education | July 24, 2012

Flipping the Classroom: Time Profiles Education Speaker Salman Khan

A recent Time magazine article on education speaker Salman Khan reveals his plan to “flip” the traditional classroom model, and to empower teachers to give personalized attention to individual students. Khan, who founded the popular Khan Academy, is relying on the support of the Internet, as well as the cooperation of educators everywhere. “In the ideal classroom,” Khan tells Time, “the teacher is either spending all of their time doing deep interventions with students on a one-on-one basis or facilitating true interactivity—labs, simulations, projects.” Khan's nonprofit provides free high-quality education to anyone, anywhere— and it's making serious waves in classrooms across the world.

More on education speaker Salman Khan, and his hopes for The Khan Academy, from Time:

Khan is [transforming] the academy from his own personal YouTube channel into an educational nonprofit with Silicon Valley start-up DNA. The goal: to create a complete educational approach—with video lectures, online exercises, badges to reward student progress, an analytics dashboard for teachers to track that progress and more—that can be integrated into existing classrooms or serve as a stand-alone virtual school for anyone wanting to learn something new. But Khan believes he's onto something much bigger—a buzzy concept educators call the "flipped classroom." The traditional classroom model essentially forces educators to teach to the middle. High-achieving students aren't challenged, and low-achieving students are made to move on to the next concept before they've mastered the previous one.

In the flipped classroom, proponents are fond of saying, the teacher shifts from being the sage on the stage to being the guide on the side. With lecture material covered at home as kids watch those online videos, elements traditionally associated with homework—math-problem sets, history essays, science projects and so on—can become the focus in the classroom. All that lecture time is converted to personalized attention. Everyone's work is tracked and measured in real time, so teachers know where to direct their attention. There's no more teaching to the middle: from bottom to top, all students work at their own pace. In Khan's view...Students would watch videos that introduce the concepts as homework and then go to class to demonstrate their learning. And there would be no need for a teacher to stand in front of the class and give a lecture ever again. Khan's vision faces its biggest test yet in a pilot project at Eastside Prep, a charter school where all the students are economically disadvantaged and, if they make it, will be the first in their families to go to college.

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