Is YouTube this Generation’s Teacher?


Llewellyn and I are quite interested in best practices around education in general (as we continue to develop our TKP courseware and teaching methods).  Lately we’ve been struck by several presentations about the use of YouTube for education.

The first of which is the recent TED presentation by Salman Khan of the Khan Academy.  In particular, his discussion of the trial of ‘video as homework’ and ‘teacher as tutor’ in Northern California schools is interesting.

Next up we’ve been enchanted by the ‘Math Doodles’ of Mathemusician Vi Hart.  As with Salman Khan, Vi has a hugely popular channel on You Tube.  She doesn’t really address the role of the teacher, other than to start her videos with ‘Let’s say you are bored in math class and not listening to the teacher, then you start to draw…’ Here’s a sample of her doodle videos.

Another TED talk that got us thinking was by Sugata Mitra, the ‘Hole in the Wall’ guy.  His first experiment, simply putting a computer connected to the Internet, or one loaded with encyclopedia-type information into a wall where kids live / play is thought-provoking.  Most amazing is that, when needed, the kids actually taught themselves the language (in this case English), so that they could use the computer more effectively.

Recently he updated his audience on the evolution of his ‘teacherless’ experiments as a new TED talk.  He calls this method ‘child-driven-education’.  He suggests that ‘concerned grandmothers’ can replace the role of the teacher.

Yet another TED talk, this one by math teacher Dan Meyer, combines use of video with a new kind of teaching.  Dan says teachers should ‘use media’ and ‘be less helpful’.

What do you think?  What is / should be the role of the teacher?  What part should You Tube play in the education of our children? 

Comments (2)

  1. Elisabeth says:

    The first thing that popped in my head is "learn at your own pace" which is far more easily accommodated when the comptuer is a tool that can be incorporated in the process.   I think that's the problem with traditional teaching. Those that can have to sit in neutral, while the teacher deals with those who don't understand. Time for a change.

  2. Cloudrocket says:

    YouTube is where kids with internet are today.  If we continue to hold them back with our institutional stupidities, Salman's kid communities will kick our lazy asses, and blow right by their own dysfunctional educational systems the same way they ditch voice calls for text messaging.  

    Once these peer communities organize themselves they will chuck the institutions and move on without even noticing.  Something new will take their place as the arbiter of educated, and while we may not like it one bit, it will be infinitely more effective than what we do now.  

    I can't wait.  

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