision for what education should be in today's world remains as poignant and relevant in 2018 as it did in 2012. Coming from a strong personal perspective-the son of immigrants, never far from the financial stress, a bright student at MIT who decided that lectures were a bad way to learn and so instead skipped class in order to learn twice as much, a father with young kids-Khan's plan for redesigning school around mastery of competencies, around preparation for the real world alongside of fostering an inherent love for learning, around the smart and economically revolutionary use of technology should be required reading for everyone involved with learning (for kids and for adults). The book is a quick read, and for those who work in the space, isn't particularly revolutionary six years on. But as a part of the burgeoning revolution in education, it is a critical rallying cry by someone truly positioned to change the paradigm for how teaching and learning are done in the U.S. and world. I've been reading a number of inspirational books recently about what education might look like if we redesigned it from scratch or from where we are now, and I firmly believe that change is coming. It's not going to feel good for many, but it will mean better learning experiences and outcomes and ultimately a happier and healthier society. As someone who is expecting a child of my own, I'm incredibly interested in how we should be thinking about educating the next generation. Khan's book offers quite a good set of ideas. Now, if we could only just get the multi-billion-dollar education industrial complex to redirect itself as never before...

  28. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Deep topic that is insightful and overwhelming! Thankful for the audio version that helped me get through it all a bit easier. I highly encourage this for anyone who struggled with math in school and hopes to help their kids avoid the same issue.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    This is an interesting and important book about education. Sal Kahn originally created the Khan Academy, a free online education system, to help his niece learn a particular math concept. Khan shares in this book the reasons our current education system doesn’t work and a few ways we might think about fixing it. The world is changing so quickly. We need more thinkers. Students need to take responsibility for their own learning, master the basics, see the connections between concepts, and apply t This is an interesting and important book about education. Sal Kahn originally created the Khan Academy, a free online education system, to help his niece learn a particular math concept. Khan shares in this book the reasons our current education system doesn’t work and a few ways we might think about fixing it. The world is changing so quickly. We need more thinkers. Students need to take responsibility for their own learning, master the basics, see the connections between concepts, and apply their learning to solving problems. Our traditional system of education isn’t allowing students to do this. Education should be available to everyone. We should work together to help each other learn. This book gave me a lot of good things to think about and a greater desire to be a lifelong learner. Here are a few of my favorite quotes: "My name is Sal Khan. I'm the founder and original faculty of the Khan Academy, an institution serious about delivering a free education to anyone, anywhere, and I'm writing this book because I believe that the way we teach and learn is at a once-in-a-millennium turning point (p. 1)." "Between the old way of teaching and the new, there's a crack in the system, and kids around the globe are falling through it every day. The world is changing at an ever faster rate, yet systemic change, when it happens at all, moves glacially and often in the wrong direction; every day--every class period--the gap grows between the way kids are being taught and what they actually need to learn (p. 2)." "Do the standardized exams measure durable learning or just a knack for taking standardized exams (p. 2)?" "I dreamed of creating something enduring and transformative, an institution for the world that could last for hundreds of years and help us fundamentally rethink how schooling might be done (p. 6)." "The pace of change is so swift that deep creativity and analytical thinking are no longer optional; they are not luxuries but survival skills. We can no long afford for only some part of the world's population population to be deeply educated (p. 7)." "I passionately believe that the Khan Academy is a tool that can empower at least an approximate model of what the future of education should look like--a way of combining the art of teaching with the science of presenting information and analyzing data, of delivering the clearest, most comprehensive, and most relevant curriculum at the lowest possible cost (p. 10)." "When and where do people concentrate best? The best answer, of course, is that it all depends on the individual... Given all these variations, why do we still insist that the heaviest lifting in teaching and learning should take place in the confines of a classroom and to the impersonal rhythm of bells and buzzers? Technology has the power to free us from those limitations to make education far more portable, flexible, and personal; to foster initiative and individual responsibility; to restore the treasure-hunt excitement to the