Khan Innovates the Classroom

| February 21, 2013

How do you take a largely popular online learning resource and translate it to an in-person experience? That is the exact question that Sal Khan, founder of the eponymous online academy, is seeking to answer with his “Discovery Lab” summer camp.

Something that Khan and his camp counselors/teachers wanted to avoid was to have kids sit in front of computers all day watching educational videos. While they acknowledge that their ultimate goal for their students is mastery, and computers provide great personalized instruction, hands-on learning accounts for a much-needed portion of the equation. The camp teaches STEM-friendly topics such as robotics, computer science, geometry, probability, and economics, with even more subjects to be added.

Throughout the video, campers mention that they appreciate being able to experience interactive lessons that go beyond textbooks and worksheets. This interactive learning strategy appears to create excitement and engagement among students.

Says Khan himself, “You can’t learn these things with lectures. You have to learn by doing it, by struggling with it because that’s what the real world is.”

The insights gathered by the staff may prove valuable to teachers wanting to implement such lessons in their classrooms, but what impact, if any, might this experiment have on online learning? Add your own insights to the ongoing discussion on Vialogues:

@2:25 DLales: This summer camp isn’t going to be a walk in the park! It encourages hard work.

@3:07 jagnitti: He’s heard about it and read about it in school, but never “did it.” What’s striking to me is that fact that were it not for his experience in the camp, he may never have really understood it.

This article first appeared on New Learning Times on 2/21/2013