I love TED talks. If they weren’t quite so long, I would probably listen/watch a lot more of them.
I have to thank a facebook friend for posting a link to this TED talk by Salman Khan. He is proposing that teachers consider using videos like the ones he made more often to help them teach. I would suggest watching the talk because I don’t want to explain it all here. In fact, my primary reason for writing this post is to share the link.
At first, I was quite skeptical. It is, after all, in my nature to be skeptical, but I watched the video anyway. I was more than pleasantly surprised, and when I visited the Khan Academy website I was impressed. I tried out the videos about the federal funds rate and the one about limits (it has been a long time since I’ve looked at limits). The federal funds rate video wasn’t perfect – it would improve with better drawings to accompany it. The limits video was an instant refresher, and I was surprised at how fast I recalled what he was talking about.
Khan’s proposal is that students would learn better if given the chance to watch and repeat as necessary the video lectures and then work on “homework” in class. It seems like a reasonable idea to me, at least for math and perhaps certain science classes.
I don’t think just anybody could have made successful videos, though. Khan is talented, and I think that’s a big reason why his videos work. It’s an interesting TED talk, and I think I might brush up on some calculus using the Khan Academy.