MIT + Khan Academy = We All Win.


Pardon the hyperbole, but this may be one of the biggest partnerships in education since chalk met the chalkboard. MIT has officially joined forces with Khan Academy to launch a new set of educational videos.

But it’s not what you think.

In this new partnership, MIT students will be making videos, not the professors. It’s a truly inspiring time in education when you see a school ask its own students to become the teachers. It’s like the ultimate flipped classroom. It’s a flipped school.

“Our students have responded with all the energy and enthusiasm we knew they would. We worked with them to design the program, and the results are fantastic.” -Ian A. Waitz, Dean of the School of Engineering and the Jerome C. Hunsaker Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

How It Started

The entire initiative is known as MIT + K12. Waitz started it to “help address growing challenges in primary and secondary education in the United States, especially in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math.”

A 2010 survey of American teenagers showed that only 5 percent view engineers as significant contributors to society. Moreover, the National Academy of Engineering reports that less than 5 percent of all university degrees awarded in the United States are in engineering, compared to 21 percent in Asia and 12 percent in Europe. -MIT Press Release

How It Works

Under MIT+K12, MIT students produce videos that are five to 10 minutes long on topics of their choosing; they can also develop video concepts requested by teachers, K-12 students and other users. In the three dozen MIT+K12 videos posted so far, students have focused on topics ranging from flying robots to basic chemistry to Earth’s rotation.

MIT+K12 also offers opportunities for K-12 students and teachers to communicate with the MIT students making the videos, and vice versa. “From the outset, MIT students wanted to know their videos would be useful to the students watching them,” Waitz says. “The only way to really figure this out is to put the groups in touch with each other.” -MIT Press Release

How To View Videos

So how do you access these awesome videos? There is a dedicated YouTube channel, MIT website and area on Khan Academy. (Khan is an MIT alumnus)

Additional Resources

9 Comments

  1. siouxgeonz

    April 27, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    If only there were some quality control.   The pedagogy of Khan’s videos is questionable at best (lecture, chalk and talk, procedure-based — hey, if you leave out the concepts things are a lot simpler!) and he tells me that 83 x 4 is a sum and that two plus itself is two. 

    • mistermcintosh

      May 2, 2012 at 5:19 pm

       @siouxgeonz No, its questionable “at worst.” They are not perfect, but as the process of iteration continues the Khan Academy videos and supporting material will continue to improve. True, they are not highly conceptual (at this point) but they are not meant to be. They do a pretty fair job in most cases and are good as refreshers or for “remembering” how to do something that was supposed to be previously learned. If people waited for everything to be perfect before they tried it or took a chance, very little would ever get done.

      • siouxgeonz

        May 2, 2012 at 5:43 pm

         @mistermcintosh I don’t have problems with imperfect.
           I have problems with 2+2 = 2.
           I have problems with calling a very sloppy, **easily edited** set of videos “revolutionary.”  
            Oh, what harm does it do?
            Every day I work with (just interrupted this to answer a question) students who struggle with math.   They fight the idea that they’re stupid and incompetent.   Then they’re told that here’s this wonderful new thing that is revolutionizing education… only they’re still confused, because … they honestly thought two plus two was four.   They’re even more convinced that… well, they should just drop out of that math class.   Forget the degree.
            I wish I were making a big deal about nothing.  See these articles:
        ¢http://engagingideas.net/frcc-student-learning/math/ — Dorothea Steinke’s work with Steffe and Cobb’s stages and developmental Math students ¢http://www.ncsall.net/?id=481 – Focus on Basics article by Dorothea Steinke about teaching “Parts and Wholes.” ¢http://www.resourceroom.net/math/ida_math_spring2011_booth.asp — IDA article: Why Can’t Students Get the Concept of Math?
         
        ¢http://www.statlit.org/pdf/2009CarnegieFoundation-Developmental-Math-CC-Students-Understand.pdf – the original research the IDA article is based on ¢
         What Community College Developmental Mathematics Students Understand About Mathematics
        http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/carnegie-perspectives/what-were-learning/what-community-college-developmental-mathematics-students-understand-about-math
         
        Now, I don’t actually expect you to reconsider… but other readers might. THere’s more to teaching math than grabbing a camera and explaining quickly… that has been done by math teachers for years and years and years, and works for the people whose parents (or somebody else) actually *taught* them the math.   They can feel smart and wonderful and pity those people who Just Really Aren’t Bright Enough (and hey, they shouldn’t really be in college anyway)… who are very capable of learning from good teachers.

        • siouxgeonz

          May 2, 2012 at 5:44 pm

           @mistermcintosh    And please tell me, if it’s “improving,” why fundamental errors arent’ edited out?  Comments on some of the mistakes have been there for many the month.

        • mistermcintosh

          May 3, 2012 at 9:59 am

           @siouxgeonz It appears we share some of the same concerns with respect to the current state of math education and the abilities of our learners. 
           
          I’m taking a big picture approach. Out of 3,000 videos, I do not think he should be condemned if some of them have faults. Should he take the feedback and fix errors? Sure, and I do not know why he doesn’t since he has a staff now. But Khan Academy is evolving into something more than a collection of videos. They are moving into more interactive and conceptual stuff. These things take time and this field is evolving rapidly. Of course it’s going to be messy for awhile.
           
          This whole pro-con argument centered around Khan Academy and video instruction in general is much like that which arises following a major shift in the status quo of any science (Newtonian mechanics –> quantum theory comes to mind). Some people are so invested in the old ways and are so sure they are right (or are frightened of the consequences of being wrong after all this time) that they put all their effort into discrediting the new ideas instead of trying to understand them and adapt.
           
          I do not use very many Khan Academy videos myself and I just don’t use ones that have glaring errors. But, the good ones? Sure I use them sometimes, and so should anyone if the need arises. The folks at MITx But what I don’t do is throw the baby out with the bath water.

        • mistermcintosh

          May 3, 2012 at 10:01 am

          @siouxgeonz
          I’m taking a big picture approach. Out of 3,000 videos, I do not think he should be condemned if some of them have faults. Should he take the feedback and fix errors? Sure, and I do not know why he doesn’t since he has a staff now. But Khan Academy is evolving into something more than a collection of videos. They are moving into more interactive and conceptual stuff. These things take time and this field is evolving rapidly. Of course it’s going to be messy for awhile.
           
          This whole pro-con argument centered around Khan Academy and video instruction in general is much like that which arises following a major shift in the status quo of any science (Newtonian mechanics –> quantum theory comes to mind). Some people are so invested in the old ways and are so sure they are right (or are frightened of the consequences of being wrong after all this time) that they put all their effort into discrediting the new ideas instead of trying to understand them and adapt.
           
          I do not use very many Khan Academy videos myself and I just don’t use ones that have glaring errors. But, the good ones? Sure I use them sometimes, and so should anyone if the need arises. The folks at MITx even recommend his series on differential equations (BTW, its not perfect either). But what I don’t do is throw the baby out with the bath water.

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