Thursday, July 24, 2014

My notes on Khan Academy's SAT prep at You Do the Math

This is a work in progress so we should cut the Khan Academy some slack. Even with that in mind, though, I'm seriously underwhelmed by the SAT prep materials up so far. I know their heart is in the right place, but from the skimpy selection to the low wattage instruction, there's just not that much here.

I address the subject in more detail at the teaching site, You Do the Math, but I don't hit the bigger concern that I keep running into with these online learning ventures. As far as I can tell, no one has thought through this problem in terms of this medium. What we're seeing now is usually the pedagogical equivalent of a filmed play. If you simply set up a camera to cover the stage, you invariably end up with something unwatchable no matter how strong the original presentation was. The same basic principle applies to instruction.

You don't just film a play; you adapt it, making something new and distinct from the original. Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder and Rope come to mind. So far, I don't think that most of the people doing online instruction have thought deeply about the problem of adaptation. I'm afraid many haven't even realized that it's a problem at all.

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