I just watch Khan Academy founder Salman Khan’s excellent talk from TED 2011. I’m inspired by this kind of thinking and equally entertained by his delivery. He describes a new approach to classroom interaction that arose when he began posting YouTube vidoes of his tutoring sessions to help out his cousins. Specifically, the notion that he’d ask the students to watch the lectures at home and then do what would normally be considered homework while in the classroom:
I want to pause here for a second, because there’s a couple of interesting things. One, when those teachers are doing that, there’s the obvious benefit — the benefit that now their students can enjoy the videos in the way that my cousins did. They can pause, repeat at their own pace, at their own time. But the more interesting thing is — and this is the unintuitive thing when you talk about technology in the classroom — by removing the one-size-fits-all lecture from the classroom and letting students have a self-paced lecture at home, and then when you go to the classroom, letting them do work, having the teacher walk around, having the peers actually be able to interact with each other, these teachers have used technology to humanize the classroom. They took a fundamentally dehumanizing experience — 30 kids with their fingers on their lips, not allowed to interact with each other. A teacher, no matter how good, has to give this one-size-fits-all lecture to 30 students — blank faces, slightly antagonistic — and now it’s a human experience. Now they’re actually interacting with each other.
Brilliant. I highly recommend watching the whole video.