A Must Read! The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined
When Sal Kahn created Khan Academy, he forever transformed education. His recent book The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined chronicles how the seed of Khan Academy was planted and grew to fruition, eventually garnering support from Bill Gates and Google. The story of Khan Academy may be familiar to those who have heard Khan speak, but he presents more than just his story in this book—he presents his vision of how education could be.
Khan suggests a complete upheaval of many educational structural confinements in favor of an approach that emphasizes a more holistic and continuous flow of knowledge. His ideas are built around correcting what he sees as the major flaw in the current educational system: allotting a fixed amount of time per topic—an amount of time that often does not allow students to fully comprehend the subject. In contrast, Khan claims:
“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” (39).
Khan outlines the broad ideas of how student learning support needs to improve suggesting that
- students be encouraged to become active learners
- fixed amounts of time for classes and topics be reconsidered
- testing strategies and levels at which we want students to achieve be revised and refined
- technology be thoughtfully integrated into the teaching process, and
- self-directed learning be encouraged
The last point—self-directed learning—forms the bedrock of Khan’s reimagining of the schoolhouse. He sees an educational setting where
- students of various ages and skill levels work collaboratively peer mentoring and learning from each other at their own speed
- classes are combined adding more students—and more teachers—to the mix
- technology is used judiciously and only for a few hours a day, with the rest of the day spent on other creative interests in the arts and sciences
- learning becomes a year-round, lifelong pursuit by changing the current semester structure of traditional school in ways that benefit both students and teachers
Khan’s ideas extend to ways that technology could allow educational opportunities to be globalized for literally pennies a day, and how the post-secondary system can change to take better advantage of self-directed and experiential learning.
What do you think about Khan’s ideas for transforming education?