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What We're Reading: Salman Khan's One World Schoolhouse (review) | EdSurge News


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For sal he suggested a number of things to change education from the Prussian system, which he suggests is corporate-controlled and based on their interests rather than true learning, and focus on the once-in-a-millenia opportunity to change education:

1. mastery-based learning in lieu of age group and time based learning; basically, a student works at hers or his own pace, and only advances when they completely master the material 100%.

2. Dismissing summer vacations; put kids in school 300 days/year. As others have researched, wealthy kids go to museums, summer camps, and often learn on their vacations. Poor kids do not.

3. Project-based learning using games, activities, and real-world projects to group similar concepts and make them "concrete." Make time for creativity.

4. Apprentice-based higher education; spend at least 1/3 to 1/2 of college in internships and apprenticeships. Basically 6 months of the year.

5. Mobile and DVD-based learning using low-cost tablets and cell phones for the far corners of the earth. Cost: $44/student/year

6. Remove "track"-based learning. Don't "track" students on gifted, average, and remedial -- focus on mastery. He argues that once kids are tracked, they just fall further and further behind, even when they have potential.

7. Kids learn best in 10-18 minute bursts, according to an undisputed 1996 study by a national institute of education. Change the length and time students are sitting in class.

Nothing radical, but meaningful changes to group parallel topics, get rid of summer vacation and track-based learning, apprentice students, and never give up on poor or "remedial students."

Basically, almost none of the things our policy makers currently have on the table. :)

Wow. That's a big shift from current policy.

Too many vested interests will fight this, right?

Yes, unfortunately. I think the most plausible implementation will be in charters, specific forward-thinking public school districts like Los Gatos. Also I think foreign governments will seize upon his learning; places in Saudi Arabia, China, Singapore, HK (technically PRC), Brazil, India, Turkey. Where federal governments have more flexibility and power to make change without going through state and local lawmakers.

All except #2 and #7 can be implemented in incremental and gradual changes. Changing class sizes and cutting summer vacations seems like a gargantuan task; why, I'm not sure anyone could actually reasonably say.

Basically, the elephant in the room is money.

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