education | April 22, 2013

Global Philanthropy Forum: Sal Khan's "Game Changing" Education Speech

If education is a crucial factor in ensuring the youth of today are empowered to create meaningful change in the future, how do we make their schooling relevant to them? That's what popular education speaker and Khan Academy founder Salman Khan discussed at the 2013 Global Philanthropy Forum Conference. Referred to as "a game changer in the field of education," by The Huffington Post, Khan told the audience why we need to move away from traditional and out-dated teaching models. New technologies have afforded us with great opportunities to more effectively teach our kids—and we need to make full use of them.

Khan was introduced at the forum by moderator Jane Wales (President and CEO, World Affairs Council of Northern California) as "an extraordinary social entrepreneur who has absolutely revolutionized education." With his Khan Academy, he has created a model of online, video-based learning that enables students to learn at their own pace. The organization has grown exponentially since its inception and is now being utilized by millions of online students. In a knowledge-based economy, the move away from a passive structure of education—where a teacher simply lectures at their students—towards a more active and independent learning system is critical to improving students' comprehension of what is taught in school. And, that ultimately gives students a leg up when they enter into the job market.

Khan also says that we are soon going to see a "de-coupling of the credentialing from the learning experience." Instead of being focused on where and how you learned a skill, value will inherently rest on your ability to perform a skill. While the traditional big name schools may not disappear, he does believe that all people who achieve certain credentials—even if they do so in a less traditional manner or at a less prestigious school—will be treated as equally valuable. "I think the market forces are going to demand it, it's even beyond idealism," he says in the presentation, "it's just going to happen because the market needs it to happen."