Saturday, January 18, 2014

Is YouTube the Future of our Educational System?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m Lisa Orchard the author of the best-selling Super Spies series. I’m here today to talk about modern technology and our educational system. I’ve recently learned about a man named Salman Kahn. 

He’s a former hedge fund manager turned YouTube Teacher. He records lectures and posts them on the web and his videos are by far the most viewed educational videos on the web. In fact, he’s Bill Gates' favorite teacher.  

He posts lessons on math and science as well as lessons on a range of other subjects. His playlist of approximately one thousand six hundred and thirty tutorials are viewed on an average of seventy thousand times a day. I found this information in an article from Fortune’s Magazine. The author is David A. Kaplan and it’s titled, Bill Gates' Favorite Teacher. He does all of this for free. He wants to offer the first free world class virtual school.

I find this incredibly fascinating and it makes me wonder what will happen to our educational system if this type of thing takes off. Instead of my kids heading to school every day, are they going to stay home and just log on to the computer?

If that were to happen, I wonder if all the teachers who’ll no longer be in the classroom will be in front of a camera posting their lectures on YouTube as well.

I see some great things that online teaching can accomplish. It will level the playing field between the socio-economic classes. What that means is that people who can’t afford to send their kids to college won’t have to worry. They can log onto the computer and see the same lecture as someone who can afford a Harvard education. I think that’s great.

However, I see some negatives as well. The most obvious one is what will happen to all the teachers who’ll lose their jobs. My guess is if we do move to this type of teaching. Many teachers will create their own videos and put a price tag on them, but that’s just my guess.

The other big negative I see is the effect it will have on our kids. School does so much more than teach our children to read and write. It also teaches them social skills. This is important to their development. However, in the future, if all communication is done over the computer, maybe social skills won’t be so important. Who knows?

Some critics of this type of school question the validity of any tutorial that doesn’t test performance. How will we know if our kids are really learning if there’s no test to take?
These are all valid concerns. I’d love to read your thoughts on the subject. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think! Thanks for stopping by!

****I’d like to thank Fortune Magazine for providing some of the information in this article.


Angela Culley said...

Khan Academy is definitely a great resource, but can't replace a good teacher. A good teacher observes a student and provides help based on their needs, mistakes, and understandings. Informative video lessons are great for kids who remember what to search for, but don't remember how to do something. Many students don't know what to look for.

Lisa Orchard said...

Thanks for stopping by Angela! I appreciate your comments. You bring up a valid point. Our students need feedback and that's something that a video can't give. :)

Michelle Nahom said...

Personally I think it's hard to replace the classroom...I think social skills are always going to be important and teachers often teach to a student's needs...something a video simply cannot do. However I certainly think there is a place for them...I mentioned earlier on twitter that my son built a computer using YouTube videos. My kids use YouTube for all sorts of educational pursuits.

Lisa Orchard said...

Thanks for stopping by Michelle! I think you're right about teaching to a child's needs. I think there's room for both types of teaching methods. I was just so impressed by this guy and the fact that he's doing this for free. I think it levels the playing field for a lot of people. On a more personal note, I love it that your son built a computer by watching YouTube! That's certainly impressive.

Katie said...

I am a high school English teacher, and I see lots of flaws with this. First, this assumes that a student will actually go home and watch the videos. I've heard about the 'flipping the classroom' - but call me cynical - I just don't think a lot of kids will go home and do this! Maybe the high achieving ones, but the average kid? My take is no. And as far as the replacing the classroom - videos can't replace real human interaction. There is so much 'hidden curriculum' learning that takes place...those teachable moments...what they learn from each other or what they come up with bouncing off of another student's thoughts? Can't do that with a video. A teacher brings his/herself to that class. A lot of times, a student will try or perform BECAUSE of the relationship with the teacher. Maybe they can get the information, but the students will miss out on so much more.

Thanks for this post. Found you through SITS!

Lisa Orchard said...

Thanks for stopping by Katie! I appreciate your feedback and I agree with you! I love the idea of kids learning to work together. Plus you make a good point regarding motivation. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! :)

Carissa's Musings said...

I have kids that were pulled from public school and home schooled, one went back to public school eventually, the other didn't. When the public school system went to teaching to the standardized tests- they went down the drain. We have the most ill-equipped kids this country has ever had.
My oldest two grands are home schooled and my daughter has used some of these videos in her lessons and the girls really got what he was teaching and they were able to back it up and go over it again. This is similar to online classes I took in college- it depends on how disciplined one is, some people can't do this type of class because they lack the self discipline needed to actually sit down and do the work. It also depends on how the person learns- Joe is good with lectures, if he hears it- he has it, I couldn't do that. I needed notes and reading. Learning isn't a one size fits all.

Lisa Orchard said...

Thanks for stopping by Carissa! You voice some valid points. Maybe this will be a way for some students who have trouble learning in the classroom. I think you're right, learning is as unique as each student. Maybe it's time we realized that. :)