Institutions of innovative ideas interacted this week, as Salman Khan, founder of the free online Khan Academy, met up with TED Talks to share his riveting insights into the future of the world’s education systems.
Following highlights from the Academy’s enormous supply of teaching videos used by millions, Khan spoke of his vision to harness the real power of technology to educate the world:
- Video lectures offer many advantages over their real-life counterparts, like being able to pause, repeat and learn at one’s own pace.
- Intuitive, interactive exercises that advance according to the student’s comprehension helps break the mold of traditional one-size-fits-all classrooms.
- Real-time progress tracking gives students game-style achievement trophies, enticing them to excel.
- Teachers get a unique profile for each student, making the learning process as productive as possible.
Perhaps most intriguing is Khan’s notion of ‘flipping the script’, where the students are assigned their lectures for outside the class, and they do the assigned homework in class when the instructor is there to help. What a great idea!
The Khan Academy, by providing free, world-class educations to anyone with access to the Internet, truly highlights the power of technology to educate our planet.
With electronic devices growing increasingly cheap and powerful, a fully-connected global population could be feasible within a decade or two. Free, universally accessible, world-class educations would do a lot to level humankind’s playing field.
More importantly, access to the net’s infinitely expanding knowledge base can help the world’s needy find ways to help themselves. The earth’s poorest, when given access to information, can learn new irrigation techniques, find out how to use the sun to make drinking water, or even locate instructions to generate one’s own electricity.
Technology is opening new doors for us all the time and empowering us as a species. Pretty soon, we’ll have a world where no one is starving, and no child dies from easily preventable diseases. This will be fantastic, since each step towards ending extreme poverty brings us that much closer to realizing world peace.