What can be learned from these videos?
By Ronald Griffin, Eric Merryman and Cameron Hall
Salman Khan: Let's use video to reinvent education By Ronald Griffin
Several great things can be learned from the video Salman Khan: Let's use video to reinvent education. In this video Salman talks in detail about Khan Academy, his created educational video series. The founding ideas for Khan Academy came from YouTube videos Salman made to help tutor his cousins. He received a lot of positive feedback on his videos from teachers and students alike, and soon realized he had the makings of a major educational breakthrough. Salman ran with the opportunity and founded Khan Academy, which serves as a great technological tool for classrooms around the world. It features over twenty two hundred educational videos, subject mastery content for students, and detailed feedback on student progress for teachers.
The first of two educational things that I would like to talk about from Salman’s Khan Academy is giving students a solid educational foundation. Khan Academy offers subject specific programs for students to work on that focus on mastery of that specific subject. Salman stresses that gaining mastery on each subject is the key to students having a solid educational foundation to move forward with. Salman made a great analogy of this concept to learning how to ride a bicycle. He said if a student can only ride a bicycle at eighty percent proficiency, then he or she isn’t going to be ready for a unicycle. The same concept is true of education, students must be proficient in fundamentals of a subject matter before moving on to more difficult areas of that subject. Having a higher level of mastery can be the difference between future failure in a subject and future success.
The other educational point that can be learned from this video is about humanizing the classroom. Salman points out that many people view humanizing the classroom as having a good teacher to student ratio, but he offers a different view. He thinks humanizing the classroom is more about student to valuable human time with teacher ratios. Khan Academy offers this alternative classroom humanization technique. This technique can be accomplished by assigning Khan Academy video lectures as homework and then doing subject mastery homework in the classroom. Doing this will free up teachers from lecture and allow them to spend valuable face to face time with individual students. Khan Academy also offers spreadsheets to teachers giving detailed progress for each individual student which helps them to delegate their time with the right students on the right topics. Also, parents can access this information to play an active role in their child’s education.
Salman’s Khan Academy is a great educational option for classrooms around the world, but maybe even more importantly it can connect classrooms from around the world. Students who have mastered certain concepts can help other students who are having trouble with those concepts. Ultimately, it serves as a major aid to teachers giving them more individualized or human face to face time with their students. At the end of the day, I learned that excellent tools such as Khan Academy can make one a much more effective teacher. These tools lighten the load on teachers and enable them to give the much needed individual attention to students that can help them better succeed.
Mae Jemison: Teach Arts and Sciences Together By Eric Merryman
Mae Jemison’s video “Teach Arts and Sciences Together” is her saying that, as the title suggests, art and science aren’t two separate subjects. That there is a common misconception between intuitive and analytical. How scientists are ingenious but not creative and how artists are ingenious but not analytical. Mae Jemison says that by separating these two into such dichotomy we force people into a choice of being either analytical but not creative or creative but not analytical. Why can’t we be both?
She also mentions that many scientific advancements came around due to creative thinking, such as fiber optics, compact discs, and flat screen televisions, to name a few. She says by cutting the link between art and science we stunt our growth and hinder further advancement. I agree with her that science and art can be and should be taught together, just as she quoted Einstein on how there is beauty in the mysteries of the universe and how that it is the source of all art and science.
I would say let’s also go further on this. Not only teach the arts and sciences together, but also other subject materials. The basis for her argument was about how subjects are one in the same, specifically art and science, but still there is room to grow. Language and the arts are already taught to be the same as language arts, but what about math and physical education? Many more subjects can be taught to compliment one another, since all subjects are connected with each other. Mae Jemison’s proposal is just the start and I hope educators will go further on it.
Shane Koyczan: To This Day...for the bullied and for the beautiful By Cameron Hall
I have learned a lot from Shane Koyczan’s video, To This Day… for the bullied and the beautiful. Shane Koyczan begins with talking about the popular quote, “Stand Up for Yourself” and how at some point we are all told that. He talks about how that directly relates with definition: we are expected to define ourselves and if we don’t someone will do it for us. Defining ourselves comes from three places: how we see ourselves, what others have for us (peers) and when we are asked what we want to be (parents/teachers). Agreeing with Shane, I think that unfair question confuses and discourages kids. In a way, I even think it can be a form of bullying from the people they are supposed to look up to. Sometimes as teachers and parents, we ask them what they want to be, but shoot down their answers because we do not like them. This affects their own dreams and what they feel like they can do.
“Standing up for yourself doesn’t have to mean embracing violence,” Shane says. I think this is a great thing we should tell our students. Outsmarting can go so much further than violence against another person. He says that we should teach our students and our children that standing up for themselves is being yourself and accepting yourself while making others do so as well.
Shane also talks about how bullying really affects us. The sticks and stones rhyme only goes so far. The way I see and interpret it, is that the words we are called stick with us forever and hurt like stone. They affect us later on in life: in our jobs, in our relationships, and mainly in all of our interactions. I think Shane’s main point in this is to tell us that we can not tell others how to feel especially when it comes to bullying. The sticks and stones rhyme ending with “...but words will never hurt me” is a prime example of this. We can say this a million times, but in reality they can cut us to the core. Instead of telling them how they should feel or how they should take it we should teach them on how to accept themselves and make others accept them. We should show them confidence and how to use that to block those titles others put upon us. “Get over it” is a phrase lacking understanding. We can not tell others how to feel, how to take things or even how they let it affect them because unless we are in their shoes, we can’t even begin to understand.
Shane’s video taught me that as a teacher, I need to understand a better approach when it comes to resolving bullying. Simply telling one how to feel or how they can let it affect them is not enough or the right way, in my opinion. As teachers, we have to promote acceptance. We have to show our students how to accept themselves and how to make others accept them by defining themselves before someone beats them to it. Our own definition of ourselves is what makes us who we are and defines the rest of our lives.