process of learning (p. 11)." "At every moment, we are both students and teachers; we learn by studying, but we also learn by helping others, by sharing and explaining what we know (p. 12)." "She was a straight-A student, highly motivated, always prepared. Her subpar performance baffled her. It wounded her pride, her confidence, and her self-esteem (p. 16)." "During my own school years I'd felt that some teachers were more interested in showing off what they knew than in communicating it to me. Their tone was often impatient, occasionally arrogant and even condescending. Other teachers were scripted to the point that it didn't feel like they were actually even thinking. I wanted our tutorial sessions to be a safe, personal, comfortable, thought-provoking experience. I wanted to be a tutor who genuinely shared his thinking and expressed it in a conversational style, as if I was speaking to an equal who was fundamentally smart but just didn't understand the material at hand (p. 18)." "There are any number of things that might have prevented Nadia from catching on to unit conversion, and...once the concept had passed her by, it wasn't coming back in class (p. 19)." "People learn at different rates.... Quicker isn't necessarily smarter and slower definitely isn't dumber. Further, catching on quickly isn't the same as understanding thoroughly (p. 20)." "Like many people who'd had difficulty with a particular subject, she'd told herself she'd never get it, and that was that (p. 22)." "A question is asked; an answer is expected immediately; that brings pressure. The student doesn't want to disappoint the teacher. She fears she will be judged. And all these factors interfere with the student's ability to fully concentrate on the matter at hand. Even more, students are embarrassed to communicate what they do and do not understand (p. 23)." "I definitely don't agree with the knee-jerk opinion that hedge funds are evil; the majority of the people in the field are actually highly intellectual, good people. Still, the focus of a workday in investing is not exactly social service. Was that really how I wanted to spend my life? Was that really the best use of my limited time on Earth (p. 24)?" “‘In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, p. 27).’” “If the ‘change-ups’—things like small-group discussions or active problem-solving—recharged student focus, why was the broadcast lecture still the dominant mode? Why was it still presumed that students would spend most of their day passively listening (p. 30)?” “Tutoring is intimate. You talk with someone, not at someone. I wanted students to feel like they were sitting next to me at the kitchen table, elbow to elbow, working out problems together. I didn’t want to appear as a talking head at a blackboard, lecturing from across the room (p. 34).” “If faces are so important to human beings, why exclude them from videos? Because they are a powerful distraction from the concepts being discussed (p. 34).” “Mastery learning simply suggests that students should adequately comprehend a given concept before being expected to understand a more advanced one (p. 37).” “‘Students in mastery learning programs at all levels showed increased gains in achievement over those in traditional instruction programs (p. 41).’” “Taking responsibility for education is education; taking responsibility for learning is learning. From the student’s perspective, only by taking responsibility does true learning become possible (p. 42).” “Teachers can convey information. They can assist and they can inspire—and these are important and beautiful things. At the end of the day, however, the fact is that we educate ourselves (p. 45).” “When a given cell is involved in learning, it literally grows. The process is not exactly analogous to what happens when one exercises a muscle, but it’s pretty close (p. 46).” “This web of connections and associations comprises what we think of informally as understanding (p. 46).” “Chemistry is partitioned off from physics even though they study many of the same phenomena at different levels. All of these divisions limit understanding and suggest a false picture of how the universe actually works (p. 49).” “It is the connections among concepts—or the lack of connections—that separate the students who memorize a formula for an exam only to forget it the next month and the students who internalize the concepts and are able to apply them when they need them a decade later (p. 50).” “If a given subject has been sealed, wrapped, and tied up with a bow—if the message is that the subject is finished—why bother to remember it?.... In my view, no subject is ever finished. No concept is sealed off from other concepts. Knowledge is continuous; ideas flow (p. 51).” “Each student understands in his or her own way. Personal responsibility for learning goes hand in hand with a recognition of the uniqueness of each learner (p. 52).” “Students should be encouraged, at every stage of the learning process, to adopt an active stance toward their education. They shouldn’t just take things in; they should figure things out. This is an extremely valuable habit to inculcate, since in the modern world of work no one tells you what formula to plug in; success lies in the ability to solve problems in novel and creative ways (p. 56).” “The apprentice system in general represented one side of a schism—those who believe that education should, above all, be practical, aimed at giving students the skills and information they need to make a living—that has existed for thousands of years, and exists still. On the other side are those who feel that seeking knowledge is an ennobling process worth pursuing for its own sake (p. 67).” “Aristotle…asserts that ‘all men naturally desire knowledge.’ He doesn’t say marketable skills. He doesn’t say the right credentials to get a job. He’s talking about learning for the sake of learning, and he’s positing that impulse as the very definition of what it means to be human (p. 68).” “There are a couple of serious problems with the model of the classic Greek academy. The first is that it was elitist—far more so than even today’s most exclusive prep schools. The young men who could afford to hang around discussing the good and the true were oligarchs. Their families owned slaves. None of these students really needed to care about how to harvest crops or weave textiles. Real work, even work that was intellectual, was beneath them (p. 68).” “The idea that a college degree is a prerequisite to any professional career is quite a new one, only about a hundred years old. The idea that college is needed for everyone in order to be productive members of society is only a few decades old. Let me be clear as to why I raise this point. I’m not suggesting that people shouldn’t go to college. My contention, rather, is that universities and their career-seeking students have a deep-seated contradiction to resolve: On the one hand, our society now views a college education as a gateway to employment; on the other hand, academia has tended to maintain a bias against the vocational (p. 69)” “Before books were widely distributed, teaching was incredibly nonuniform. Teachers taught what they knew, in the manner that seemed best to them…. The mass production of books changes all that—and this is an aspect of education history to which too little attention has been paid (p. 73).” “Our sacred notion of the ‘class period’ was put in place ‘so that self-motivation to learn would be muted by ceaseless interruptions.’ Heaven forbid that students might delve beyond the prescribed curriculum or have time to discuss possibly heterodox and dangerous ideas among themselves; the bell rang and they had no choice but to break off their conversation or their deeper inquiry and move on to the next episode of approved instruction. By design, order trumped curiosity; regimentation took precedence over personal initiative (p. 77).” “Today’s world needs a workforce of creative, curious, and self-directed lifelong learners who are capable of conceiving and implementing novel ideas. Unfortunately, this is the type of student that the Prussian model actively suppresses (p. 80).” “The power and importance of algebra is not to be found in x’s and y’s on a test paper. The important and wonderful thing is that all those x’s and y’s can stand in for an infinitely diverse set of phenomena and ideas…. Most students, rather than appreciating algebra as a keen and versatile tool for navigating through the world, see it as one more hurdle to be passed, a class rather than a gateway (p. 89).” “Tests say little or nothing about a student’s potential to learn a subject (p. 91).” “Increasingly, all around the world, mind workers are what’s called for…. To be successful in a competitive and interconnected world, we need every mind we have; to solve our common problems regarding relations among peoples and the health of our planet, we need all the talent and imagination we can find. What sense does it make to effectively filter out a percentage of kids so early in the game, to send the message that they probably have nothing to contribute? What about the late bloomers? What about the possible geniuses who happen to look at problem differently from most of us and may not test well at an early age (p. 97)?” “Creativity in general tends to be egregiously underappreciated and often selected against in our schools (p. 98).” “Why should teachers and administrators feel confident that this was the right amount of homework? What is the right amount of homework (p. 104)?” “Is doing homework really the best use of time that families might otherwise spend just being together. Studies suggest otherwise. One large survey…concluded that the single strongest predictor of better achievement scores and fewer behavioral problems was not time spent on homework, but rather the frequency and duration of family meals (p. 113).” “‘If you change the technology but not the method of learning, then you are throwing good money after bad practice… [The iPad] is not a classroom learning tool unless you restructure the classroom… The metrics, the methods, the goals and the assessments all need to change (p. 123).’” “How could I manage twenty or thirty students working on different subjects, at different grade levels, each at his or her own pace? How could I keep track of who needed what and who was ready to advance to more challenging material? Fortunately, this kind of information management is exactly what computers are good at (p. 136).” “It was never my vision that watching computer videos and working out problems should comprise a kid’s entire education. Quite the contrary. My hope was to make education more efficient, to help kids master basic concepts in fewer hours so that more time would be left for other kinds of learning (p. 149).” “Kids were eager to start ‘Khan time’ and some didn’t want to go to recess afterwards (p. 165).” “Remedial math classes