A Critique of Khan Academy—Is It Deserved?
Katie Ash of EdWeek writes about a critique of Khan Academy that’s gone viral:
“By now, you’ve probably heard of Sal Khan, the educator who began by creating videos to explain math to his cousins, which has grown into a library of over 3,000 assorted educational clips with more than 150 million views on YouTube. The resulting Khan Academy, a nonprofit organization that aims to provide students with free access to all those resources, has received grant funding from educational philanthropy giants like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
However, not everyone is thrilled with the concept. In June, two associate professors from Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan—Dave Coffey and John Golden—posted a video in the satirical style of Mystery Science Theater 3000 critiquing a Khan Academy video explaining how to multiply and divide negative and positive integers. The professors criticized Khan’s inconsistency with positive and negative signs in the video, and pointed out areas where he could improve his pedagogy, generally poking fun at the Khan Academy and its trove of videos.
The professors’ video went viral and is now up to over 20,000 views on YouTube. In response, the Khan Academy immediately pulled the math video in question and posted two separate videos explaining the concept, implementing many of the changes suggested by the professors in their satirical video. A few days later, the Khan Academy released yet another video dealing with the same subject and addressing more of the professors’ concerns.
But as Dave Coffey explained on his blog, it is the pedagogy of the lecture model and Khan’s emphasis on how to complete the mathematical procedures he’s explaining instead of the conceptual framework behind those procedures (the why of education) that is at the heart of the criticism.” Read more here.
Have you watched Coffey and Golden’s video? What do you think of Khan Academy, and does it deserve the professors’ criticism?