June 20th, 2012 by Dan Meyer
This strikes me as a really, really effective way to assess the pedagogical content knowledge of new teachers: critique the pedagogy of the Khan Academy video of your choice. You could write an essay and add timecodes for reference or you and a friend could sit in front of the screen MST3K-style and snark your way through Khan's lecture like John Golden and David Coffey.
I'm really curious how the Church of Our Lady of Technology in Silicon Valley will react to this kind of critique. That church tends to write off most educators' criticism of Khan Academy as some admixture of jealousy and entrenchment. They aren't always wrong about that. But the criticism that "this is actually fairly poor lecturing that'll leave students with shaky procedural understanding and even shakier conceptual understanding" is much harder to refute. It's also a difficult criticism to illustrate for people who aren't teachers. This is the best illustration of that critique I've seen.
BTW. The low-rent production values don't do justice to the quality of their concept and critique, though. Thirty dollars on sound equipment would go a long way towards making this a series math supervisors around the US would make required viewing for their inservice teachers.
2012 Jun 20. Kent Haines has eagle eyes and points out that Khan Academy pulled their video within a couple hours of this post. Christopher Danielson asks the right question, I think. Are they pulling the video to correct the mathematical errors, the pedagogical errors, or both. It's one thing to mistakenly refer to the transitive property when you mean the commutative property. It's another to teach students that multiplying integers requires the memorization of a bunch of rules that look like magic but just memorize them because okay?
2011 Jun 21. I had high hopes for that comments thread but it wobbled off course pretty fast.
2011 Jun 22. A reader e-mailed asking what kind of audio setup I'd recommend. Here's what I wrote back:
There are lots of configurations that'll serve our needs here and probably several that are cheaper or less cumbersome than the one I use to record audio of myself in presentations and lectures. Lately, though, I record video using whatever I have on hand. Then for audio I use:
Then I sync the audio and video in post. Here's a video explaining the setup.
2012 Jun 22. Khan Academy has re-uploaded the video and the difference is stark. The new version is oriented towards conceptual understanding whereas the last offered you the bare minimum necessary to pass a multiple-choice test or keep your teacher and parents off your back.