Professor & Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology at Royal Roads University

Salman Khan on Reddit

Posted on December 30th, by George Veletsianos in my research, NPS, online learning, open, scholarship. 2 comments

Reddit is one of the communities that I follow for professional and personal purposes. For professional purposes specifically, it serves as a site for my online ethnography on networked participatory scholarship and digital scholarship. As part of that work, I am trying to make sense of the meaning of open digital participation for learning, teaching, scholarship, and education. One of the most informative and enjoyable aspects of Reddit is the IAmA subreddit in which individuals with interesting stories answer user questions. For example, one individual shared intimate details of his/her work and experiences with for-profit education, and another discusses teaching high school science and the misconceptions surrounding the teaching profession. The other day, Salman Khan (of Khan Academy) answered questions on the site, and I thought some of you might be interested in reading the Q&A, not just for Khan’s answers but also for the types of questions that were being asked. Though my vision of education differs from Khan’s vision of education, I appreciate that numerous students and teachers have found value in his efforts and I welcome any initiative that opens up conversations about what the future of education should look like. In any event, here is the Q&A with Salman Khan.

* Reddit logo courtesy of Wikipedia:

2 thoughts on “Salman Khan on Reddit

  1. I wish I could upvote blog entries ;)

    You’re right, I think it’s a misguided notion that something like Kahn Academy could be an alternative, end-all-be-all education solution. I see it more as just one tool for educators or independent learners to get overviews of topics and, especially in the case of K-12 Math, practice in a safe, feedback rich environment.

    However, I do agree with Sal’s vision of the flipped classroom wherein knowledge transfer happens on the students’ own time leaving more time for application at school. Your thoughts?

    As far as free, purely online learning environments go, do you think MIT.x will get it right where Kahn Academy has fallen short?

  2. Thanks for the comments, Matthew. There’s a lot to respond here, but just a few comments for now:

    1) As you correctly put it, the flipped classroom model focuses on “knowledge transfer.” There’s more to this in the Khan model of course, but I believe that technology can help us do much more than tell students what they need to know. Taking this a step further, the flipped classroom is just one approach to instruction… and increasingly, it seems, with this hammer, more and educational perils are viewed as nails, rather than as an assortment of nails, screws, bolts, and pins.

    2) It’s not clear yet what MITx will look like. I anticipate it being quite similar to the Stanford initiative and Khan.

    One important issue is that these initiatives seem to come out of a vacuum, with innovators apparently unaware that similar attempts have been tried in the past. For instance, the flipped classroom was conceptualized much before Sal’s popularization of it (see and Wiley, Downes, Cormier, Siemens, and a number of other less well-known open educators have been opening up their classrooms for the past 5 years or so. I mention this, because it’s important to built from the successes (and failures) of the past.

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