education | February 21, 2013

Beyond The Classroom: Education Speaker Salman Khan In Fast Company

While there's something to be said for tradition, education speaker Salman Khan tells Fast Company that the reasons why our education system still follows a classroom-based lecture format simply don't hold up anymore. The founder of The Khan Academy was recently featured in the magazine in a conversation with Katie Salen, founder of the Institute of Play. Salen uses games and other technology to teach her students, just as Khan relies heavily on video content and the Internet to instruct his thousands of virtual pupils. What we can gain from the way these two innovative teachers educate their kids is that we now have the technology and the tools to teach our kids in a different—and arguably more effective—way. Using outdated, centuries-old models for learning just doesn't work today and we have no excuse for not trying something different.

With the advent of computers and the Internet, Khan says that we no longer have to follow a strict classroom based structure. Not only that, but we don't have to rush children to complete a certain segment of the curriculum even if they aren't fully comprehending the material. It doesn't have to be an expensive transition, either. Not every school has the budget to afford to purchase a brand new iPad for each student, for example. However, it's not out of the question to acquire $200 refurbished computers that several children can share. These tools can help take some of the burden off of teachers so that they can give more one-on-one time to students.

In his book, The One World School House, and his talks, Khan tells us why we need to bring our classrooms into the 21st century—and then explains how. He shares his own personal journey of turning a one man tutoring operation into the thousands of videos that populate his highly viewed website. He encourages us to rethink education and to imagine the possibilities that exist for learning when we use all of the tools at our disposal.