are often viewed as something of an academic graveyard (p. 168).” “‘We believe that our use of Khan Academy is resulting in a fundamental change in student character—with responsibility replacing apathy and effort replacing laziness. We believe that this character change is the primary reason behind the stunning results we are beginning to experience—at both the class level and in individual students (p. 170).” “‘Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young (Henry Ford, p. 171).’” “I started posting videos about the banking crisis. To be honest, I didn’t give a lot of thought to the question of who exactly the videos were for. I did them because I felt the need to do them (p 172).” “There was a deep need to help educate people of all ages regarding the ever-changing dynamics of the world around them. With the world becoming more and more complex, true democracy—not to mention peace of mind—was at risk if average folks couldn’t understand what was happening and why. This realization, in turn, led to an ever more basic question about the artificial boundaries of formal education. Why does ‘education’ stop at some point? Why isn’t it lifelong (p. 173)?” “Not only is the ability to learn lifelong, but, within certain limits, it is in our power to maximize and guide this ability (p. 174).” “Adults seem to be better at learning by association (p. 175).” “‘If we know why we are learning and if the reason fits our needs as we perceive them, we will learn quickly and deeply (p. 176).’” “Among the world’s children starting grade school this year, 65 percent will end up doing jobs that haven’t even been invented yet (p. 179).” “No one is smart enough to know what will happen tomorrow—or, for that matter, in the next hour, minute, or nanosecond—let alone half a generation down the line (p. 180).” “The crucial task of education is to teach kids how to learn. To lead them to want to learn. To nurture curiosity, to encourage wonder, and to instill confidence so that later on they’ll have the tools for finding answers to the many questions we don’t yet know how to ask (p. 180).” “As our increasingly interconnected world cries out for more minds, more innovators, more of a spirit of inclusion, conventional education continues to discourage and exclude (p. 181).” “If kids can advance at their own pace, and if they’d be happier and more productive that way, why not let everybody do it? Where was the harm? Wouldn’t kids learn more, wouldn’t their curiosity and imagination be better nourished, if they were allowed to follow their instincts and take on new challenges as they were able (p. 184)?” “We can reach more ambitious goals if we are given the latitude to set those goals for ourselves (p. 189).” “There is nothing natural about segregating kids by age (p. 192).” “I believe the school of the future should be built around an updated version of the one-room schoolhouse. Kids of different ages should mix…. No one is just a student; everyone is a teacher as well, worthy of the respect that goes with that (p. 194).” “Conventional classroom teaching is one of the loneliest jobs in the world (p. 197).” “I believe a big part of the reason kids revere and obey their coaches is that the coaches are specifically and explicitly on the student’s side (p. 200).” “We need to radically rethink the whole idea of summer vacation (p. 207).” “I would eliminate letter grades altogether. In a system based on mastery learning, there is no need and no place for them (p. 216).” “The large and mixed-age classes I envision would be learning environments in which an important part would be played be peer-to-peer tutoring (p. 218).” “This brings me to the idea of the ‘creative portfolio’ as a central part of a student’s ‘transcript (p. 219).’” “In the real world, however, with its blatant inequities and tragic shortfalls in both money and ideas, new approaches are needed to prop up and refresh a tired system that works for some but fails for many. The cost of wasting millions of minds is simply unacceptable (p. 228).” “‘I have never let my schooling interfere with my education (Mark Twain, p. 233).’” “Rather than taking notes in lecture halls, these students will be actively learning through real-world intellectual projects (p. 238).” “Can creativity be taught (p. 245)?” “I’m a big believer that almost anyone can obtain an intuitive understanding of almost any concept if he or she approaches it with deep understanding of the fundamentals (p. 248).” “Can you imagine if someone told Einstein, Okay, wrap up this relativity thing, we’re moving on to European history? Or said to Michaelangelo, Time’s up for the ceiling, now go pain the walls. Yet versions of this snuffing out of creativity and boundary-stretching thought happen all the time in conventional schools (p. 249).” “My imagined One World Schoolhouse would… be inclusive; it would be affordable. It would help to level the educational playing field both within communities and across national borders (p. 251).” “The schoolhouse would not be the most hushed of places; it would be more like a hive than a chapel. Students needing quiet could seek our private alcoves. But the bigger space would buzz with games and with collaborations. Self-paced rather than lockstep learning would encourage students to share their most recent discoveries about the workings of the universe (p. 252).” “For me personally, the biggest discovery has been how hungry students are for real understanding (p. 253).”

