By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki
An intern at Khan Academy recently asked for suggestions on a Reddit education site. There was some interesting discussion in response around the efficacy of Khan Academy videos and how these video resources relate to Common Core standards.
One commenter notes that it is harder to grade and check answers with this approach. Another points out that math and science topics are more objective, so potentially more amenable to the use of short video lessons than say, history. “Dr. Momentum” responds that even math and science still involve opinions.
Students need to be able to understand a logical argument, construct a logical argument and refute an incorrect argument. Students need to develop their own reasoning ability. And coherence and depth in teaching a subject, not just subject knowledge, are required from their teachers.
One commenter points out that the Common Core standards for math include Mathematical Practices as well as Mathematical Content. Indeed, Khan Academy is good for the procedural side of things, and in conveying content. Practice transmission, on the other hand, just doesn’t happen on its own, and it’s not enough to explain procedures. It’s about developing expertise in students – “reasoning ability, conceptual understanding and procedural fluency,” among other attributes.
Here are the 8 practices for Math, which you can find at http://www.corestandards.org/Math/Practice -
MP1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
MP2: Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
MP3: Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
MP4: Model with mathematics.
MP5: Use appropriate tools strategically.
MP6: Attend to precision.
MP7: Look for and make use of structure.
MP8: Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.
Attention to how a student is thinking and attempting to reason is not something a video can do. Don’t get us wrong, we love the Khan videos, and there are many of them accessible from Curriki.
It’s about the connectedness. One can pick up a procedure or three, but until one has the ability to generalize then the subject matter is not really being understood sufficiently. While some students have an innate ability to do this, most will benefit from coaching and development and assistance in seeing the larger context.
The Curriki Algebra 1 course found here is designed to align with Common Core State Standards.