Thinking About How to Approach the Education Future with Khan Academy

Little Eddie is on the run today, so I just want to point you to a quickie. A few months ago I told you about the glimpse into the education future known as Khan Academy. After talking about how the online curriculum was being used in a California school, I noted:

It represents a key part of the transformational movement offering students a wider variety of effective learning options. Let’s embrace it.

While generally a fan of what Salman Khan is doing, education policy guru Rick Hess warned a couple weeks ago against the tendency to make him into the “most overhyped edu-entrepreneur of the moment.” Fair enough. I very often appreciate Hess’s critical focus on toning down hype and expectations. He brings a strong, reality-based perspective to school reform.

More recently, the education research couple of Emily and Bryan Hassel wrote a great follow-up piece for Education Next (H/T Joanne Jacobs) arguing that Khan is “mis-hyped” rather than “over-hyped” — that what’s needed is to combine the high-quality technological tool with “excellent live teachers”:

The change would be at least budget-neutral, and the great teacher could earn more within budget, since lab monitors are not paid as much. While one teaching position disappears – and that should be the weakest teacher who goes – other jobs emerge, such as the monitor or combined monitor/tutor. Possibly some of today’s struggling teachers would shine in those more focused roles….

A great discussion to have. Think outside the box. Think future!