  30. 5 out of 5

    Chad

    As a former teacher who used Khan Academy in my classroom, I've benefited hugely from Salman Khan's work. I was happy to see in this book that his view for what a classroom, and an education, could be is very much in line with my beliefs. The book touches on a lot of specific problems with education today, and among the biggest are (1) that we hold far too low expectations for students and (2) we are working in an arbitrary, antiquated system. Khan presents somewhat of a strawman argument against As a former teacher who used Khan Academy in my classroom, I've benefited hugely from Salman Khan's work. I was happy to see in this book that his view for what a classroom, and an education, could be is very much in line with my beliefs. The book touches on a lot of specific problems with education today, and among the biggest are (1) that we hold far too low expectations for students and (2) we are working in an arbitrary, antiquated system. Khan presents somewhat of a strawman argument against education at times, and I've seen great teachers find ways to flourish in the system today, but I believe he is right that most students are being disserved and there are fundamental issues with our system. He also glosses over behavioral or discipline issues, thinking they'll all be solved by a more engaging and human curriculum and pace. This likely is a little naive, but there are plenty of other good books on classroom management. The current model groups students by age in an assembly-line fashion, potentially breaking off into different tracks (honors vs. regular vs. remedial), but for the most part assuming everyone needs to learn everything at the same pace, and if it isn't learned well enough to just continue on but to give them a B instead of an A. This completely misses that you need mastery of fundamentals in order to proceed, and that students may develop at different rates. It forces the "slower" students to have a Swiss Cheese education, with many gaps, and forces the "fast" kids to slow down, see school as boring, and lessen their motivation to learn independently. It further assumes that the "slow" kids will always be slow, and the "fast" kids will always be fast. His main point is that technology can fix these problems by allowing more independent learning and give teachers (and parents, etc.) a better idea of what their students understand, and where they should step in to help. I believe everyone should read this book. Specifically anyone who is a student, anyone who has kids, anyone working in a classroom or in education, or anyone who believes educating the world is important. === More detailed notes === INTRO Classrooms today follow a factor model Graduation rates and test scores are irrelevant, not the point of education. It's about the impact on human lives. "potential realized or squandered, dignity enhanced or denied." Classrooms are too passive, can we make it active and self-paced? Can we remove fear of failure (create safe spaces to fail)? Many people get good grades without learning anything. Lots of content there is no reason to keep in mind after the test. Noble goal is for success to be self-defined PART 1 - Learning to Teach "Tracking" can set kids on a worse life path (or better) Khan started as an experiment, teaching one family member Teaching is both art & science, should have rigor Typically, once a unit is covered it doesn't show up again. Class has to move on to meet deadlines and ensure most students have a chance to get through all material. Lessons *should* be paced to individual needs. Basic concepts need to be deeply understood ("mastered") Harvard Business School uses case-based learning, much better model (active, can't be passive) Want to allow teachers do get away from rote lecturing and instead focus on mentoring, inspiring, providing perspective Focusing on mastery improves student motivation, develops more positive attitudes Need more associative learning (connections to old material) in classrooms. Want students to understand the "flow" of content, how it relates. "Subjects" do the opposite. Connection between math and physics, or probability and biology, etc. aren't obvious and aren't always paced correctly. This led to the idea of the "Knowledge Map" on Khan Academy. The idea that a subject is "finished" signals to students that it's time to forget that content. Need to understand knowledge will build off that previous knowledge. "No subject is ever finished" -- means you also need to make the content relevant and have a good reason for everything you are teaching Importance of reflection and spiraling. Bringing back old content. Problem solving and figuring things out is