Khan Academy: Teaching as explaining or teaching as inspiring?

Jose- I just had to figure out what Khan Academy is about so I went onto youtube. If the stuff I found is any indication of the quality of Khan Academy videos, I can’t think of a worse way to recycle our same old teacher-served student-swallowed teaching than these videos. I thought I would provide […]

7 Year-old math Drawing Thanks to @vihartvihart

Jose-

I just had to figure out what Khan Academy is about so I went onto YouTube. If the stuff I found is any indication of the quality of Khan Academy videos, I can’t think of a worse way to recycle our same old teacher-served student-swallowed teaching than these videos. I thought I would provide a simple comparison of two videos to explain why we need to create the future of teaching by focusing on student driven learning. But what I found was more than I bargained for.

This is going to be a media-heavy post, so bear with me. First I went online and I found the video below. It appears to be a Khan Academy sponsored video. It seems reasonable enough in terms of content but definitely didn’t hold my attention.

In the process of finding Khan I found Victoria Hart (Twitter: @vihartvihart). Now this woman is a young “Mathemusician” who has been kinda awesome her whole life. Or, at least since she was nineteen and composed a 7-part musical septet based on the seven books of Harry Potter. She also presented a paper on binary numbers in musical composition and another on Computational Balloon Twisting: The Theory of Balloon Polyhedra in undergraduate school.

Below is a video she created for youtube. Just for fun. I think the comparison of the two videos helped to clarify for me the difference between teaching as explaining math and teaching as inspiring math.

So I said to myself, “Hey check out this awesome artist mathematician I can beat Sal Khan over the head with.” But then I discovered, Sal Khan has hired Vi Hart to make videos for Khan Academy. I was floored, intrigued, confused. Who is Vi Hart? I scavenged her 52 YouTube videos for signs of her credibility. Thankfully, I found the video below that Vi created about the idea of selling your message and media.

At this point I am not sure who is smarter, Vi Hart for being able to help me understand math better than I ever have before or Sal Khan for hiring her. He can certainly afford so pay her well, so I hope he is. Especially sine his salary seems to be confidential and has not been reported to guidestar since 2011.

Finally, check out the drawing at the top of the page my 7 year old son did after watching Vi Hart’s videos. We have been watching them all back to back now and he is fascinated with the ideas of math more than I ever was. Now that is brilliant.

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