Khan Academy, for its part, teamed up last year with the Los Altos, Calif., school district to launch a pilot of the model. In it, students in grades 5-8 use Khan-produced online lectures as part of their math curriculum. The pilot has expanded from 150 students in five classrooms last year to 1,000 students in 40 classrooms this year.This is the aspect of "technology" that strikes me as extremely useful: the possibility of immediate, and reasonably accurate, formative assessment of student learning.
“It’s not just about the kids watching the same lecture the night before. For us, the big piece is having teachers use data to make instructional decisions about their students,” said Alyssa Gallagher, the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for the 4,500-student district.
Courtney Cadwell, who teaches 7th grade math at Eagan Junior High School and serves as a math coach to teachers in Los Altos, agreed that the rapid feedback on her students has been the best part of the model. The Khan program allows teachers to track what videos and individual exercises students spend the most time watching and working through, and how long it takes students to correctly solve 10 problems in a row for any given math concept.
Last year, as one of the first teachers in the Los Altos pilot, Ms. Cadwell started all of the students in her remediation class on Addition 1, the most basic Khan unit, and asked them to work through all the units at their own pace while she watched using the program’s data-tracking system.
Students worked through those initial units quickly, but she could see when they hit their “pain points”—sometimes on material covered several grades earlier.
“In order for me to get that kind of understanding of a student, I would have had to sit down one-on-one and work through problems and see a pattern, which I’m happy to do, but it takes a lot of time,” Ms. Caldwell said. “This confirmed my suspicions and allowed me to remediate much more quickly.”
“I was able to identify those learning gaps in real time, whether it was from 3rd or 4th or 5th grade, and I was able to remediate and saw those learning gaps begin to disappear,” Ms. Cadwell said.
Before the start of the pilot, only 23 percent of the 7th grade remediation students were proficient on the state mathematics test, but after the first year, the proficiency rate climbed to more than 40 percent, according to district data.
“The math class that they dreaded became something they really loved,” Ms. Caldwell said.
Lectures Are Homework in Schools Following Khan Academy Lead By Sarah D. Sparks | Published Online: September 27, 2011
Speaking as a parent and a teacher of college freshmen, I have zero interest in a 'flipped' classroom. I don't think it's going to work, and while I normally avoid making predictions (even in private), in this case I have no qualms:
I PREDICT: The flipped classroom - hot! hot! hot! - is going to be yet another edu-flop taking its place in a 100-year parade of edu-flops. 100 years and counting.The assessment question is different, I think. As a teacher (and a parent) I have a near-desperate need for more information on what students know and don't know -- and acquiring that information is easier said than done. I can easily imagine the Khan site (or any similar site) being an enormous help -- so much so, that I'm planning an 'online component' for my course next fall. (Though, again, we'll see whether my students can - or will - manage it. That is a subject for another post.)
COROLLARY: the flipped classroom is looking to be a big, bold, and brassy flop if everyone piles on before we have any indication whatsoever that a flipped classroom actually works. I.e.: before we have any indication that a) kids will actually watch the videos, and b) if they do watch, whether they actually learn anything.
Meanwhile C. is taking a physics course in which the teacher seems to have actually made "technology" work, also a subject for a separate post.