important. PART 2 - The Broken Model Current system is arbitrary and outdated (Prussian) False dichotomy between wisdom and skill, should teach both Textbooks became more authority than teacher (expert behind expert), standardized a lot of subjects "All greatness of character is dependent on individuality." - James Fenimore Cooper Prussian idea was to create loyal and tractable citizens. Cynical view was to lower self-motivation, prepare for jobs/citizenship, not independent thought (from John Taylor Gatto, NY teacher of the year) Passing students without mastery is a disservice and a lie. They are told they understand something well enough to move on when they really don't. Partially due to arbitrary cutoffs (semesters/years) and a single grade to encompass many topics. "The failure to relate classroom topics to their eventual application in the real world is one of the central shortcomings of our broken classroom model" Tests are of limited value. Doesn't show potential, can have a bad day, doesn't show retention after that day, etc. "Tests measure the approximate state of a student's memory and perhaps understanding, in regard to a particular subset of subject matter at a given moment in time, it being understood that the measurement can vary considerably and randomly according to the particular questions being asked." States request new tests, change things up based on test scores. Are the students being tested, or the test/test creators? Need to see STEM as creative, along with arts. Teachers have lower expectations of students in lower-tracked courses, or who traditionally have underperformed. This is bad. Self-fulfilling prophecy. Value of homework is not known, likely very low value. Measured in time instead of learning. Usually rote, may assume parents can help. No feedback while working alone. May be better to "flip" the classroom, and have video lectures as homework and shared problem-solving time in the classroom. Can ask peers, help peers, ask for help from a teacher, and get feedback. "Difficulties or misconceptions were addressed as they were actually occurring" Technology should allow more time for human interaction, less administration/lecture. PART 3 - Into the Real World Traditional education doesn't do a lot for learning when to use a given strategy. You drill one strategy, show you can follow the procedure, and then move on. Rarely shown a lot of different types of problems and need to know which strategy/procedure to use. "Expectations of teachers and educators are far too low" Importance of a arithmetic bootcamp to start the year, refresh fundamentals, even in higher-level math classes (Alg 1) Teachers wanted to know when a student was "stuck" PART 4 - The One World Schoolhouse People are fortunate if they come from a family/community that values education. Need to expand that to everyone. Could have schools with mixed-ages. Gives a chance for leadership, for emulation, enhances maturity all-around. Nowhere else are you surrounded by only same-aged people. We fail to entrust teens with real responsibility. Don't let them take education into their own hands. Experimented with a multi-age math class at Marlborough school. Results looked good, but were still in process at time of book writing. Idea to have bigger 75-100 student classrooms with 3-4 teachers. More variety, more student choice for students. More peer support and professional companionship for teachers. Need to hold high expectations, like coaches do. Need to be clearly on student's side. Idea to get rid of summer vacation. Students unlearn a lot. Only a logistical problem. Self-directed learners could take vacations at any time, not just summer. Transcripts could be rethought. GPAs are generally not useful information. Just showed good at playing the game, doesn't show knowledge or potential. Create a system based on mastery learning. Could have outside credentialing, and schools could provide a narrative and portfolio of work. Software could give a more full picture of the learner, such as how hard they try, when they quit or give up, etc. Technology getting cheaper can bring this to everyone in the world. Can put lessons on DVDs, make available over cellular coverage. College could also adopt these ideas. Be more experiential, co-op based, get people from industry involved that *want* to be there. No researchers that don't want to teach. Current system creates students attractive to admissions officers, not necessarily independent thinkers. "if you give students the opportunity to learn deeply and see the magic of the universe around them, almost everyone will be motivated" (providing right tools is motivating)

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