Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How Bill Gates' Favorite Teacher Wants to Disrupt Education

I found a very interesting article that I wanted to share with you entitled, "How Bill Gates' Favorite Teacher Wants to Disrupt Education" written by Gregory Ferenstein in Fast Company (2/16/2011).

I have previously posted about Sal Khan and the Khan Academy (see: The Khan Academy: Education to Anyone, Anywhere) and their goal of using technology to educate the world. They have 2,000+ videos on YouTube covering everything from basic arithmetic and algebra to differential equations, calculus, physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, history, finance, etc. which have all been recorded by Sal. He even offers reviews for the SAT and the GMAT tests!

So what is so interesting about this article? The fact that Sal gave up millions of dollars in earnings as a hedge fund manager to produce low budget educational films on YouTube for free? Or that some of his biggest fans, and now supporters, include Bill Gates and the Google Foundation? Or the fact that Sal's degrees include an MBA from Harvard Business School, a Masters in electrical engineering and computer science, a BS in electrical engineering and computer science, and a BS in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology?

Ok, honestly, all of those things are really impressive and amazing, but the most interesting aspect is how Sal wants to turn education upside down. He wants to:
“decouple credentialing from learning.” Instead of handing out degrees, standardized assessments would be the measure of employee competence. Anyone could learn at their own pace in their own way: in an internship, as an entrepreneur, or at home on the Internet. Then, everyone, no matter how they were educated, would be equal before the evaluation. Additionally, he thinks the assessment could be more meaningful than whatever abilities a college degree actually signals to employers.

Second, lectures would become homework and teacher tutoring would occur during class time. ...allows more personalized education during school hours.
Please take the time to read the entire article: How Bill Gates' Favorite Teacher Wants to Disrupt Education.  Let us know your thoughts, especially those concerning Sal's thoughts on assessments.

I have to admit that it's an interesting idea on how lectures should become the homework and school hours should be available for a more personalized education. Please take a look at the Khan Academy as it offers a great supplement (individually paced instruction) for any classroom.

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